When we accumulate experience, we encounter certain situations again and again, and we develop a repertoire of expectations and images and techniques. We learn what to look for and learn how to respond. We become less subject to surprise, because the situations become familiar and similar to previous cases. And so our practice becomes increasingly tacit, spontaneous and automatic.
But as we accumulate experience and as cases become more repetitive and routine, we may miss opportunities to think about what we are doing, because we operate on autopilot.
Reflection helps us improve our knowledge and practice, because we can…
“…surface and criticize the tacit understandings that have grown up around the repetitive experiences…
…and can make a new sense of the situations of uncertainty or uniquencess which we experience.”
Source: Donald Schon, The Reflective Practitioner.
So what should we reflect on? Perhaps:
- the norms which underlie a judgment
- strategies and theories implicit in a pattern of behaviour
- the feeling for a situation which has led us to adopt a particular course of action
- on the way we framed the problem to solve
- on the role we constructed for ourselves to play
- …and what else?