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Teaching practitioners in the post-compulsory education and training sector

play a critical role in meeting the professional development needs of the


workforce in all other fields. From the design and delivery of entry level
qualifications, intermediate and advanced awards, and tailored post-
qualification programmes, teaching practitioners are central to the academic
and skills development agenda.

The majority of teaching practitioners in post-compulsory education and


training operate within the context of dual professionalism. Having excelled in
their vocational or academic specialism in business, industry and commerce,
they chose to pass on their skills and expertise to learners in their field. To do
this effectively they have undertaken teacher training and have been awarded
qualifications in recognition of their skills and abilities as a teacher.

Effective reflection takes place in action, whilst engaged in an


activity, and on action, after the activity is complete and the
learning embedded in professional practice. It is often argued that
effective reflective practice requires the support of a mentor, asking
those otherwise-overlooked questions that ensure that the reflection
is productive, rather than lost in the desire to self-justify or self-
indulge.

Schon (1983; 1987) clearly writes about reflection that is intimately bound up
with action. Rather than attempting to apply scientific theories and concepts to
practical situations, he holds that professionals should learn to frame and
reframe the often complex and ambiguous problems they are facing, test out
various interpretations, then modify their actions as a result. He talks about
`reflection-on-action' and `reflection-in-action', the latter implying conscious
thinking and modification while on the job. But both his forms of reflection
involve demanding rational and moral processes in making reasoned
judgements about preferable ways to act.