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Reflective learning in practice – review

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Title: Reflective Learning in Practice
Editors: Annie Brockbank, Ian McGill and Nic Beech
Publisher: Gower
Price: £49.50
ISBN: 0 566 08377 9

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The editors of this book have gathered a large number of authors together from a wide range of backgrounds. In addition to the authors with the expected business or management background, the statutory and voluntary sectors are also well represented. This is a reflection of one of the book’s strengths; wherever you work there is a suggestion for how the book's contents could be applied in your environment.

The book itself is divided into three separate but linked parts. The three editors write the first section. It explores the theory of reflective learning showing how single loop learning can be developed into double loop or transformative learning. It is suggested that there is a need to move beyond self-reflection, and develop environments that stimulate group and organisational reflective learning. They remind the reader that the process of reflective learning is challenging, and often difficult and painful both for individuals and organisations. They also suggest that the benefits to be gained far outweigh the difficulties.

The second and third consist of seventeen case studies where reflective learning is or has taken place. The authors bring their own perspective on reflective learning, with both those responsible for introducing it and those being introduced to it contributing their ideas.

The varied work backgrounds, positions and approaches to reflective learning ensure that everybody reading it will find something that applies to their situation. Whilst this is clearly a strength it is also a weakness. A wide variety of writing styles and approaches means there is inconsistency in the ease of reading and indeed of understanding between different chapters. This may mean that while every one finds some parts accessible, others will be less so.

Overall this is an interesting and I believe important book. It is however one which you are unlikely to read from cover to cover, perhaps treating it as a pick-and-mix. However if you are interested in developing double loop, transformational learning in your place of work then ensure you give this book some of you time.

Patric Devitt
Psynergy Consulting
[email protected]

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