Schon Lecture

Donald Schon, AERA 1987, “Educating the Reflective Practitoner”

And so the separation of research and practice. And the consequence of this is, I believe, that if you find yourself in university, you find yourself in an institution built around an epistemology–technical rationality–which construes professional knowledge to consist in the application of science to the adjustment of means to ends, which leaves no room for artistry and no room for the kind of competence that the second boy displayed in my example of giving the kids reason, or that a reflective teacher displays when she responds to the puzzling things that kids say and do in the classroom. No room for these indeterminate zones of practice–uncertainty, situations of confusion and messiness where you don’t know what the problem is. No room for problem-setting which cannot be a technical problem because it’s required in order to solve a technical problem. No room for the unique case which doesn’t fit the books. No room for the conflicted case where the ends and values in what you’re doing are conflicted with one another. And so you can’t see the problem as one of adjusting means to ends because the ends conflict.


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