The Importance of Rethinking Reflection and Ethics for Education

  • R. Scott WebsterEmail author
  • John D. Whelen


In this introductory chapter, the authors express their unease about teaching in general and explain why the idea of reflection, in the context of education, needs to be rethought. It is identified that education is primarily a moral and political endeavour which aspires to enhance the quality of life both for individuals and for society in general. Consequently, it is emphasised that there is the necessity for increasing teachers’ awareness of ethical issues both in their work and in their lives as teachers. This chapter identifies that one of the main obstacles to the raising of such an awareness is that government departments of education actively work against allowing teachers to access ideas that may challenge their policies, claiming that teachers are too sensitive to be able to handle controversial ideas. Despite these obstacles, the authors argue that contributing towards raising such awareness better enables teachers to pursue their hopes, expectations, desires, commitment and indeed their sense of self.


  1. Apple, M. W. (2000). Official knowledge. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (3rd ed.). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Apple, M. W. (2013). Can Education Change Society? New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Biesta, G. J. J. (2006). Beyond learning. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  5. Biesta, G. (2009) Education after deconstruction: Between event and invention. In M. A. Peters & G. Biesta (Eds.), Derrida, deconstruction and the politics of pedagogy (pp. 97–113). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  6. Biesta, G. J. J. (2013). The beautiful risk of education. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  7. Biesta, G. J. J. (2017). The rediscovery of teaching. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blake, N., Smeyers, P., Smith, R., & Standish, P. (2000). Education in an age of nihilism. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  9. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  10. Britzman, D. P. (2003). Practice makes practice. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dewey, J. (1981) Experience and Nature. In J. A. Boydston (Ed.), John Dewey the later works (Vol. 1, 1925). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dewey, J. (1985) Democracy and Education. In J. A. Boydston (Ed.), John Dewey the middle works (Vol. 9, 1916). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dewey, J. (1989). How we think. In J. A. Boydston (Ed.), John Dewey the later works (Vol. 8, 1933). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dunt, L. (1993) Speaking worlds. The Australian educators and John Dewey 1890–1940. Melbourne: The University of Melbourne.Google Scholar
  15. Elliot, J., & Norris, N. (2012). Curriculum, pedagogy and educational research: The work of Lawrence Stenhouse. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Erlandson, P. (2005). The body disciplined: Rewriting teaching competence and the doctrine of reflection. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 39(4), 661–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Furlong, J. (2013). Education—An anatomy of the discipline. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gulsen, K. (2012). No Apple for teachers shows the value of sharing new ideas. The Conversation.
  19. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Hattie, J., & Yates, G. (2014). Visible leaning and the science of how we learn. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Hattie, J., & Zierer, K. (2018). 10 mindframes for visible learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Hirst, J. (1965). Liberal education and the nature of knowledge, repr. in his 1974 publication (pp. 30–53).Google Scholar
  23. Hirst, P. (1974). Knowledge and the curriculum. London: Henley, Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  24. Hullfish, H. G., & Smith, P. G. (1961). Reflective thinking: The method of education. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  26. Korthagen, F., Kessels, J., Koster, B., Lagerwerf, B., & Wubbels, T. (2001). Linking practice and theory. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Lagemann, E. C. (2000). An elusive science. Chicago: The University of Chicago press.Google Scholar
  28. Mackenzie, J. (1998). Forms of knowledge and forms of discussion. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 30(1), 27–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Postman, N. (1995). The end of education. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  30. Preiss, B. (2012). ‘Too controversial’ schools lecture invitation dropped. The Age online, 27 October 2012.
  31. Rose, N. (1996). Inventing our selves: Psychology, power and personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  34. Stenhouse, L. (1967). Culture and education. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
  35. Taubman, P. M. (2009). Teaching by numbers. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Thorndike, E. L. (1910). The contribution of psychology to education. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1, 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Webster, R. S. (2017). Education or quality of teaching? Implications for Australian democracy. The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(9).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Webster, R. S., & Ryan, A. (2019). Understanding curriculum: The Australian context (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Whelen, J. (2011). Boys and their schooling. the experience of becoming someone else. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

Personalised recommendations