Reflection, Contemplation and Teacher Problem Solving in the World(s) of the Classroom

  • John QuayEmail author
  • Christopher T. McCaw


Thinking is at the heart of teaching and learning. In this chapter, we explore how two connected modes of thinking—contemplative and reflective—may inform the practice of teachers, and highlight the importance of this for beginning teachers especially. More than a century ago, philosopher John Dewey published the first edition of How We Think. A key feature of Dewey’s work is that reflection is only one mode of thinking, the more obvious and visible mode, as made clear in Donald Schön’s characterisations of The Reflective Practitioner. There is another mode of thinking, one to which Dewey gives different names—affective, qualitative—a mode central to John P. Miller’s views in The Contemplative Practitioner. Contemplative thinking embraces what Dewey called aesthetic experience, experience that is immediate rather than mediating. Reflection, as reflective experience, is noteworthy for its mediating capacity; contemplation is significant because it is immediate, occurring in the present. Yet reflection and contemplation are not set apart; rather they can be understood as two sides of the same coin, contributing to practice more generally, as forms of practice. In this chapter, we elucidate how the beginning teacher, as practitioner, engages in both contemplative and reflective thinking and practice in order to achieve what Van Manen describes as pedagogical tact.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneCarltonAustralia

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