Instituting reflective practice

Robyn Dean sharing opening for panel on reflective practices

with Robyn Dean, Danny Maffia, Kathleen Holcombe

  • Focus on development of decision-making for educational and professional development of community interpreters
  • Using the word “practice” – intentionally meaning to show that we systematically practice over and over again to get better at something
    • Repeated performance develops proficiency and a skill set
    • Need to have reflective component to practice to ensure the improvement

Theoretical Frame

  • Our social context inform what is important for a profession happens within the constraints of the relationship they are engaging with the people they are providing service to
    • Different than technical professions
  • Ethical codes are intended to be guidelines (spirit not the letter)
  • What is ethical is negotiated by those who are engaged in the interaction
  • Judgement is developed in through the process and reflection
    • The ability to make good decisions in the moment takes time

Ethical Codes

….ethical codes cannot do our questioning, thinking, feeling, and responding for us.  Such codes can never be a substitute for the active process by which the individual struggles with the sometimes bewildering, always unique constellation of questions, responsibilities, contexts, and competing demands of helping another person…”  Pope & Vasquez, 1998

The Problem with Ethical Dilemmas

  • Problem with ethical dilemmas
    • It is pre-determining that it is “ethical troubling” (Hill, 2004) content
    • Appear to focused on presenting what past practitioners have done wrong (Hill,2004)
      • Imposes our understanding of what is ethically troubling instead of allowing them to develop their own understanding
      • Ethical dilemma themes:
        • Participants access to information and content
        • Participants equality & self-determinancy for all involved
        • Interpreters as ‘holders of information’ (e.g. interpreter directed questions)
        • Concerns for confidentiality
        • Questions of qualifications
    • Donald Schon’s “Problem-setting” is more the issue that makes “problem-solving” difficult –

Case Study Scenario

  • Decisions get made along the way in the case study;
  • Case studies often make presumptions about the decision-points by where they leave off.

Reflective Learning Practices

  • Looking at the actual decisions in one’s own work

Uses structured, guided practice

  • Supervision
  • Peer guidance
  • Professional consultation
  • Mentoring
  • Preceptoring
  • Case Conferencing

Talking about your work with others (case presenting) for the purposes of improvement (ethical mandate)


Superior vision – slowing down your decision-making with other people allows you to have a superior vision than you would have on your own

Structure – using the Demand-Control Schema

  • Problem identification
  • Defining goals
  • Generating possible course of actions
  • Considering possible consequences
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation (Resulting Demands)

Benefits –

  • Does not pre-determine what is ethically troubling for the individual
  • Highlights the importance of moment to moment decisions
  • Provides opportunity to determine ethically troubling content
  • It is like ‘action research” behavioral changes or interventions, immediately applicable
  • Encourages in-the moment metacognitive abilities
  • Helps determine “espoused theory” and “theory-in-use” (Argyris & Schon, 1974)  Sees if what they do and what they say they do line up

Application of DC-S Supervision

  • Have it in US, UK, Australia
  • Delivered in a variety of formats
  • In interpreter education programs, support in gap years
  • Had had facilitator training (interpreter practitioner) in US, UK, Australia
  • Also started conversation with RID’s ethical practices and how to use case conferencing or case presenting systems

Evaluation data

  • Difference/similarities between facilitators
  • Comparing this experience of work analysis and discussions with past discussions
  • Change/impact in practice
  • Confidence in decision-making
  • Increase in empathy and empathetic responses
  • Decrease in a sense of isolation and work stress

Blogger’s Note:  At this point, I had to leave the workshop to catch my flight.  So, was not able to include information from Danny Maffia or Kathleen Holcombe’s findings in this process.