The Benefits of Practical Experience: Using Reflective Practitioner-Faculty in Graduate Programs
There are substantial benefits of a pedagogical cycle in which reflective practitioner-faculty use real-world application of skills to enhance adult student learning. By professionally engaging in the fields in which they teach, practitioner-faculty ensure that the skills and theories taught to students are current. Likewise, through professional projects, practitioner-faculty are exposed to real-world situations where clients require up-to-date professional services, similar to the work environments of many students. This prepares practitioner-faculty to assist students in finding real-world applications for what they are learning in class. As students actively engage with the new materials and practice skills, they raise challenging, real-world questions as members of a community of practice. These questions result in a critical reflection process among practitioner-faculty, which helps keep faculty current in their fields. Connections are made to both the academic model and the learning goals of one institution of higher learning.