11.384 | Spring 2018 | Graduate
Malaysia Sustainable Cities Practicum
Instructor Insights

The Role of Reflective Practice

In this section, Prof. Lawrence Susskind describes the role of reflective practice in the Practicum experience.

Becoming Aware of Mental Models and Preconceptions

"By making students aware of their own mental models and preconceptions, as well as those of the people they interact with, the reflective practice process enhances their ability to keep an open mind and generate innovative ideas."
— Lawrence Susskind

Reflective practice is incorporated throughout the Practicum experience to help MIT students develop not just the ability to apply their knowledge from the classroom in real communities, but also the ability to learn from their field-based experience itself. By making students aware of their own mental models and preconceptions, as well as those of the people they interact with, the reflective practice process enhances their ability to keep an open mind and generate innovative ideas. Before, during, and after the Practicum, students are encouraged to consider the strengths, challenges, roles, assumptions and questions that they bring as a practitioner.

Teaching Reflective Practice through a Workshop

Practicum students participate in a short workshop, facilitated by the Community Innovator’s Lab (CoLab) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), during the fall to introduce them to reflective practice and tools they will use while in Malaysia. Concepts and tools that are used to encourage reflective practice include levels of listening and conversation; journaling with guiding questions; and sharing with a partner to deepen reflection.