The Use of Practitioners as Part-Time Faculty in Postsecondary Professional Education

  •  Joseph Chan    


Donald Schon’s theory of reflective learning (1983, 1987) has been the model of professional education for decades. Yet little research is done to examine the role of practitioners as part-time teachers in professional education in light of his ideas. This research investigated four programmes of professional education in Hong Kong: (a) a master degree in journalism, (b) a top-up degree in architecture, (c) a professional diploma in architecture, and (d) a higher diploma in visual communication (design). Interviews were conducted with teachers and students. The results confirm Schon’s (1983, 1987) concepts about the experiential and artistic nature of professional education, in which coaching and mentoring in practicum are the most effective pedagogy. As development of Schon's theory, the role of practitioner-educators, in the use of professional experience and knowledge rather than textbook in helping students to develop reflective practice, is critical in bridging the gap between the academic and professional worlds. These findings indicated the importance of a restructuring of curriculum and pedagogy and the institutionalization of the role of practitioners as part-time teachers, in order to improve professional education.

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