Donald A. Schön Born September 19, 1930
Died September 13, 1997 Education Yale University, The Sorbonne, Harvard Univ. Occupation Research Spouse Nancy Quint Children Ellen, Andrew, Elizabeth, Susan
Donald Alan Schön (1930–1997) was an influential thinker in developing the theory and practice of reflective professional learning in the twentieth century.
Education and career
He was born in Boston and brought up in Massachusetts, at Brookline and Worcester. After doing a Bachelor's at Yale University, he completed Master's and doctoral studies in philosophy at Harvard University. His thesis dealt with Dewey's theory of inquiry. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and pursued advanced study in music (Piano and clarinet).
For many years Schön was with the large consulting firm, Arthur D. Little along with Raymond Hainer with whom he worked on his ideas which resulted in his first seminal work, The Displacement of Concepts. In fact this original work was a new interpretation on the history of the ideas of all time—a complement to Thomas Kuhn's work or even a more accurate look at the dynamics of invention. His later works there presaged a lifetime of interest in the subtle processes whereby technological and other change is absorbed (or not) by social systems. In 1970, he delivered the Reith Lectures for the BBC, on how learning occurs within organizations and societies that are in permanent states of flux. These presentations were published subsequently in his Beyond the Stable State.
Donald Schön became a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and stayed on with an appointment in 1972 as Ford Professor of Urban Studies and Education. He remained there until his death in 1997. During these decades his long collaboration with adult education/organizational behavior expert, Chris Argyris proceeded yielding key insights into the question of how organizations develop, adapt, learn or fail in these critical missions. Their collaboration led to two books in the 1970s - Theory in Practice and Organizational Learning - the latter of which was completely revised and published in 1996 as Organizational Learning II.
Donald Schön introduced several important organizing concepts to a wide range of applied fields:
- the idea of a "generative metaphor", figurative descriptions of social situations, usually implicit and even semi-conscious but that shape the way problems are tackled, for example seeing a troubled inner-city neighborhood as urban "blight" and, hence, taking steps rooted in the idea of disease.
- "learning systems" - Schön was a pioneer of studies aimed at exploring the possibility of learning at the supra-individual level
- reflective practice inquiry - Schön's seminal 1983 book, The Reflective Practitioner, challenged practitioners to reconsider the role of technical knowledge versus "artistry" in developing professional excellence. The concept most notably affected study of teacher education, health professions and architectural design.
- Frame reflection - the title of a 1994 book co-authored with MIT colleague Martin Rein, prescribed critical shared reconstruction of "frames" of social problems which are otherwise taken for granted and advocated system-level learning to find solutions for "intractable policy controversies."
Much of his later and more influential work related to reflection in practice and the concept of learning systems. He (along with Chris Argyris) maintained that organizations and individuals should be flexible and should incorporate lessons learned throughout their lifespans, known as organizational learning. His interest and involvement in jazz music inspired him to teach the concept of improvisation and 'thinking on one's feet', and that through a feedback loop of experience, learning and practice, we can continually improve our work (whether educational or not) and become a 'reflective practitioner'. Thus, the work of Schön fits with and extends to the realm of many fields of practice, key twentieth century theories of education, like experiential education and the work of many of its most important theorists, namely John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Carl Rogers and David Kolb.
Schön believed that people and organizations should be flexible and incorporate their life experiences and lessons learned throughout their life. This is also known as Organizational learning (Fulmer, 1994). Organizational learning is based on two things. The first being single–loop learning and the second being double–loop learning. The former refers to the process that occurs when organizations adjust their operations to keep apace with changing market conditions. And then the latter refers to not just adjusting to the market, but also to the creation of new and better ways of achieving business goals (Fulmer, 1994).
Donald Schön was married to sculptor Nancy Schön who is particularly well known for her installation in the Boston Public Garden of the bronze duck family from McCloskey's children's classic "Make Way for Ducklings". Nancy Schön completed a sequence of works titled "The Reflective Giraffe" in tribute to her late husband with a giraffe as the central icon.
- The Displacement of Concepts. London: Tavistock, 1963.
- Technology and change: The new Heraclitus. Oxford: Pergamon, 1967.
- Beyond the Stable State. Harmondsworth: Penguin/ New York: Norton, 1973
- (with C. Argyris) Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1974.
- (with C. Argyris) Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978.
- The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith, 1983.
- Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987.
- (ed.) The Reflective Turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York: Teachers College (Columbia), 1991
- (with M. Rein) Frame Reflection: Toward the Resolution of Intractable Policy Controversies. New York: Basic Books, 1994
- (with C. Argyris) Organizational learning II: Theory, method and practice. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1996.
- Infed.org profile on Schön
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Donald Schon — Donald Schön Donald A. Schön (Boston 1931 Boston 1997) est un penseur et pédagogue influent dans le monde anglo saxon, à l origine de travaux sur les stratégies d apprentissage réflexives par la pratique. Ouvrages (fr) Le praticien réflexif,… … Wikipédia en Français
Donald Schön — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Schon. Donald A. Schön (Boston 1931 Boston 1997) est un penseur et pédagogue influent dans le monde anglo saxon, à l origine de travaux sur les stratégies d apprentissage réflexives par la pratique. Ouvrages (fr) … Wikipédia en Français
Schon — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Schon ou Schön peut désigner: Patronymie Donald Schön (1931 1997) est un penseur et pédagogue américain. Heinrich Theodor von Schön (1773 1856) est un… … Wikipédia en Français
Schön — People whose surname is or was Schön include:*Donald Schön (1930 mdash;1997), U.S. thinker *Ebbe Schön (born 1929), Swedish writer, literary historian and folklorist *Helmut Schön (1915 mdash;1996), German footballer *Jan Hendrik Schön (born… … Wikipedia
Donald Gramm — (26 February 1927 – 2 June 1983) was an American bass baritone whose career was divided between opera and concert performances. His appearances were primarily limited to the United States, which at the time was unusual for an American singer.… … Wikipedia
Donald Duck — als Plastikfigur vor dem damaligen Firmensitz des Ehapa Verlags in Leinfelden Echterdingen (1990er Jahre) Donald Duck (engl. ˈdɑːnəld dʌk) ist eine Comic und Zeichentrickfilm Figur aus dem Disney Studio. Sein vollständiger Name lautet Donald … Deutsch Wikipedia
Donald Fauntleroy Duck — Donald Duck als Plastikfigur vor dem Ehapa Verlag Donald Duck (engl. ˈdɑːnəld dʌk) ist eine Comic und Zeichentrickfilm Figur aus dem Disney Studio. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Donald Davidson — Donald Herbert Davidson (* 6. März 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts; † 30. August 2003 in Berkeley, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer analytischer Philosoph und ein Schüler von Willard Van Orman Quine. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Donald Bragg — Donald George Bragg (* 15. Mai 1935 in Penns Grove, New Jersey) ist ein ehemaliger US amerikanischer Stabhochspringer, der in der zweiten Hälfte der 1950er Jahre erfolgreich war. Bragg ist als letzter Weltrekordspringer mit einem Metallstab in… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Donald Ervin Knuth — [kəˈnuːθ] (* 10. Januar 1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) ist emeritierter Professor für Informatik an der Stanford University, Autor des Standardwerkes The Art of Computer Programming und Urvater des Textsatzsystems TeX … Deutsch Wikipedia