International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleCritical Ally and Critical Friend: stepping stones to facilitating practice development
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sMichele Hardiman and Jan Dewing
ReferenceVolume 4, Issue 1, Article 3
Date of PublicationMay 2014
KeywordsCritical Ally, Critical Companionship, Critical Friend, facilitation, practice development, workplace learning

Background: The Critical Ally and Critical Friend are two models in the early stages of developmental testing as part of a doctoral research programme. Together with the Critical Companionship model, they offer a theoretically coherent framework for developing expertise in the facilitation of learning about practice from within the workplace. The two new models are sequentially related models underpinned by key principles of practice development and critical social theory. Unlike Critical Companionship, the Critical Ally and Critical Friend models are aimed at novice and proficient practice developers respectively; we argue that, because of their design, they can offer stepping stones to Critical Companionship. Together, the three models offer a pathway for practice developers and practitioners to gain, in a systematic way over a longer timescale, a repertoire of facilitation skills and to build expertise.

Aims: To describe the two new models and demonstrate their theoretical coherence with Critical Companionship. We also invite other practice developers and facilitators of workplace learning to debate the coherence of the two new models and the overall pathway, and to contribute to testing the models in a range of workplaces.

Implications for practice:

  • The two new models, when used in conjunction with the Critical Companionship model, offer a pathway for developing facilitation expertise within practice development
  • The models offer a broad based introduction to learning in and from practice, which could be useful for preceptors, mentors, clinical supervisors and facilitators at all levels from novice to proficient
  • As the three models offer a pathway, they could be useful as part of strategic workforce development, and learning and development planning
  • The models offer a potential new midrange theory that can contribute to developing practice development knowledge

This article by Michele Hardiman and Jan Dewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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