International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleEmerging from physiotherapy practice, masters-level education and returning to practice: a critical reflection based on Mezirow’s transformative learning theory
Type of ArticleCritical Reflection on Practice Development
Author/sLeane Owen
ReferenceVolume 6, Issue 2, Article 11
Date of PublicationNovember 2016
Keywordsevidence, masters degree, Mezirow, physiotherapy, reflection

Background and context: In order to integrate knowledge derived from the best available evidence-based practice, autonomous practitioners – including physiotherapists – need to challenge their routine ways of working. Masters-level education encourages critical and independent thinking and offers a means to acquire knowledge that has the potential to improve practice. Mezirow’s transformative learning theory fosters critical reflection and considers how our preconceptions and assumptions may influence practice. A combination of critical reflection and masters-level education may therefore be of value in developing evidence-based practice.
Aim: To demonstrate the value of critical reflection and masters-level education, particularly within physiotherapy practice, through the application of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory.
Conclusion: By reflecting on my own ‘disorientating dilemma’ I was able to combine Mezirow’s transformative learning theory and the knowledge gained during my masters degree to guide my learning. This personal experience has had a positive impact on my practice, particularly when working with people living with dementia.
Implications for practice:

Mezirow’s approach to critical reflection features throughout the nursing literature but has not been the model of choice for reflective practice in physiotherapy. His transformative learning theory may therefore be a useful model by which physiotherapists, as well as other practitioners, critically reflect on their practice and understand the impact on practice of their presuppositions, and may offer a means to integrate evidence from good-quality research.


This article by Leane Owen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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