do we educate reflective practitioners?

One of the themes colleagues involved in educating forecasters and I often talk about is reflective practice. There is very little written down that I can find about what makes for an expert forecaster, and how to help beginner and expert forecasters learn. But we reckon that critical reflection is a key part of what expert forecasters do.

Much of the time the weather benign, it doesn’t have much of an impact – a little light rain and I might get wet. Occasionally the weather has a huge impact I may end up without power, or getting into danger. And that is when the forecaster makes the difference, good warnings really do save lives.

So weather forecasters quite clearly need to know about the weather, but what else determines what makes them effective in giving good warnings?

Is reflective learning and practice part of that?

[This post started out as a statement – and I assumed that the answer was yes of course forecasters need to be reflective practitioners – but why do I think that and what does it really look like?]


Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Pyramid

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Pyramid with ap links; hat tip

Sand at sea, as seen from space

I wrote this recently at work: EUMETSAT – News – Sand at sea, as seen from space

We’ve been providing some images from satellites and working with others to have other weather data and following the German research ship Polarstern as it travels North from the southern oceans.

(the data are all at

Along side this there has been a weekly online discussion (using Saba Centra – a whiteboard / meeting tool) where we’ve been able to talk about what can be seen from the ship and  space.

Following a real ship  made the experience much more engaging.

Clara O’Shea – teaching and the manifesto

Clara O’Shea has an interesting reflection on ‘teaching’ on her blog (as well as a nice beautiful remix)

manifesto for teaching online | part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh

I keep bumping into the  manifesto for teaching online | part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh.

It gets me thinking even from the title … am I a facilitator of learning or a teacher  [or educator or instructor] ?


For the last few years I have used facilitator of learning or something like that to describe myself.

Facilitation has boundaries, I set up some form of contract (more than just the paper) – with my learners, they have responsibilities and roles as do I.  (often there is a third party – the people who pay for or accredit what ever is being learned).  As a good facilitator I try to get the right amount of this contract explicit so that we are able to function well.

This much translates to the role of a teacher. My facilitation experience gives me a good understanding of what makes a good contract/boundaries.

So what do I think is the difference? I think it is the content expertise I bring. In my teaching I still use skillful facilitation but I also bring knowledge. My facilitation skills guide me in how to use ( and sometimes skilfully not use) what I know to help learners learn.

The idea of a teacher also suggests some from of group with shared responsibility.   Learning can be very individuated,  I might talk about what I learned or my learning. Teaching has the possibility to highlight the communal or institutional that might be in play.

Oddly enough I seem to prefer ‘educator’ at the moment …

[and to those who had a part in getting the manifesto together – thank you]