The authors in this book are strong supporters of practice wisdom. We see this as valuable and aspirational rather than obvious and essential; something that is achieved by some, but not all practitioners. In the face of different foundations for good practice (like evidence-based practice, practice judgements, decision making strategies and research or protocol guidelines), practice wisdom provides something extra that outstanding practitioners offer. These are wise practitioners or sometimes emerging practitioners who show growing wisdom in aspects of their practice.
Our authors explore what practice wisdom means to them and their academic and practice communities. And, we consider the value of practice wisdom in the context of practice today alongside other practice dimensions (such as judgement, professional knowledge and practice ethics) and practice foundations (such as evidence-based practice, practice codes of conduct, standards and accountability requirements). Value here means both what value wisdom in practice is seen to have and how it is valued and recognised. These determinations are made in relation to practice effectiveness and outcomes as well as its approaches and perceptions. Further, the perspectives (e.g. by clients, practitioners, peers) and practice standards against which good practice is judged make considerable difference to the way that practice is valued and judged, as does the viewpoint of who is making this decision. What a client wants and expects, for instance, can differ considerably from what an expert in the field considers is best practice. Also, we acknowledge that clients, not just professionals, are contributors of wisdom. Clients may well know most about their situation and bring rich wisdom of this life experience to the discussion table.
Practice wisdom interpretations and models have been the subject of much research, scholarship, debate and critique over different eras. These views and classifications range from Aristotle to ethical practices, from social practice wisdom to sociological imagination and new interpretations. Practice wisdom is interpreted by the authors in multiple contexts across professional development, mindful practice, dealing with moral issues, embodied practice, practice ecologies, critical reflection, ethico-legal situations, dealing with modern wicked problems in the age of certainty and dealing with cultural and ethical matters.
We invite our readers to reflect on the place of practice wisdom in pursuing good practice outcomes amidst the turmoil and pressure of professional practice today and consider whether the imperatives of evidence-based practice and triple-bottom-line accountability leave enough space for wise practice or if wisdom is seen by modern practice worlds as unnecessary, antiquated, unrealistic and redundant.
In this book Practice Wisdom: Values and Interpretations we bring diverse views and interpretations to what wisdom in professional practice means academically, practically and inspirationally. We consider core dimensions of wisdom in practice like ethics, mindfulness, moral virtue and metacognition, and we tackle the challenges that practice wisdom seekers encounter including the demand for resilience, finding credibility in practice wisdom and linking wisdom into evidence for sound, human-centred professional decision making.