Reflective practice

Reflective practice

Reflective practice in teaching and evaluation

Macquarie University encourages scholarly, reflective practice in all areas of academic work, including teaching and curriculum development.

What is reflection?

There is no agreed definition of reflection in the literature however most approaches include the idea of “purposeful thought” (Loughran, 2006) about beliefs, thoughts or actions, undertaken in order to improve or learn.

In the context of teaching, we think of reflective practice as the process of deliberately thinking about how and what we teach, with a view to enhancing its effectiveness for student learning. It involves self-review and self-assessment, and a willingness to learn and adapt, and is therefore an intrinsic element of quality evaluation. A teacher who integrates this intentional approach with the exploration, application and/or production of scholarship in learning and teaching can claim to be engaged in scholarly, reflective practice in learning and teaching.

Teaching strategies and learning activities often use terms that are based on reflection. Depending on your discipline/subject or study area you might be more familiar with terms such as: analysis, review, evaluation, critical thinking, investigation, making sense, making meaning, contemplation, contemplative practice, meditation, introspection or felt knowing.

Professional recognition for teaching excellence and curriculum innovation (whether internally, via promotion, or externally via grants, awards and teaching fellowships) is increasingly based on the ability to plan, implement, articulate, evaluate and reflect upon achievements and initiatives in these areas, and to substantiate each step with reference to an evidence base (scholarship).

Resources to support scholarly reflective practice in learning and teaching

A range of resources, hints and tips to support scholarly reflective practice can be found in the Teaching and Curriculum Evaluation iLearn site (in development, July 2017). These will be useful if you are seeking to:

  • Develop your teaching practice and/or curriculum design to enhance student learning.
  • Ensure that you provide sound evidence for the quality of your teaching and curriculum for career progression and professional recognition purposes.
  • Enrich and develop your scholarly reflective practice in teaching and curriculum.
  • Support your own scholarship and research in learning and teaching
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