Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

Teaching Tips & Links for SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Issue 31 - Reflective Teaching Practice

October 16, 2018

Reflective practice is a key learning skill that we teach and assess in our students. Reflection on teaching is also a vital practice for educators in the higher education sector. The focus of this week’s bulletin is on undertaking reflective practice to improve teaching and promote successful outcomes for student learning.

Career advancement can also be enhanced through effective reflective teaching practice. Read on to the end of this week's offering for some career information.

Next week we will look at Reflective Teaching for Learning.


Implementing the CSU Value INSIGHTFUL in your teaching.

In living the value of Insightful we act respectfully and perceptively to seek to understand why people think and behave in the ways that they do. Digging deep to understand the why in addition to the what, we shift beyond taking words or actions at face value.


What is reflective practice and why do it?


QUOTE: Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works. Analysing and evaluating this information may lead to changes and improvements in our teaching. Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again (Tice).

“When teaching reflectively, instructors think critically about their teaching and problem-solve for solutions to recurring issues, rather than relying on unchanging, established personal norms” (Yale).

Reflection is a systematic reviewing process for all teachers which allows you to make links from one experience to the next, making sure your students make maximum progress.The reflective process encourages you to work with others as you can share best practice and draw on others for support. Reflection makes sure all students learn more effectively as learning can be tailored to them. A reflective practitioner looks for ways to improve practice by asking for feedback from students and colleagues, evaluating practice compared to new research and new theories, and incorporating innovation to improve practice” (Cambridge Community).

“It includes developing competence to identify and replicate best practice, refine serendipitous practice, and avoid inferior practice. It results in teachers knowing not onlywhat to do, but also why. Research substantiates the role of reflection in teachers' professional growth” (Danielson).


More than thinking about teaching and talking to colleagues about it: reflective teaching implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analysing our own and others’ thoughts and observations and then going on to making changes (Tice).

QUOTE: Assumptions guide practice and only when we base our actions on accurate assumptions will we achieve the results we want. Educators with the courage to challenge their own assumptions in an effort to improve learning are the invaluable role models our students need (Brookfield).

QUOTE: If we do not take the time to write down or record ideas in some way as these occur to us, we are in danger of losing them (Zalipour).

Getting Started with Reflective Practice is a website that provides a clear and detailed overview of the reflective practice process including benefits and common misconceptions (Cambridge Community).

Benefits of Reflective practice:

  • helps create confident teachers (and students)
  • makes sure you are responsible for yourself and your students
  • encourages innovation
  • encourages engagement
  • benefits all – teachers, colleagues, students
All of these things together result in a productive working environment.

Common misconceptions

  • ‘It doesn’t directly impact my teaching if I think about things after I have done them’- the reflections you make will directly affect the next lesson or block of teaching as you plan to rework and reteach ideas.
  • ‘Reflection takes too long; I do not have the time’ – see strategies below to avoid this.
  • ‘Reflection is only focused on me, it does not directly affect my students’ - reflecting and responding to your reflections will directly affect your students as you change and adapt your teaching.
  • ‘Reflection is a negative process’ – it is a cyclical process, meaning you grow and adapt.
  • ‘Reflection is a solo process, so how will I know I’ve improved?’– reflection should trigger discussion and co-operation.

Analysis of the references below reveals five broad perspectives on ongoing reflective practice for teaching:

  • Teacher professional development
  • Teacher personal development
  • Enhanced student outcomes
  • Contribution to broader teaching and society contexts
  • Career development

The next section of the bulletin examines HOW TO DO REFLECTIVE PRACTICE.


Brookfield, S. D. (2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher (2nd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Available as e-book from CSU library.

Cambridge Community (n.d.).Getting Started with reflective practice (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cambridge-community.org.uk/professional-development/gswrp/index.html

Danielson, L. M. (2009). Fostering Reflection. Educational Leadership, 66(5). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb09/vol66/num05/Fostering-Reflection.aspx

Peer Support Australia (2018). Taking stock: The importance of reflection for renewal. Retrieved from https://peersupport.edu.au/taking-stock-the-importance-of-reflection-for-renewal/

Pollard, A., Black-Hawkins, K., & Cliff, H. G. (2014). Reflective teaching in schools. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au AND http://reflectiveteaching.co.uk

Tice, J. (2011). Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice. Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/reflective-teaching-exploring-our-own-classroom-practice

Yale (2018). Reflective teaching. Retrieved from https://ctl.yale.edu/ReflectiveTeaching

Zalipour, A. (2015). Reflective practice. Retrieved from https://www.waikato.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/360861/Reflective-Practice-June-2015.pdf

How to do reflective practice


Educational research has resulted in many different models of reflective practices to support student learning and staff development. Each model of reflection aims to make links between the ‘doing’ and the ‘thinking’.


In Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher Brookfield (2017) suggests that through critical reflection and the challenging of assumptions, you can reframe your teaching by viewing your practice through four lenses:

  1. your students' eyes,
  2. your colleagues' perceptions,
  3. your own personal experience, and
  4. relevant theory and research

In the second edition of his highly regarded practical guide, Brookfield devotes chapters to each of the lenses, incorporates current pedagogy and provides in-depth discussion of critical reflection.

This volume is available as an e-book from CSU library

Dewey: Concept of reflective teaching stems from Dewey (1933, 1938) who contrasted ‘routine action’ with ‘reflective action’ in response to a dilemma.

Schon: The concept of reflective practice was first introduced by Schön (1983, 1987, 1991) and is associated with the terms Knowing-in-action, reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action and the concepts of the theory-practice gap between technical rationality and tacit knowledge (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzjz-l8L1lc for a short 4-min introduction) (see Cambridge Community for expanded examples related to these terms).

Others: Other authors who contributed models and theories of reflective practice

Solomon (1987) – reflection as a social practice with the support of colleagues and mentors. Proposed seven key characteristics of reflective practice:

Lortie (1975) described how failing to reflect on teaching decisions leads to teaching by imitation rather than intentionality.

Grimmett (1990) proposed four modes of thinking to understand the complexity of reflection: technological, situational, deliberate, and dialectical (as cited in Danielson).


These tips are drawn from the references below and are based around Brookfield's four lenses, Grimmett's modes of thinking and the reflective cycles of Kolb and Gibbs.


For more in-depth background and practical advice try these resources:

Pollard, A., Black-Hawkins, K., & Cliff, H. G. (2014). Reflective teaching in schools. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.auAND http://reflectiveteaching.co.uk. The supplementary resources on the Reflective Teaching website include an extensive range of questions for you to use in your own reflective practice.

Yale (2018). Reflective teaching. Retrieved from https://ctl.yale.edu/ReflectiveTeaching

Zalipour, A. (2015). Reflective practice. Retrieved from https://www.waikato.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/360861/Reflective-Practice-June-2015.pdf. This is an 18-page workshop booklet that you can use for your own self-paced learning - RECOMMENDED.


From the Cambridge Community website (2018): There are five main principles, sometimes referred to as the five Rs, that will make sure you get the most out of your reflections − reacting, recording, reviewing, revising, reworking and reassessing. If you are new to reflective practice, it will help to ask yourself the following questions

How will I decide what area of my practice I need to focus on?

Recording (logging your reflections):
How will I assess my performance?
How will I record this? How will I log this? When will I log this?

Reviewing (understanding your current teaching methods):
What worked well and how do I know this?
What did not work as planned? And why?
What could I try next time? How could you adapt the activity?

Revising (adapting your teaching by trying new strategies):
What will I change or adapt?

Reworking (action plan of how you can put these ideas in ):
How will I put this in place? What materials do I need?

Reassessing (understanding how these new strategies affected learning):
How successful were the new strategies? What changed?


The journal you produce can be used for EDRS and evidence for teaching awards.

Reflection should become a habit that takes a few minutes per class.

  • Get into the habit of writing and do it as soon as possible after the event. (SET a daily alarm)
  • Don’t spend too much time thinking about it
  • Little and often with free, spontaneous and informal style
  • No inappropriate language or too much slang or colloquialism or negative personal comments about colleagues
  • Your choice about hand-written or typed
  • Blogs provide opportunities for online communities of practice
  • Include whatever content you like: – e.g.description (what happened; analysis (how, why); evaluation (how effective it was); conclusions (suggestions for future practice), visuals, critical incidents.
  • Use Gibbs model – Description – Feelings – Evaluation – Analysis – Conclusions (general and specific) – Personal action plans, OR
  • Use the What - So What - Now What model

Brookfield’s four lenses are useful for collecting feedback on your teaching at any time of the session

1. Your students’ eyes

Student Observation and Student Dialogue: Students are very observant and love to give feedback. Drawing on student feedback will make sure your reflections are focused on your students. By reflecting with students, you allow them to play an active part in their learning and gain insight into what needs to improve to support student development.

Some modes for gathering student feedback:

  1. Open-ended questionnaires
  2. Closed-ended questionnaires
  3. Checklists and inventories
  4. The one-minute paper and the muddiest point
  5. Blank index cards to gather a small amount of feedback quickly and easily.
  6. Suggestion box: anonymous In-class troubleshooting sessions (Note: Without telling students your rationale for this exercise, the exercise will not reach its full potential
  7. Learning letter or student journal - could include what they enjoyed, how they felt in the lesson, what they understood and engaged with, what they still need more help with, what they liked about the lesson and things they thought could have been better.
  8. Email
  9. Voice mail
  10. Student liaison committee
  11. Group instructional feedback with an outside facilitator

2. Your colleagues’ perceptions
Reflection is a skill that is best fostered with colleagues. Co-workers who demonstrate expertise in posing and solving problems often prove to be good mentors. Drawing on support from colleagues will allow you to cement understanding and get involved with others’ ideas and best practice.

Peer Observation: Invite a colleague to observe your teaching, or you could observe them. These observations should have a very specific focus, for example the quality of questioning or the quality of student-led activities.

Blog It: Connecting with other great educators through blogging can make learning and growing a collaborative effort.

Shared planning is where you draw on support from colleagues to plan lessons together based on best practice to help create innovative and improved lessons.

The shared-planning process should encourage talking and co-operation. You should draw on support from colleagues to help develop practice and share ideas. (Cambridge)

Advice: Talk to your colleagues about your findings and ask them for advice.

3. Your own personal experience

QUOTE: Most teachers will say that there's very little time in the day for reflecting, and I agree with them. But I still make sure that I find time to reflect because it's too important to put by the wayside. All educators need time in their day to reflect and think about the different ways they can be better.(Provenzano)

Lesson evaluations: require you to think back on the lesson, assessing its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development. To help focus your evaluation, consider the following questions:

  • How effective was the overall lesson?
  • What worked in this lesson? Why? How do I know?
  • What would I do the same or differently if I could reteach this lesson? Why?
  • What do I believe about how students learn? How does this belief influence my instruction?
  • How engaged and active were the students?
  • How much learning took place? How do I know?
  • What data do I need to make an informed decision about problems that came up?
  • Was I perceptive and sensitive to each of my students’ needs?
  • How was my overall attitude and delivery throughout class?
  • What did I learn from this experience that will help me in future lessons?

Video Recording: A video recording of your teaching is valuable because it provides an unaltered and unbiased vantage point for how effective your lesson may be from both a teacher and student perspective.

Write it down, Write it down, Write it down: Teachers often think they can remember it all, but that's rarely the case.

TIP: If you use a planner for your lessons, use sticky notes for initial thoughts after a lesson, and stick them in the planner. If you use a digital planner, quickly write out some thoughts in a different colour so they'll stand out later. These notes are key for teachers who want to remember certain aspects of lessons that might need to be addressed later.

Self-Reflective/Learning Journal: After each lesson, simply jot down a few notes describing your reactions and feelings and then follow up with any observations you have about your students. Write down what you felt worked and did not work for that day and why. Use the lesson evaluation questions and the five Rs to help focus your journal.

A blog can be used as a private journal to dump ideas. Setting a blog to private can be a great way to just write ideas, review them, and reflect. Seeing those ideas onscreen can aid reflection in a way that just thinking about them can't. … they can be just a way to get some deep reflective thoughts out of my head.

Record It: Vlog recording thoughts for the week and giving a goal for the upcoming week. The videos are short (limit to about four minutes).

Audio Reflection: can be recorded ‘on the run’ to maintain an ongoing record of your observations and reflections. Software makes transcription easy, if required.

Photo or Video Reflection: Use a tool like Evernote or Google Keep with your smartphone and snap images of lesson results, activities and student work that will live in one of these tools.

Questionnaires/checklists: that you have students or colleagues complete, you should complete as well and use as a point of comparison.

Assessment tools as feedback tools: your tests and exams as indicators of student learning.

Experimenting with new ideas: Trying out new methods or approaches can create new learning opportunities. These changes can be simple or adventurous.

4. Relevant theory and research

Go online or to the library and read up on effective techniques that can help remedy your situation.

Further References

Danielson, L. M. (2008). Making reflective practice more concrete through reflective decision making. The Educational Forum, 72, 129–137.

Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Chicago: Henry Regnery.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: MacMillan.

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. London: Further Education Unit

Pollard, A., Black-Hawkins, K., & Cliff, H. G. (2014). Reflective teaching in schools. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.auAND http://reflectiveteaching.co.uk

Provenzano, N. (2014). The reflective teacher: Taking a long look. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/reflective-teacher-taking-long-look-nicholas-provenzano

Schon, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith.

Schon, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Yale (2018). Reflective teaching. Retrieved from https://ctl.yale.edu/ReflectiveTeaching

Zalipour, A. (2015). Reflective practice. Retrieved from https://www.waikato.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/360861/Reflective-Practice-June-2015.pdf


... a follow-up to last week's seminar opportunity

Free online seminar held on 10 October 2018, 11am at the USQ salon:

Development of National Guidelines in Australia for Improving Student Outcomes in Online Education

Speaker: Dr Cathy Stone, Uni of Newcastle and National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) presented the National Guidelines for Australian institutions for improving student outcomes in online learning, developed from a 2016 Australian research project conducted under the sponsorship of the NCSEHE.

The full report can be downloaded from the NCSEHE website: Opportunity Through Online Learning ...

The NCSEHE website has a wealth of information on student equity policy, research & practice in HE.

From the 2016 research project:

10 National Guidelines for Institutions

  1. Know who the students are – make sure the external, online cohort is well understood across the institution
  2. Develop, implement & regularly review institution-wide quality standards for online education (continuous quality improvement)
  3. Intervene early to address student expectations, build skills and engagement – contact, connect, prepare
  4. Explicitly value and support the vital role of ‘teacher-presence' - e.g. training, resourcing, realistic class sizes and allocated teaching time
  5. Design for online – ‘online first’, inclusive, accessible
  6. Engage and support through curriculum, content and delivery, institutional quality standards
  7. Build collaboration across campus to deliver holistic student support – integrated, embedded in curriculum
  8. Contact and communicate throughout the student journey – institutional framework of interventions
  9. Make strategic use of learning analytics to inform intervention strategy – target and personalise student interventions, including personalising curriculum
  10. Invest in online education through sufficient resources – core business funded appropriately.


Follow Teaching Tuesdays on Twitter.
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Link to: Folder with all previous issues of Teaching Tuesdays



1....Teaching support resources at CSU
2....CSU Professional Learning
3....Bonus CSU resource - Lynda.com
4....Magna Commons Subscription
5....Links to previous bulletins


1. Teaching support resources at CSU

You have access to a range of quality CSU resources to help you incorporate educational resources and techniques into your teaching. Check out the following:


3. Bonus CSU resource - Lynda.com

All CSU students and staff members have access to Lynda.com, an online subscription library that teaches the latest business, creative and software skills through high-quality instructional videos.

A search for Reflective Practice with a filter for Education and E-learning/Higher Education yielded several options related to this week's topic, including:

Reflect and Modify Your Instruction (4m 27s) as part of the larger course Teaching Techniques: Developing Curriculum (42m 59s)


4. Magna Commons Subscription

All staff with a CSU email address have free access to our annual

CSU subscription to the Magna Commons series of online seminars

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download if you don't have time to listen to the seminar.

How to subscribe

Staff with a CSU email address can obtain the Magna Commons CSU subscription code from Ellen McIntyre elmcintyre@csu.edu.au

Magna Commons suggests seminars to watch this month related to QUALITY: Evaluation, assessment, development, measuring quality through feedback and testing.

Seminars you might want to review as you focus on quality:


Upcoming Teaching Tuesdays issues...

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5. Links to previous bulletins

Folder with all previous issues.

Issue 1 Group Work; Issue 2 Engagement; Issue 3 Engagement;

Issue 4 Academic Integrity; Issue 5 Feedback; Issue 6 Feedback;

Issue 7 Active Engagement; Issue 8 Building on Prior Learning;

Issue 9 Student Diversity; Issue 10 Learning Outcomes;

Issue 11 Deep Learning; Issue 12 The Teaching-Research Nexus;

Issue 13 Improving Student Learning; Issue 14 Planning for Effective Student Learning;
Issue 15 Feedback for Teaching; Issue 16 Gamification;
Issue 17 Activities for Effective Learning; Issue 18 Dialogic Feedback;

Issue 19 Student Evaluation; Issue 20 Enhancing Learning;
Issue 21 Rationale for Assessment; Issue 22 Motivating Learning; Issue 23 Peer Learning;
Issue 24 Improving Online Learning and Teaching; Issue 25 Teacher Presence;

Issue 26 Teaching Current Content; Issue 27 Online Learning Model;

Issue 28 Maximising Subject Experience Survey Response Rates; Issue 29 LEGO for Learning;

Issue 30 Intercultural Awareness for Learning

FoBJBS Newsletter: BJBS-News

FoA&E Newsletter: NeXus

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