Reflective educators dedicate time to evaluating their own teaching, examining curricular choices, reviewing student feedback, and making revisions to improve teaching and learning. Sometimes, reflection is a planned and deliberate action. However, we are also reflecting every time we receive feedback, in our conversations with peers and students, and when we provide feedback to our selves. Brookfield (1995) defined four distinct and interconnecting lenses through which teachers discover, examine and critically reflect on their own assumptions and actions.
- Self our own autobiography as teachers and learners
- Students through the eyes of our students
- Peers our colleagues/experiences
- Scholarship theoretical literature
So, now what?
Driscoll (1994) developed a really simple model for reflection, developed off of the back of work carried out by Borton (1970). Starting with ‘What?’, these three simple questions act as an aid to critically analyze and reflect on an event you want to learn from.
This three step process enables you to:
- Identify and describe the facts and feelings of the situation,
- Understand the impact of your actions in the situation and the available knowledge you and others had, and
- Create an action plan for future action.
Instructors can use various methods to learn about and reflect on their teaching. A few are listed below.
- Reflective journals
- Teaching inventories (available online)
- Video-recorded teaching practices: record yourself, observe the recording, document areas for improvement
- Student evaluations
- Peer review of teaching
Action research is a process for improving educational practice. Its methods involve action, evaluation, and reflection. It is a process to gather evidence to implement change in practices. In this video, John Spencer describes action research for educator researchers.
In this video, James McDonald, Criminology faculty at Valencia College, describes his action research project to increase student engagement in online discussions.
Teaching Inventory Self-Assessment
Many inventories have been developed to help instructors assess and think more broadly about their instructional practice. These inventories tend to explore which pedagogies are employed. Select any of the self-assessment options below to investigate your practice.
- Teaching Practice Inventory
- Teaching Perspectives Inventory
- Instructor self-evaluation
- Self-evaluation of teaching and reflection questions
After you complete the inventory, identify potential areas for development. Explore current literature and resources to inform your practice.
The American Council on Education (ACUE) offers a course in Effective Teaching Practices. The bibliography is available for public access and may be a good resource to inform practices after completing a teaching self-assessment.