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Reflecting on teaching practice.

Reflection is an integral part of the teaching process. School activities in and outside the classroom create a natural environment for reflective teaching. Professional experience, healthy self-awareness, and genuine care for students and colleagues help teachers to reflect effectively. Reflective practices consist of in-the-moment reflection for immediate action, after-the-moment reflection for future action, and outside reflection for exchange of reflective experience among a teacher’s colleagues and professional learning networks. Reflection promotes evidence-based changes in the classroom to advance teaching practices and is one of the cornerstones of a teacher’s professional development and supports the quality of education in today’s ever-changing world.

Questions to Consider

Why is reflection essential to my growth as a teacher?

How do I receive feedback about my teaching and lesson content?

How does reflection impact my next steps towards continued growth as a blended or online teacher?

At-a-Glance Video

  • Topic Summary
  • Infographic: Reflective Questioning and Strategies
  • Infographic: The Continuous Reflection Cycle
  • Infographic: Benefits of Reflective Teaching

Web Resources

Reflection resources.

  • Ways to be a More Reflective Teacher
  • Benefits of Reflective Teaching and Learning 
  • How To Apply Reflective Practice when Teaching Online
  • How to Encourage Reflective Teaching in Your School
  • Self-Reflection: Are You a Reflective Teacher?
  • Questions to Tackle When Reflecting on Teaching
  • Fun Ways to Reflect on Your Teaching
  • Reflective Teaching: 5 Minute Definitions for Teachers in a Hurry
  • Reflect on Teaching Practice

Related Online and Blended Teaching Hub Topics

  • Building a Professional Learning Network
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Work-Life Balance

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Developing a reflective teaching practice

Our university is built on a commitment to using the power of discovery, creativity, and analytical thinking to solve challenges, including those we encounter in the process of teaching. While consulting the scholarship of teaching and learning is a good way to identify effective teaching strategies, the most important dimension of an effective teaching practice is reflection.

What is “reflective” teaching?

The American philosopher and educational reformer, John Dewey, considered reflection crucial to learning. As Dewey scholar, Carol Rodgers, notes, Dewey framed reflection as “a systematic, rigorous, disciplined way of thinking” that led to intellectual growth.

Because our students are so diverse and there’s so much variety in instructional contexts, good teaching requires instructors to observe, reflect upon, and adapt their teaching practice . In addition to identifying areas for improvement in your teaching, reflection is also core to an inclusive teaching practice.

Reflective practices

There are lots of ways to be thoughtful about your teaching, but here are a few for each point in the quarter.

Before the beginning of the quarter:

  • Reflect on your course goals. What do you want students to be able to do by the time they leave your course?
  • Reflect on your own mix of identities. How has privilege or oppression shaped your perspectives?
  • Reflect on how your discipline creates knowledge and decides what knowledge is valuable. How has this constrained what and how you teach?

During the quarter:

  • Keep a journal to briefly jot down your observations of student interactions and experiences in the classroom. Note things that are working and things you might want to change.
  • Get an outside perspective. Ask a colleague to come observe a class and your interactions with students and/or course materials.
  • Conduct a mid-quarter evaluation to gather information on how the course is going. Ask yourself what you can do to relieve the pain points that students identified in the evaluation.

At the end of the quarter:

  • Reflect on your course data. What do your gradebook and course evaluations indicate about what worked well and what didn’t work so well? What can you do to improve students’ performance?
  • Connect with a consultant to brainstorm ways to redesign assignments or improve your teaching practice.
  • Dig into the scholarship of teaching and learning to find ideas for how others have improved their teaching practice in a certain area.

Reflecting on your identities and position

Your teaching emerges from your educational background and training, as well as from your personal history and experience. Reflecting on how who you are and what you have experienced shapes your teaching can help you identify ways to better connect with your students.

Positionality and intersectionality

Positionality refers to the social, cultural, and political contexts – including systems of power and oppression – that shape our identities. Our positionalities influence how we approach course design, choose content, teach, and assess student work. Recognizing how your own positionality impacts your teaching can help you create a more inclusive classroom.

On one level, intersectionality refers to the ways that the multiple dimensions of our identity intersect to shape our experience. Black feminist scholars have stressed how social systems based on things such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability combine to create an interlocking system that privileges some and oppresses others.

Reflecting on your own positionality and the intersectional nature of your identity can help you think more intentionally about your content choices, the materials you assign to your students, and even how the different aspects of your students’ identities may affect their experience in your class.

Empowering students

The relationships that define learning environments are, unavoidably, imbued with power. As an instructor, you hold a position of authority, and a level of implicit institutional power – you determine the content of your course, create assignments, and grade those assignments. But when students have agency in their courses, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in their own learning . Reflecting on the power structures that define your classrooms may help you find ways to recalibrate or redistribute power so that students become more active agents in the creation of disciplinary knowledge, as well as in their own learning.

As you reflect, you might consider adopting one or more of following strategies for empowering your students:

  • Take on the role of a guide. Rather than aspiring to transmit information through lecture, consider ways to make students active participants and contributors in their learning. Develop student-driven activities and discussions that create constructive, cooperative learning environments that encourage students to learn together.
  • Consider flipping your classroom . Devote the time you spend with students to interaction and collaboration. Create videos focused on your lecture material that students can watch (and rewatch) as a homework activity.
  • Work with students to articulate community values and expectations. Consider building community agreements with students. Openly discuss how you will assess students’ work and allow students to ask questions and offer their own ideas for grading. A great way to get students involved in thinking about their own assessment is to co-create assessment rubrics.
  • Encourage students to share their own knowledge and expertise. Ask students to think about what they already know about a course topic and how your course can help them build upon that knowledge. Challenge students to think critically about why and how course material is relevant to their own lives.
  • Practice inclusive course design. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles can help make your teaching more inclusive and offer students more opportunities to engage and express their knowledge.

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Reflective Teaching Statements

The Reflective Teaching Statement (RTS) is a short reflective essay that describes an instructor's teaching philosophy, learning objectives, instructional methods, and learning and engagement strategies. This collection contains various resources, from helping you get started writing one to examples from different disciplines.

Updated: February 2024

What is a Reflective Teaching Statement?

This handout explains what a Reflective Teaching Statement is and what types of information it contains.

Reflective Teaching Statement: Getting Started

This handout provides questions that can help you get started writing.

Reflective Teaching Statement: General Guidelines and Possible Components

Reflective teaching statement: structure.

This handout includes suggestions to consider as you organize and write your statement.

Reflective Teaching Statement: Rubric

This handout helps you score the various components of your statement.

Reflective Teaching Statement: Examples

Review sample statements from various disciplines.

Teaching Philosophies and Teaching Dossiers Guide

This guide provides a robust resource for creating teaching dossiers and philosophy statements. It starts with an overview of a research-informed framework for developing teaching expertise and then describes how to create philosophy statements that ground your approaches to teaching across multiple contexts. The final sections of the guide focus on creating and evaluating teaching dossiers.

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Reflective teaching.

When instructors engage in reflective teaching, they are dedicating time to evaluate their own teaching practice, examine their curricular choices, consider student feedback, and make revisions to improve student belonging and learning. This process requires information gathering, data interpretation, and planning for the future. Reflective teaching involves examining one’s underlying beliefs about teaching and learning and one’s alignment with actual classroom practice before, during and after a course is taught.

When teaching reflectively, instructors think critically about their teaching and look for evidence of effective teaching. This critical analysis can draw on a variety of sources: Brookfield (2017) lays out four crucial sources: “students’ eyes, colleagues’ perceptions, personal experience, and theory and research.” Instructors can use various tools and methods to learn from these sources and reflect on their teaching, ranging from low-key to formal and personal to inter-collegial. For example, reflective teaching may include self-assessment, classroom observations , consideration of student evaluations , or exploration of educational research . Because each semester’s students and their needs are different, reflective teaching is a continual practice that supports effective and student-centered teaching.

Reflective Teaching Examples (an illustrated journal, pen, pencil, eraser, coffee cup, and an envelope with "Online Course Evaluations" written on the back flap)

Examples of Self-Assessment

Reflection Journals: Instructors might consider capturing a few details of their teaching in a journal to create an ongoing narrative of their teaching across terms and years. Scheduling a dedicated time during the 5 or so minutes after class to write their entries will ensure continual engagement, rather than hoping to find a moment throughout the day. The instructor writes general thoughts about the day’s lesson and might reflect on the following questions: What went well today? What could I have done differently? How will I modify my instruction in the future?

Teaching Inventories: A number of inventories , like the Teaching Practices Inventory (Wieman and Gilbert, 2014), have been developed to help instructors assess and think more broadly about their teaching approaches. Inventories are typically designed to assess the extent to which particular pedagogies are employed (e.g. student- versus teacher-centered practices). 

Video-Recorded Teaching Practices: Instructors may request the Poorvu Center to video record their lessons while conducting a classroom observation, or instructors can video record themselves while teaching and use a classroom observation protocol to self-assess their own practices. Some Yale classrooms have video cameras installed for lecture capture , which instructors can then use for their self assessment. 

Teaching Portfolio: A more time-intensive practice, the teaching portfolio invites instructors to integrate the various components of their teaching into a cohesive whole, typically starting with a teaching philosophy or statement, moving through sample syllabi and assignments, and ending with evaluations from colleagues and students.Though less focused on classroom practices, a portfolio is an opportunity to reflect on teaching overall. The Poorvu Center offers an opportunity for faculty new to Yale to complete a teaching intensive and reflective program, the Faculty Teaching Academy , which includes a culminating portfolio. Faculty who complete the program will receive a contribution to their research or professional development budgets.  The University of Washington CTL offers best practices for creating a teaching portfolio . 

Examples of External Assessment

Student Evaluations (Midterm and End-of-Term): In many courses, instructors obtain feedback from students in the form of mid-semester feedback and/or end-of-term student evaluations . Because of potential bias, instructors should consider student evaluations as one data source in their instruction and take note of any prevailing themes (Basow, 1995; Watchel, 1998; Huston, 2005; Reid, L. (2010); Basow, S.A. & Martin, J.L. (2012) ). They can seek out other ways to assess their practices to accompany student evaluation data before taking steps to modify instruction. The Poorvu Center offers consultations regarding mid-semester feedback data collected. They will also conduct small group feedback sessions with an instructor’s students to provide non-evaluative, anonymous conversation notes from students in addition to the traditional survey format. If instructors are interested in sustained feedback over time from a student perspective, then they can also participate in the Pedagogical Partners program.

Peer Review of Teaching: Instructors can ask a trusted colleague to observe their classroom and give them feedback on their teaching. Colleagues can agree on an observation protocol or a list of effective teaching principles to focus on from a teaching practices inventory.

Classroom Observations: Any instructor at Yale may request an observation with feedback from a member of the Poorvu Center staff. Observations are meant to be non-evaluative and promote reflection.  They begin with a discussion in which the instructor describes course goals and format as well as any issues or teaching practices that are of primary concern. This initial discussion provides useful context for the observation and the post-observation conversation.

Basow, S.A. (1995). Student evaluations of college professors: When gender matters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(4): 656-665.

Basow, S.A. & Martin, J.L. (2012). Bias in student evaluations. In M.E. Kite (Ed.), Effective evaluation of teaching: A guide for faculty and administrators. Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

Brookfield, S. (2017). Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Huston, T. (2005).  Report: Empirical Research on the Impact of Race and Gender in the Evaluation of Teaching.  Retrieved 3/10/17 from Seattle University, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning website.  

Reid, L. (2010). The Role of Perceived Race and Gender in the Evaluation of College Teaching on RateMyProfessors.com. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 3 (3): 137–152.

Wachtel, H.K. (1998). Student Evaluation of College Teaching Effectiveness: A Brief Review. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 23(2): 191-212.

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Teaching statements.

Print Version

  • What is a teaching statement?
  • What purposes does the teaching statement serve?
  • What does a teaching statement include?

General Guidelines

  • Reflection questions to help get you started
  • Exercises to help get you started
  • Evaluating your teaching statement
  • Further resources

What is a Teaching Statement?

A Teaching Statement is a purposeful and reflective essay about the author’s teaching beliefs and practices. It is an individual narrative that includes not only one’s beliefs about the teaching and learning process, but also concrete examples of the ways in which he or she enacts these beliefs in the classroom. At its best, a Teaching Statement gives a clear and unique portrait of the author as a teacher, avoiding generic or empty philosophical statements about teaching.

What Purposes does the Teaching Statement Serve?

The Teaching Statement can be used for personal, professional, or pedagogical purposes. While Teaching Statements are becoming an increasingly important part of the hiring and tenure processes, they are also effective exercises in helping one clearly and coherently conceptualize his or her approaches to and experiences of teaching and learning. As Nancy Van Note Chism, Professor Emerita of Education at IUPUI observes, “The act of taking time to consider one’s goals, actions, and vision provides an opportunity for development that can be personally and professionally enriching. Reviewing and revising former statements of teaching philosophy can help teachers to reflect on their growth and renew their dedication to the goals and values that they hold.”

What does a Teaching Statement Include?

A Teaching Statement can address any or all of the following:

  • Your conception of how learning occurs
  • A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning
  • A reflection of why you teach the way you do
  • The goals you have for yourself and for your students
  • How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals
  • What, for you , constitutes evidence of student learning
  • The ways in which you create an inclusive learning environment
  • Your interests in new techniques, activities, and types of learning

“If at all possible, your statement should enable the reader to imagine you in the classroom, teaching. You want to include sufficient information for picturing not only you in the process of teaching, but also your class in the process of learning.” – Helen G. Grundman, Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

  • Make your Teaching Statement brief and well written . While Teaching Statements are probably longer at the tenure level (i.e. 3-5 pages or more), for hiring purposes they are typically 1-2 pages in length.
  • Use narrative , first-person approach. This allows the Teaching Statement to be both personal and reflective.
  • Be sincere and unique. Avoid clichés, especially ones about how much passion you have for teaching.
  • Make it specific rather than abstract. Ground your ideas in 1-2 concrete examples , whether experienced or anticipated. This will help the reader to better visualize you in the classroom.
  • Be discipline specific . Do not ignore your research. Explain how you advance your field through teaching.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms, as they can be off-putting to some readers. Try not to simply repeat what is in your CV. Teaching Statements are not exhaustive documents and should be used to complement other materials for the hiring or tenure processes.
  • Be humble . Mention students in an enthusiastic, not condescending way, and illustrate your willingness to learn from your students and colleagues.
  • Revise . Teaching is an evolving, reflective process, and Teaching Statements can be adapted and changed as necessary.

Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:*

  • Why do you teach the way you do?
  • What should students expect of you as a teacher?
  • What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don’t you use a different method?
  • What do you want students to learn? How do you know your goals for students are being met?
  • What should your students be able to know or do as a result of taking your class?
  • How can your teaching facilitate student learning?
  • How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?
  • What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students? What do you want your students to learn from these activities?
  • How has your thinking about teaching changed over time? Why?

* These questions and exercises are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and ideas as a teacher. No single Teaching Statement can contain the answers to all or most of these inquiries and activities.

Exercises to Help You Get You Started:*

  • The Teaching Portfolio , including a section on teaching statements, Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence. This website includes five effective exercises to help you begin the writing process
  • Teaching Goals Inventory , by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross and their book Classroom Assessment Techniques . This “quiz” helps you to identify or create your teaching and learning goals.

Evaluating Your Teaching Statement

Writing A Statement Of Teaching Philosophy For The Academic Job Search (opens as a PDF), The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan.

This report includes a useful rubric for evaluating teaching philosophy statements. The design of the rubric was informed by experience with hundreds of teaching philosophies, as well as surveys of search committees on what they considered successful and unsuccessful components of job applicants’ teaching philosophies.

Further Resources:

General information on and guidelines for writing teaching statements.

  • Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement , Faculty and TA Development at The Ohio State University. This site provides an in-depth guide to teaching statements, including the definition of and purposes for a teaching statement, general formatting suggestions, and a self-reflective guide to writing a teaching statement.
  • Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement , Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Iowa State University. This document looks at four major components of a teaching statement, which have been divided into questions—specifically, to what end? By what means? To what degree? And why? Each question is sufficiently elaborated, offering a sort of scaffolding for preparing one’s own teaching statement.
  • Writing a Meaningful Statement of Teaching Philosophy , McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University. This website offers strategies for preparing and formatting your teaching statement.

Articles about Teaching Statements

  • Grundman, Helen (2006). Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement (opens as a PDF), Notices of the AMS , Vol. 53, No. 11, p. 1329.
  • Montell, Gabriela (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy , from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education .
  • Montell, Gabriela (2003). What’s Your Philosophy on Teaching, and Does it Matter? , from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education .

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Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice

Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works - a process of self-observation and self-evaluation.

reflective essay on teaching strategies

By collecting information about what goes on in our classroom, and by analysing and evaluating this information, we identify and explore our own practices and underlying beliefs. This may then lead to changes and improvements in our teaching.

Reflective teaching is therefore a means of professional development which begins in our classroom.

  • Why it is important
  • Teacher diary
  • Peer observation
  • Recording lessons
  • Student feedback

Why it is important Many teachers already think about their teaching and talk to colleagues about it too. You might think or tell someone that "My lesson went well" or "My students didn't seem to understand" or "My students were so badly behaved today."

However, without more time spent focussing on or discussing what has happened, we may tend to jump to conclusions about why things are happening. We may only notice reactions of the louder students. Reflective teaching therefore implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analysing our thoughts and observations, as well as those of our students, and then going on to making changes.

  • If a lesson went well we can describe it and think about why it was successful.
  • If the students didn't understand a language point we introduced we need to think about what we did and why it may have been unclear.
  • If students are misbehaving - what were they doing, when and why?

Beginning the process of reflection You may begin a process of reflection in response to a particular problem that has arisen with one or your classes, or simply as a way of finding out more about your teaching. You may decide to focus on a particular class of students, or to look at a feature of your teaching - for example how you deal with incidents of misbehaviour or how you can encourage your students to speak more English in class.

The first step is to gather information about what happens in the class. Here are some different ways of doing this.

Teacher diary  This is the easiest way to begin a process of reflection since it is purely personal. After each lesson you write in a notebook about what happened. You may also describe your own reactions and feelings and those you observed on the part of the students. You are likely to begin to pose questions about what you have observed. Diary writing does require a certain discipline in taking the time to do it on a regular basis. 

Here are some suggestions for areas to focus on to help you start your diary. 

Download diary suggestions 51k

Peer observation Invite a colleague to come into your class to collect information about your lesson. This may be with a simple observation task or through note taking. This will relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon. For example, you might ask your colleague to focus on which students contribute most in the lesson, what different patterns of interaction occur or how you deal with errors.

Recording lessons Video or audio recordings of lessons can provide very useful information for reflection. You may do things in class you are not aware of or there may be things happening in the class that as the teacher you do not normally see.

  • How much do you talk?
  • What about?
  • Are instructions and explanations clear?
  • How much time do you allocate to student talk?
  • How do you respond to student talk?
  • Where do you stand?
  • Who do you speak to?
  • How do you come across to the students?

Student feedback You can also ask your students what they think about what goes on in the classroom. Their opinions and perceptions can add a different and valuable perspective. This can be done with simple questionnaires or learning diaries for example.

What to do next Once you have some information recorded about what goes on in your classroom, what do you do?

  • Think You may have noticed patterns occurring in your teaching through your observation. You may also have noticed things that you were previously unaware of. You may have been surprised by some of your students' feedback. You may already have ideas for changes to implement.
  • If you have colleagues who also wish to develop their teaching using reflection as a tool, you can meet to discuss issues. Discussion can be based around scenarios from your own classes.
  • Using a list of statements about teaching beliefs (for example, pairwork is a valuable activity in the language class or lexis is more important than grammar) you can discuss which ones you agree or disagree with, and which ones are reflected in your own teaching giving evidence from your self-observation.
  • Read You may decide that you need to find out more about a certain area. There are plenty of websites for teachers of English now where you can find useful teaching ideas, or more academic articles. There are also magazines for teachers where you can find articles on a wide range of topics. Or if you have access to a library or bookshop, there are plenty of books for English language teachers.
  • Ask Pose questions to websites or magazines to get ideas from other teachers. Or if you have a local teachers' association or other opportunities for in-service training, ask for a session on an area that interests you.

Conclusion Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again.

  • What are you doing?
  • Why are you doing it?
  • How effective is it?
  • How are the students responding?
  • How can you do it better?

As a result of your reflection you may decide to do something in a different way, or you may just decide that what you are doing is the best way. And that is what professional development is all about.

Julie Tice, Teacher, Trainer, Writer, British Council Lisbon

This article was first published in 2004

Well organized

Greetings, The steps explained in reflective teaching are quite practical, no matter how many years educators put into their experience, properly guided ideas will definitely enhance how to engage our students, at the end of the day, what matters is how the learning took place in the classroom. and reflect on how i inspired my students to deliver the content, the reflective teaching practice not only helps to get back and analyze, but helps the educator to be more organized, thank you for the wonderful article.

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Wonderful advice

Thank you very much for these suggestions. They are wonderful.

online journal

Reflecting teaching.

Dear Editor, This is a very useful article for English teachers and trainers. Teaching diary is a must for all teachers and trainers.

JVL NARASIMHA RAO

Reflecting on your teaching

Dear Julie,

An excellent article.  Nothing can be more important then self reflection, i.e. looking inwardly to find out what you did, how you did it and how and what you need to do to make it better.  Unfortunately we seldome reflect on ourselves. 

I would like to introduce few simple questions every teacher should ask after completing a lesson:

1. Can I state one thing thet the students took back with them after my lesson?

2. Can I state one thing that I wanted to do but was not able to it becasue of insufficient time?

3. Can I state one thing that I should not have done in this lesson?

4. Can I state one thing that I think I did well?

Answers to these questions will enable the teacher to do better in the future.

           

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Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

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Reflective Teaching

Reflecting on our teaching experiences, from the effectiveness of assignments to the opportunities for student interaction, is key to refining our courses and overall teaching practice. Reflective teaching can also help us gain closure on what may have felt like an especially long and challenging semester.

Four Approaches to Reflective Teaching

The goal of critical self-reflection is to gain an increased awareness of our teaching from different vantage points (Brookfield 1995). Collecting multiple and varied perspectives on our teaching can help inform our intuitions about teaching through an evidence-based understanding of whether students are learning effectively. Stephen Brookfield, in  Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher , proposes four lenses to use when examining and assessing our teaching:

  • The autobiographical.  What do I see as the successes and challenges of the course? What went well, and what could be improved for next time? If I could do X again, how might I do it differently?
  • The students’ eyes.  What do students have to say about what enhanced their learning and what hindered their learning? What recommendations do students have to help improve the course for next time?
  • Our colleagues’ experiences.  What do my colleagues have to say about what went well for them this semester? What was challenging? If my colleagues are teaching similar courses and/or student populations, what are similarities or differences in our experiences? In our assignments?
  • Theoretical literature  What are evidence-based strategies for supporting student learning? What does the research have to say about how students learn best in similar courses? What does the research say about how students are experiencing higher education at this moment in time?

Collectively, these four lenses foster repeat engagement with members of our teaching and learning community, both on campus and the broader scholarly community. For Brookfield, however, the most important step to reflective teaching is to go beyond the collection of feedback (i.e., from self, student, peer, and scholarly work) by strategically adjusting our teaching methods and goals. By habitually reflecting on our practice, documenting changes and noting our progress, then making efforts to iterate again, we become student-centered, flexible, and innovative educators.

Selected Examples of Reflective Teaching Strategies

Reflecting on our teaching, or a colleague’s teaching, inherently starts from a place of subjectivity and self-reported experiences -- How do I, as the instructor, feel class went? What do students think about their learning environment? How do I think my assessments compare to a colleague’s in a similar course? Self-reflection, after all, is foundational to recognizing assumptions and biases in how we design and teach our courses. However, we can adjust our approach to reflection by grounding our thinking and feeling to a concrete classroom artifact or objective observation. The following examples for reflective teaching highlight different ways we can start with evidence.

Teaching Journal.  Teaching journals are a way to document your teaching experience on a daily or weekly basis. After each class, spend about five minutes recording your thoughts on the day’s lesson and interactions with students. What went well? What was challenging? If I could redo something, what would it be and what would I do differently? At the end of the semester, use your reflections to assess your experience as a whole and make informed decisions regarding future instructional changes. Consider these questions from a  2018 CTL Article .

Were your stated learning outcomes well aligned with class activities and assignments? Did student learning and engagement meet your expectations? Any surprises?

Were there course concepts and materials that students struggled with? Are there opportunities to approach teaching these concepts in a new way?

Are there course policies or other campus resources you can add to your syllabus or bCourses site so students have the information from the start?

Did you encounter any new approaches or practices during the semester, perhaps from a colleague or CTL workshop, that can help you save time and energy?

Assignment Wrapper.  The goal of  exam wrappers (link is external)  is to guide students through a review of their learning and testing experience to inform future adjustments to their learning process. Adapt this exercise to structure your review of an assignment or activity.

Reflect on the design of the assignment. How is this assignment designed to help prepare students to achieve one or more stated learning objectives?

Reflect on the implementation of the assignment. Did student learning and engagement meet your expectations? Were there any surprises?

Reflect on how you communicated your expectations to students. Did you explain how this assignment connects to the broader picture of learning in the course? Did you describe what an exemplary submission or deliverable looks like?

Reflection on the experience as a whole. What adjustments might you make to set students up for success or enhance their learning?

Peer Review of Materials.  Find a trusted colleague who teaches a similar course -- similarities may include disciplinary content, course structure, enrollment size, course placement in a curriculum (e.g., introductory or advanced course), and student demographics. Select one assignment, activity, or lecture material (e.g., presentation slides, handouts) to review and gather feedback on. Use this opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges of designing and using this teaching artifact in the context of what is similar between your courses.

Literature Scan of a Similar Assignment, Activity, or Digital Tool.  Select one assignment, activity, or educational technology tool you use in your course. Then, search the literature on education research for articles describing how other instructors use the same teaching method in their courses. Education research explores the conditions under which teaching strategies, such as  active learning techniques ,  values affirmations and social belonging interventions , and  inclusive teaching techniques , impact student learning. Scholars consider both lab and authentic classroom contexts, and explore disciplinary-based teaching strategies. When comparing teaching methods, consider the following questions.

What is similar or different to the design or implementation described in the study and my teaching method?

What findings and takeaways can I generalize, adjust, and apply to my teaching context? 

How might my teaching method build on the author’s findings?

New to education research? Consider starting with CBE-Life Sciences Education’s  repository (link is external)  of annotated peer-reviewed articles to unpack various aspects of an education study.

References and Resources For Further Reading

Bailey, K. M., Curtis, A., and Nunan, D. (2001). Pursuing Professional Development: The Self as Source. Boston: Heinle, Cengage Learning.

Brookfield, Stephen. (1995). Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

“ End-of-the-Semester Reflection from the Teachers Point of View (link is external) ”. Faculty Evaluation and Coaching Department, Academy of Art University.

Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

“ Reflective Teaching (link is external) ”. Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, Yale.

Toven-Lindsday, Brit. (2018). “ No Time Like the Present ”. Center for Teaching and Learning, UC Berkeley.

Weimer, Maryellen. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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Reflective Practices in Education: A Primer for Practitioners

Haleigh machost.

1 Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

Marilyne Stains

Associated data.

Reflective practices in education are widely advocated for and have become important components of professional reviews. The advantages of reflective practices are many; however, the literature often focuses on the benefits to students, rather than the benefits for the educators themselves. Additionally, the extant literature concerning reflective practices in education is laden with conflicting terminology and complex studies, which can inhibit educators’ understanding of reflective practices and prevent their adoption. As such, this Essay serves as a primer for educators beginning reflective practices. It briefly describes the benefits to educators and different classifications and modalities of reflection and examines some of the challenges that educators may encounter.

INTRODUCTION

“Reflection” has become a buzzword in academia and has vast array of implications across fields, disciplines, and subdisciplines. When considering reflection about teaching practices, John Dewey, a psychologist and philosopher who was heavily influential in educational reform, provides a relevant description: reflection is ‘‘the active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” ( Dewey, 1933 , p. 9). The act of reflection in this context is meant to indicate a process , with Dewey highlighting the necessity of active thinking when encountering obstacles and problems. In less philosophical phrasing, reflection entails considering past or present experiences, learning from the outcomes observed, and planning how to better approach similar situations in the future. Consequently, Dewey suggests that educators embark on a journey of continual improvement when engaging in reflective practices. This is in stark contrast to how reflection is used in higher education. For many educators, the only time they engage in reflection is when they are asked to write documents that are used to evaluate whether they should be promoted, receive a raise, or be granted tenure. Reflection, within an evaluation framework, can be counterproductive and prevent meaningful reflections due to perceptions of judgment ( Brookfield, 2017 ).

This gap may result from the particular adaptation of reflections by some academics. The origin of reflective practices lies not in the realm of academia, but rather in professional training. It is often traced back to Donald Schön’s instrumental 1983 work The Reflective Practitioner , which, while aimed at his target audience of nonacademic professionals, has become foundational for reflective practices in teaching ( Munby and Russell, 1989 ).

In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high, hard ground where practitioners can make effective use of research-based theory and technique, and there is a swampy lowland where situations are confusing “messes” incapable of technical solution. The difficulty is that the problems of the high ground, however great their technical interest, are often relatively unimportant to clients or to the larger society, while in the swamp are the problems of greatest human concern. ( Schön, 1983 , p. 42)

Schön’s work on the education of various professionals gained traction, as he diverged from common norms of the time. In particular, he disagreed with separating knowledge and research from practice, and methods from results ( Schön, 1983 ; Newman, 1999 ). In doing so, he advocated for practical as well as technical knowledge, enabling professionals to develop greater competency in the real-world situations they encounter. Research in the ensuing decades focused on both gaining evidence for the effectiveness of reflective practices ( Dervent, 2015 ; Zahid and Khanam, 2019 ) and understanding the obstacles that can prevent reflective practices from being adopted ( Davis, 2003 ; Sturtevant and Wheeler, 2019 ).

This Essay is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of this work for use by education researchers; rather, the goal of this Essay is to provide a guide, grounded in this literature, to inform beginning reflective practitioners about the benefits of reflections, the different types of reflections that one can engage in, practical advice for engaging in reflective practices, and the potential challenges and corresponding solutions when engaging in reflective practices. It is also intended as a resource for professional development facilitators who are interested in infusing reflective practice within their professional development programs.

WHY SHOULD I ENGAGE IN REFLECTIVE PRACTICES?

Perhaps the best place to begin when discussing reflective practices is with the question “Why do people do it?” It is common to conceptualize reflection about teaching situations as a way to help “fix” any problems or issues that present themselves ( Brookfield, 2017 ). However, this view is counterproductive to the overarching goal of reflective practices—to continually improve one’s own efficacy and abilities as an educator. Similar to how there is always a new, more efficient invention to be made, there is always room for improvement by even the most experienced and well-loved educators. People choose to be educators for any number of personal reasons, but often the grounding desire is to help inform, mentor, or guide the next generation. With such a far-reaching aim, educators face many obstacles, and reflective practices are one tool to help mitigate them.

Classrooms are an ever-changing environment. The students change, and with that comes new generational experiences and viewpoints. Updates to technology provide new opportunities for engaging with students and exploring their understanding. New curricula and pedagogical standards from professional organizations, institutions, or departments can fundamentally alter the modes of instruction and the concepts and skills being taught. As described by Brookfield, reflection can act as a “gyroscope,” helping educators stay balanced amid a changing environment ( 2017 , p. 81). Through the process of reflection, practitioners focus on what drives them to teach and their guiding principles, which define how they interact with both their students and their peers. Furthermore, reflective practitioners are deliberately cognizant of the reasoning behind their actions, enabling them to act with more confidence when faced with a sudden or difficult situation ( Brookfield, 2017 ). In this way, reflection can help guide educators through the challenging times they may experience in their careers.

One such obstacle is imposter syndrome, which is all too familiar for many educators ( Brems et al. , 1994 ; Parkman, 2016 ; Collins et al. , 2020 ). It is a sense that, despite all efforts put in—the knowledge gained, the relationships formed, and the lives changed—what one does is never enough and one does not belong. These feelings often lead to a fear of being “discovered as a fraud or non-deserving professional, despite their demonstrated talent and achievements” ( Chrousos and Mentis, 2020 , p. 749). A part of reflective practices that is often overlooked is the consideration of everything that goes well . While it is true that reflective practitioners are aware of areas for improvement in their teaching, it is also true that they acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from good things that happen in their classrooms and in their interactions with students and peers. As such, they are more consciously aware of their victories, even if those victories happen to be small ( Brookfield, 2017 ). That is not to say that reflective practices are a cure-all for those dealing with imposter syndrome, but reflections can be a reminder that their efforts are paying off and that someone, whether it be students, peers, or even the practitioner themselves, is benefiting from their actions. Furthermore, reflecting on difficult situations has the potential for individuals to realize the extent of their influence ( Brookfield, 2017 ).

In a similar vein, reflective practices can help educators realize when certain expectations or cultural norms are out of their direct ability to address. For example, educators cannot be expected to tackle systemic issues such as racism, sexism, and ableism alone. Institutions must complement educators’ efforts through, for example, establishment of support systems for students excluded because of their ethnicity or race and the implementation of data-driven systems, which can inform the institutions’ and educators’ practices. Thus, through reflections, educators can avoid “self-laceration” ( Brookfield, 2017 , p. 86) and feelings of failure when the problems experienced are multifaceted.

In addition to alleviating “self-laceration,” developing reflective practice and reflective practitioners has been identified as one of four dominant change strategies in the literature ( Henderson et al. , 2011 ). Specifically, developing reflective practitioners is identified as a strategy that empowers individual educators to enact change ( Henderson et al. , 2011 ). One avenue for such change comes with identifying practices that are harmful to students. Reflecting on teaching experiences and student interactions can allow educators to focus on things such as whether an explanatory metaphor is accessible to different types of students in the class (e.g., domestic and international students), if any particular group of students do not work well together, and whether the curriculum is accessible for students from varied educational and cultural backgrounds. Thus, through the process of reflection, educators grow in their ability to help their students on a course level, and they are better positioned to advocate on their students’ behalf when making curricular decisions on a departmental or institutional level.

An additional part of reflection is gathering feedback to enable a holistic view of one’s teaching practices. When feedback is given by a trusted peer, this invaluable information can guide chosen teaching methods and ways of explaining new information. When feedback is given by students and that feedback is then acted upon, it demonstrates to the students that their opinions and experiences are taken seriously and fosters a more trusting environment ( Brookfield, 2017 ). Furthermore, when discrepancies arise between the intention of the teacher and the interpretation of the students, reflection also aids practitioners in verbalizing their reasoning. Through reflection, educators would need to consider past experiences, prior knowledge, and beliefs that led to their actions. As such, reflective practitioners are able to have honest and informed discussions with their students who may be confused or unhappy with a particular decision. Explaining this to students not only models the practice of continuous inquiry and of considering one’s actions, but it also allows students to understand the rationale behind decisions they may not personally agree with, fostering a more productive student–teacher relationship ( Brookfield, 2017 ).

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF REFLECTION?

This section aims to summarize and clarify the different ways reflection has been conceptualized in the literature ( Table 1 ). Specifically, reflections have been described based on their timing, depth, and content. Notably, practitioners of reflective practices must utilize multiple types of reflection in order to more effectively improve different aspects of their teaching ( Griffiths and Tann, 1992 ).

The various conceptualizations and associated types of reflections along with examples of guiding questions

Time-Dependent

To understand the time-dependent conceptualization of reflection, we return to Schön (1983 ). He defines two particular concepts—“reflection-in-action” and “reflection-on-action”—which are delineated based on the time that the reflection takes place. Reflection-in-action is characterized as practitioners reflecting while simultaneously completing the relevant action. Reflection-on-action encompasses a practitioner reflecting on a past action, analyzing the different influences, and carefully considering the observed or potential outcomes. Reflection-in-action is perceived as more difficult due to the multiple factors that teachers have to consider at once while also ensuring that the lesson carries on.

Later work built on this initial description of time-dependent reflections. In particular, Loughran renamed the original two timings to make them more intuitive and added one time point ( Loughran, 2002a ). The three categories include: “anticipatory,” “contemporaneous,” and “retrospective,” wherein actions taken, or to be taken, are contemplated before, during, and after an educating experience, respectively. It should be noted that both Loughran’s and Schön’s models are able to function in tandem with the depth- or content-based understandings of reflections, which are described in the next sections.

Depth of Reflections

Conceptualizing reflection in terms of depth has a long history in the literature (see Section 5.1 in the Supplemental Material for a historical view of the depth-based model of reflections). Thankfully, Larrivee (2008a) designed a depth-classification system that encompasses an array of terminologies and explanations pre-existing in the literature. This classification includes a progression in reflective practices across four levels: “pre-reflection,” “surface,” “pedagogical,” and “critical reflection.”

During the pre-reflection stage, educators do not engage in reflections. They are functioning in “survival mode” ( Larrivee, 2008a , p. 350; Campoy, 2010 , p. 17), reacting automatically to situations without considering alternatives and the impacts on the students ( Larrivee, 2008a ; Campoy, 2010 ). At this stage, educators may feel little agency, consider themselves the victims of coincidental circumstances, or attribute the ownership of problems to others such as their students, rather than themselves ( Larrivee, 2008a ; Campoy, 2010 ). They are unlikely to question the status quo, thereby failing to consider and adapt to the needs of the various learners in their classrooms ( Larrivee, 2008a ; Campoy, 2010 ). While the description of educators at this level is non-ideal, educators at the pre-reflection level are not ill intended. However, the pre-reflective level is present among practitioners, as evidenced in a 2015 study investigating 140 English as a Foreign Language educators and a 2010 analysis of collected student reflections ( Campoy, 2010 ; Ansarin et al. , 2015 ). The presence of pre-reflective educators is also readily apparent in the authors’ ongoing research. As such, being aware of the pre-reflection stage is necessary for beginning practitioners, and this knowledge is perhaps most useful for designers of professional development programs.

The first true level of reflection is surface reflection. At this level, educators are concerned about achieving a specific goal, such as high scores on standardized tests. However, these goals are only approached through conforming to departmental norms, evidence from their own experiences, or otherwise well-established practices ( Larrivee, 2008a ). In other words, educators at this level question whether the specific pedagogical practices will achieve their goals, but they do not consider any new or nontraditional pedagogical practices or question the current educational policies ( Campoy, 2010 ). Educators’ reflections are grounded in personal assumptions and influenced by individuals’ unexamined beliefs and unconscious biases.

At the pedagogical level, educators “reflect on educational goals, the theories underlying approaches, and the connections between theoretical principles and practice.” ( Larrivee, 2008a , p. 343). At this level, educators also consider their own belief systems and how those systems relate to their practices and explore the problem from different perspectives. A representative scenario at this level includes: teachers contemplating their various teaching methods and considering their observed outcomes in student comprehension, alternative viewpoints, and also the current evidence-based research in education. Subsequently, they alter (or maintain) their previous teaching practices to benefit the students. In doing so, more consideration is given to possible factors than in surface reflection. This category is quite broad due to the various definitions present in the literature ( Larrivee, 2008a ). However, there is a common emphasis on the theory behind teaching practices, ensuring that practice matches theory, and the student outcomes of enacted teaching practices ( Larrivee, 2008a ).

The last level of reflection categorized by Larrivee is critical reflection, wherein educators consider the ethical, moral, and political ramifications of who they are and what they are teaching to their students ( Larrivee, 2008a ). An approachable way of thinking about critical reflection is that the practitioners are challenging their assumptions about what is taught and how students learn. In doing so, educators evaluate their own views, assertions, and assumptions about teaching, with attention paid to how such beliefs impact students both as learners and as individuals ( Larrivee, 2005 , 2008b ). Through practicing critical reflection, societal issues that affect teaching can be uncovered, personal views become evidence based rather than grounded in assumptions, and educators are better able to help a diverse student population.

Larrivee used this classification to create a tool for measuring the reflectivity of teachers (see Section 4.1 of the Supplemental Material).

Content of Reflections

The third type of reflection is one in which what is being reflected on is the defining feature. One such example is Valli’s five types of reflection ( 1997 ): “technical reflection,” “reflection-in and on-action,” “deliberative reflection,” “personalistic reflection,” and “critical reflection.” Note that Valli’s conceptions of the two types of reflection—reflection-in and on-action, and critical reflection—are congruent with the descriptions provided in the Time-Dependent and Depth sections of this Essay , respectively, and will thus not be detailed in this section.

In a technical reflection, educators evaluate their instructional practices in light of the findings from the research on teaching and learning ( Valli, 1997 ). The quality of this type of reflection is based on the educators’ knowledge of this body of work and the extent to which their teaching practices adhere to it. For example, educators would consider whether they are providing enough opportunities for their students to explain their reasoning to one another during class. This type of reflection does not focus on broader topics such as the structure and content of the curriculum or issues of equity.

Deliberative reflection encompasses “a whole range of teaching concerns, including students, the curriculum, instructional strategies, the rules and organization of the classroom” ( Valli, 1997 , p. 75). In this case, “deliberative” comes from the practitioners having to debate various external viewpoints and perspectives or research that maybe be in opposition. As such, they have an internal deliberation when deciding on the best actions for their specific teaching situations. The quality of the reflection is based on the educators’ ability to evaluate the various perspectives and provide sound reasoning for their decisions.

Personalistic reflection involves educators’ personal growth as well as the individual relationships they have with their students. Educators engaged in this type of reflection thoughtfully explore the relationships between their personal and professional goals and consider the various facets of students’ lives with the overarching aim of providing the best experience. The quality of the reflection is based on an educator’s ability to empathize.

To manage the limitations of each type of reflections, Valli recommended that reflective practitioners not focus solely on a specific type of reflection, but rather engage with multiple types of reflections, as each addresses different questions. It is important to note that some types of reflections may be prerequisite to others and that some may be more important than others; for example, Valli stated that critical reflections are more valuable than technical reflections, as they address the important issues of justice. The order of Valli’s types of reflection provided in Table 1 reflects her judgment on the importance of the questions that each type of reflection addresses.

HOW CAN I ENGAGE IN REFLECTION?

Larrivee suggested that there is not a prescribed strategy to becoming a reflective practitioner but that there are three practices that are necessary: 1) carving time out for reflection, 2) constantly problem solving, and 3) questioning the status quo ( Larrivee, 2000 ). This section of the Essay provides a buffet of topics for consideration and methods of organization that support these three practices. This section is intended to assist educators in identifying their preferred mode of reflection and to provide ideas for professional development facilitators to explicitly infuse reflective practices in their programs.

For educators who are new to reflective practices, it is useful to view the methods presented as “transforming what we are already doing, first and foremost by becoming more aware of ourselves, others, and the world within which we live” ( Rodgers and Laboskey, 2016 , p. 101) rather than as a complete reformation of current methods.

Focus of the Reflection: Critical Incident

When practicing reflection, a critical incident may be identified or presented in order to ignite the initial reflection or to foster deeper thought by practitioners ( Tripp, 2011 ). Critical incidents are particular situations that become the focus of reflections. Farrell described critical incidents in education as unplanned events that hold the potential to highlight misconceptions and foster greater and newer understanding about teaching and learning ( 2008 ). These can be situations ranging from students not understanding a foundational concept from a previous course to considering how to navigate the analysis of a data set that includes cultural background and socioeconomic status.

Critical incidents are used, because meaningful reflection is often a result of educators experiencing a problem or some form of cognitive dissonance concerning teaching practices and approaches to their students ( Lee, 2005 ). Therefore, it is most effective to combine techniques, which are outlined later in this section, with a critical incident to force practitioners into a new and difficult positions relating to education. Larrivee details that a sense of “uncertainty, dissonance, dilemma, problem, or conflict” is extremely valuable to personal reflection and growth ( 2008b , p. 93). Thus, unsettling experiences encourage changes to action far more than reflecting on typical teaching/learning interactions. This is an inherently uncomfortable experience for the practitioner, as feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty, anger, and self- or peer-rejection can come to the surface ( Larrivee, 2008b ). Yet, it is when educators are in an uncomfortable position that they are best able to challenge their learned assertions about what they are teaching and how they are supporting their students’ learning. This requires a conscious effort on the part of the educator. Humans tend to function automatically based on their past experiences and ingrained beliefs. This results in certain aspects of events being ignored while others become the driving force behind reactions. In a sense, humans have a “filter system” that can unconsciously eliminate the most effective course of action; this results in humans functioning in a cycle in which current, unquestioned beliefs determine which data and experiences are given attention ( Larrivee, 2000 , p. 295).

Critical incidents highlight any dissonance present in one’s actions, enabling practitioners to tackle social, ethical, political, and pedagogical issues that may be systemic to their departments, their fields, or their cultures. Critical incidents foster critical reflection (under the depth- and content-based models) even in novice teachers ( Pultorak, 1996 ; Griffin, 2003 ). It is because of the difficulty and uncertainty posed by critical incidents that they are widely promoted as an invaluable aspect of reflective practices in education. Therefore, the analysis of critical incidents, whether they are case studies or theoretical examples, has been used in educating both pre-service ( Griffin, 2003 ; Harrison and Lee, 2011 ) and current educators ( Benoit, 2013 ).

Scaffoldings Promoting Reflections

Once a critical incident has been identified, the next step is structuring the reflection itself. Several scaffolding models exist in the literature and are described in Section 3 of the Supplemental Material. As reflections are inherently personal, educators should use the scaffolding that works best for them. Two scaffoldings that have been found to be useful in developing reflective practices are Bain’s 5R and Gibbs’s reflective cycle.

Bain et al. (2002) created the 5R framework to support the development of pre-service teachers into reflective practitioners. The framework includes the following five steps ( Bain et al. , 2002 ):

  • Reporting involves considering a particular experience and the contextual factors that surround it.
  • Responding is when the individual practitioners verbalize their feelings, thoughts, and other reactions that they had in response to the situation.
  • Relating is defined as teachers making connections between what occurred recently and their previously obtained knowledge and skill base.
  • Reasoning then encourages the practitioners to consider the foundational concepts and theories, as well as other factors that they believe to be significant, in an effort to understand why a certain outcome was achieved or observed.
  • Finally, reconstructing is when the teachers take their explanations and uses them to guide future teaching methods, either to encourage a similar result or to foster a different outcome.

This framework facilitates an understanding of what is meant by and required for reflective practices. For a full explanation of Bain’s scaffolding and associated resources, see Sections 1.2 and 3.3 in the Supplemental Material.

A popular scaffolding for promoting reflective practices is the reflective learning cycle described by Gibbs (1988) . This cycle for reflection has been extensively applied in teacher preparation programs and training of health professionals ( Husebø et al. , 2015 ; Ardian et al. , 2019 ; Markkanen et al. , 2020 ). The cycle consists of six stages:

  • Description: The practitioner first describes the situation to be reflected on in detail.
  • Feelings: The practitioner then explores their feelings and thoughts processes during the situation.
  • Evaluation: The practitioner identifies what went well and what went wrong.
  • Analysis: The practitioner makes sense of the situation by exploring why certain things went well while others did not.
  • Conclusions: The practitioner summarizes what they learned from their analysis of the situation.
  • Personal action plans: The practitioner develops a plan for what they would do in a similar situation in the future and what other steps they need to take based on what they learn (e.g., gain some new skills or knowledge).

For a full explanation of Gibbs’s scaffolding and associated resources, see Sections 1.3 and 3.4 in the Supplemental Material.

We see these two models as complementary and have formulated a proposed scaffolding for reflection by combining the two models. In Table 2 , we provide a short description of each step and examples of reflective statements. The full scaffolding is provided in Section 3.6 of the Supplemental Material.

Proposed scaffolds for engaging in reflective practices a

a An expanded version is provided in Section 3.6 of the Supplemental Material.

Even with the many benefits of these scaffolds, educators must keep in mind the different aspects and levels of reflection that should be considered. Especially when striving for higher levels of reflection, the cultural, historical, and political contexts must be considered in conjunction with teaching practices for such complex topics to affect change ( Campoy, 2010 ). For instance, if equity and effectiveness of methods are not contemplated, there is no direct thought about how to then improve those aspects of practice.

Modalities for Reflections

The different scaffolds can be implemented in a wide variety of practices ( Table 3 ). Of all the various methods of reflection, reflective writing is perhaps the most often taught method, and evidence has shown that it is a deeply personal practice ( Greiman and Covington, 2007 ). Unfortunately, many do not continue with reflective writing after a seminar or course has concluded ( Jindal‐Snape and Holmes, 2009 ). This may be due to the concern of time required for the physical act of writing. In fact, one of the essential practices for engaging in effective reflections is creating a space and time for personal, solitary reflection ( Larrivee, 2000 ); this is partially due to the involvement of “feelings of frustration, insecurity, and rejection” as “taking solitary time helps teachers come to accept that such feelings are a natural part of the change process” while being in a safe environment ( Larrivee, 2000 , p. 297). It is important to note that reflective writing is not limited to physically writing in a journal or typing into a private document; placing such a limitation may contribute to the practice being dropped, whereas a push for different forms of reflection will keep educators in practice ( Dyment and O'Connell, 2014 ). Reflective writings can include documents such as case notes ( Jindal‐Snape and Holmes, 2009 ), reviewing detailed lesson plans ( Posthuma, 2012 ), and even blogging ( Alirio Insuasty and Zambrano Castillo, 2010 ; van Wyk, 2013 ; Garza and Smith, 2015 ).

Common methods to engage in reflective practices

The creation of a blog or other online medium can help foster reflection. In addition to fostering reflection via the act of writing on an individual level, this online form of reflective writing has several advantages. One such benefit is the readily facilitated communication and collaboration between peers, either through directly commenting on a blog post or through blog group discussions ( Alirio Insuasty and Zambrano Castillo, 2010 ; van Wyk, 2013 ; Garza and Smith, 2015 ). “The challenge and support gained through the collaborative process is important for helping clarify beliefs and in gaining the courage to pursue beliefs” ( Larrivee, 2008b , p. 95). By allowing other teachers to comment on published journal entries, a mediator role can be filled by someone who has the desired expertise but may be geographically distant. By this same logic, blogs have the great potential to aid teachers who themselves are geographically isolated.

Verbal reflections through video journaling (vlogs) follows the same general methods as writing. This method has the potential to be less time intensive ( Clarke, 2009 ), which may lower one of the barriers facing practitioners. Greiman and Covington (2007) identified verbal reflection as one of the three preferred modalities of reflection by student teachers. By recording their verbal contemplations and reflections, practitioners can review their old thoughts about different course materials, enabling them to adjust their actions based on reflections made when observations were fresh in their mind. Students learning reflective practices also noted that recorded videos convey people’s emotions and body language—reaching a complexity that is not achievable with plain text or audio ( Clarke, 2009 ).

If writing or video journaling is not appealing, another method to facilitate reflective practices is that of making video recordings of teaching experiences in vivo. This differs from vlogs, which are recorded after the teaching experiences. A small longitudinal qualitative study indicated that the video recordings allowed participants to be less self-critical and to identify effective strategies they were employing ( Jindal‐Snape and Holmes, 2009 ). Additionally, beginning teachers found the most value in videotaping their teaching as compared with electronic portfolios and online discussions ( Romano and Schwartz, 2005 ). By recording their teaching practices, practitioners can use a number of clearly outlined self- and peer-assessments, as detailed in Section 4 of the Supplemental Material. However, it should be noted that all three technology-driven methods used in the study by Romano and Schwartz (2005) were helpful for the participants, and as reflective practices are inherently personal, many methods should be considered by practitioners new to purposeful reflection.

Group efforts, such as group discussions or community meetings, can foster reflective thinking, thereby encouraging reflective practices. “The checks and balances of peers’ and critical friends’ perspectives can help developing teachers recognize when they may be devaluing information or using self-confirming reasoning, weighing evidence with a predisposition to confirm a belief or theory, rather than considering alternative theories that are equally plausible” ( Larrivee, 2008b , p. 94). These benefits are essential to help educators reach the higher levels of reflection (i.e., pedagogical reflection and critical reflection), as it can be difficult to think of completely new viewpoints on one’s own, especially when educators are considering the needs of diverse students yet only have their own experiences to draw upon. Henderson et. al . (2011) review of the literature found that successful reports of developing reflective practitioners as a strategy for change had two commonalities. One of these was the presence of either a community where experiences are shared ( Gess-Newsome et al. , 2003 ; Henderson et al. , 2011 ) or of an additional participant providing feedback to the educator ( Penny and Coe, 2004 ; McShannon and Hynes, 2005 ; Henderson et al. , 2011 ). The second commonality was the presence of support by a change agent ( Hubball et al. , 2005 ; Henderson et al. , 2011 ), which is far more context reliant.

Even in the absence of change agent support, peer observation can be implemented as a tool for establishing sound reflective practices. This can be accomplished through informal observations followed by an honest discussion. It is vital for the correct mindset to be adopted during such a mediation session, as the point of reflection is in assessing the extent to which practitioners’ methods allow them to achieve their goals for student learning. This cannot be done in an environment where constructive feedback is seen as a personal critique. For example, it was found that peers who simply accepted one another’s practices out of fear of damaging their relationships did not benefit from peer observation and feedback ( Manouchehri, 2001 ); however, an initially resistant observer was able to provide valuable feedback after being prompted by the other participant ( Manouchehri, 2001 ). One approach to ensure the feedback promotes reflections is for the observer and participant to meet beforehand and have a conversation about areas on which to focus feedback. The follow-up conversation focuses first on these areas and can be expanded afterward to other aspects of the teaching that the observer noticed. Observation protocols (provided in Section 4.2 in the Supplemental Material) can also be employed in these settings to facilitate the focus of the reflection.

For those interested in assessing their own or another’s reflection, Section 4 in the Supplemental Material will be helpful, as it highlights different tools that have been shown to be effective and are adaptable to different situations.

WHAT BARRIERS MIGHT I FACE?

It is typical for educators who are introducing new practices in their teaching to experience challenges both at the personal and contextual levels ( Sturtevant and Wheeler, 2019 ). In this section, we address the personal and contextual barriers that one may encounter when engaging in reflective practices and provide advice and recommendations to help address these barriers. We also aim to highlight that the difficulties faced are commonly shared by practitioners embarking on the complex journey of becoming reflective educators.

Personal Barriers

Professional development facilitators who are interested in supporting their participants’ growth as reflective practitioners will need to consider: 1) the misunderstandings that practitioners may have about reflections and 2) the need to clearly articulate the purpose and nature of reflective practices. Simply asking practitioners to reflect will not lead to desirable results ( Loughran, 2002b ). Even if the rationale and intent is communicated, there is also the pitfall of oversimplification. Practitioners may stop before the high levels of reflection (e.g., critical reflection) are reached due to a lack of in-depth understanding of reflective practices ( Thompson and Pascal, 2012 ). Even if the goals are understood and practitioners intend to evaluate their teaching practices on the critical level, there can still be confusion about what reflective practices require from practitioners. The theory of reflective practices may be grasped, but it is not adequately integrated into how practitioners approach teaching ( Thompson and Pascal, 2012 ). We hope that this Essay and associated Supplemental Material provide a meaningful resource to help alleviate this challenge.

A concern often raised is that the level of critical reflection is not being reached ( Ostorga, 2006 ; Larrivee, 2008a ). Considering the impacts that student–teacher interactions have on students beyond the classroom is always a crucial part of being an educator. In terms of practicality, situations being considered may not be conducive to this type of reflection. Consider an educator who, after a formative assessment, realizes that students, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or gender, did not grasp a foundational topic that is required for the rest of the course. In such a case, it is prudent to consider how the information was taught and to change instructional methods to adhere to research-based educational practices. If the information was presented in a lecture-only setting, implementing aspects of engagement, exploration, and elaboration on the subject by the students can increase understanding ( Eisenkraft, 2003 ). If the only interactions were student–teacher based and all work was completed individually, the incorporation of student groups could result in a deeper understanding of the material by having students act as teachers or by presenting students with alternative way of approaching problems (e.g., Michaelsen et al. , 1996 ). Both of these instructional changes are examples that can result from pedagogical reflection and are likely to have a positive impact on the students. As such, educators who practice any level of reflection should be applauded. The perseverance and dedication of practitioners cannot be undervalued, even if their circumstances lead to fewer instances of critical reflection. We suggest that communities of practice such as faculty learning communities, scholarship of teaching and learning organizations, or professional development programs are excellent avenues to support educators ( Baker et al. , 2014 ; Bathgate et al. , 2019 ; Yik et al. , 2022a , b ), including in the development of knowledge and skills required to reach critical reflections. For example, facilitators of these communities and programs can intentionally develop scaffolding and exercises wherein participants consider whether the deadlines and nature of assignments are equitable to all students in their courses. Professional development facilitators are strongly encouraged to be explicit about the benefits to individual practitioners concomitantly with the benefits to students (see Section 2 in the Supplemental Material), as benefits to practitioners are too often ignored yet comprise a large portion of the reasoning behind reflective practices.

At a practitioner’s level, the time requirement for participating in reflective practices is viewed as a major obstacle, and it would be disingenuous to discount this extensive barrier ( Greiman and Covington, 2007 ). Reflective practices do take time, especially when done well and with depth. However, we argue that engagement in reflective practice early on can help educators become more effective with the limited time they do have ( Brookfield, 2017 ). As educators engage in reflective practices, they become more aware of their reasoning, their teaching practices, the effectiveness of said practices, and whether their actions are providing them with the outcomes they desire ( Thompson and Pascal, 2012 ). Therefore, they are able to quickly and effectively troubleshoot challenges they encounter, increasing the learning experiences for their students. Finally, we argue that the consistent engagement in reflective practices can significantly facilitate and expedite the writing of documents necessary for annual evaluations and promotions. These documents often require a statement in which educators must evaluate their instructional strategies and their impact on students. A reflective practitioner would have a trail of documents that can easily be leveraged to write such statement.

Contextual Factors

Environmental influences have the potential to bring reflective practices to a grinding halt. A paradigm shift that must occur to foster reflective teacher: that of changing the teacher’s role from a knowledge expert to a “pedagogic expert” ( Day, 1993 ). As with any change of this magnitude, support is necessary across all levels of implementation and practitioners to facilitate positive change. Cole (1997) made two observations that encapsulate how institutions can prevent the implementation of reflective practices: first, many educators who engage in reflective practices do so secretly. Second, reflections are not valued in academic communities despite surface-level promotions for such teaching practices; institutions promote evidence-based teaching practices, including reflection, yet instructors’ abilities as educators do not largely factor into promotions, raises, and tenure ( Brownell and Tanner, 2012 ; Johnson et al. , 2018 ). The desire for educators to focus on their teaching can become superficial, with grants and publications mattering more than the results of student–teacher interactions ( Cole, 1997 ; Michael, 2007 ).

Even when teaching itself is valued, the act of changing teaching methods can be resisted and have consequences. Larrivee’s (2000) statement exemplifies this persistent issue:

Critically reflective teachers also need to develop measures of tactical astuteness that will enable them to take a contrary stand and not have their voices dismissed. One way to keep from committing cultural suicide is to build prior alliances both within and outside the institution by taking on tasks that demonstrate school loyalty and build a reputation of commitment. Against a history of organizational contributions, a teacher is better positioned to challenge current practices and is less readily discounted. (p. 298)

The notion that damage control must be a part of practicing reflective teaching is indicative of a system that is historically opposed to the implementation of critical reflection ( Larrivee, 2000 ). We view this as disheartening, as the goal of teaching should be to best educate one’s students. Even as reflective practices in teaching are slowly becoming more mainstream, contextual and on-site influences still have a profound impact on how teachers approach their profession ( Smagorinsky, 2015 ). There must be a widespread, internal push for change within departments and institutions for reflective practices to be easily and readily adopted.

The adoption of reflective practices must be done in a way that does not negate its benefits. For example, Galea (2012) highlights the negative effects of routinizing or systematizing this extremely individual and circumstance-based method (e.g., identification of specific areas to focus on, standardized timing and frequency of reflections). In doing so, the systems that purportedly support teachers using reflection remove their ability to think of creative solutions, limit their ability to develop as teachers, and can prevent an adequate response to how the students are functioning in the learning environment ( Tan, 2008 ). Effective reflection can be stifled when reflections are part of educators’ evaluations for contract renewal, funding opportunities, and promotions and tenure. Reflective practices are inherently vulnerable, as they involve both being critical of oneself and taking responsibility for personal actions ( Larrivee, 2008b ). Being open about areas for improvement is extremely difficult when it has such potential negative impacts on one’s career. However, embarking on honest reflection privately, or with trusted peers and mentors, can be done separately from what is presented for evaluation. We argue that reflections can support the writing of documents to be considered for evaluation, as these documents often request the educators to describe the evolution of their teaching and its impact on students. Throughout course terms, reflections conducted privately can provide concreate ideas for how to frame an evaluation document. We argue that administrators, department chairs, and members of tenure committees should be explicit with their educators about the advantages of reflective practices in preparing evaluative documents focused on teaching.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Reflective practices are widely advocated for in academic circles, and many teaching courses and seminars include information regarding different methods of reflection. This short introduction intends to provide interested educators with a platform to begin reflective practices. Common methods presented may appeal to an array of educators, and various self- and peer-assessment tools are highlighted in Section 4 in the Supplemental Material. Reflective practices are a process and a time- and energy-intensive, but extremely valuable tool for educators when implemented with fidelity. Therefore, reflection is vital for efficacy as an educator and a requirement for educators to advance their lifelong journeys as learners.

To conclude, we thought the simple metaphor provided by Thomas Farrell best encapsulates our thoughts on reflective practices within the context of teaching: Reflective practices are “a compass of sorts to guide teachers when they may be seeking direction as to what they are doing in their classrooms. The metaphor of reflection as a compass enables teachers to stop, look, and discover where they are at that moment and then decide where they want to go (professionally) in the future” ( Farrell, 2012 , p. 7).

Supplementary Material

Acknowledgments.

We would like to thank Annika Kraft, Jherian Mitchell-Jones, Emily Kable, Dr. Emily Atieh, Dr. Brandon Yik, Dr. Ying Wang, and Dr. Lu Shi for their constructive feedback on previous versions of this article. This material is based upon work supported by NSF 2142045. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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reflective essay on teaching strategies

What Is Reflective Teaching and Why Is It Important?

Gerald smith.

  • June 11, 2022

reflective teaching

If you feel that your teaching is becoming a bit stale or you’re unsure of a lesson’s effectiveness, reflective teaching is the best way to regain your confidence and interest in ESL education. Let’s take a closer look at what reflective teaching entails, why it’s important, and how you can implement reflective practices in your career.

Reflective teaching is covered in detail in the IDELTOnline™ course, Bridge’s most advanced professional TEFL certification, which can be used as a pathway to an MA TESOL at more than 1,600 universities.

What is Reflective Teaching?

Reflective teaching is a teacher’s practice of thinking, writing, and/or speaking about their lessons and their teaching methods and approaches.

It’s easy for teachers to get into a rut while teaching, where it feels like they’re delivering lessons on autopilot. Reflective teaching is a way to break out of that rut and become the best teacher you can be.

In his essay, “Reflective Practice for Language Teachers,” Thomas Farrell writes, “Reflective practice occurs, then, when teachers consciously take on the role of reflective practitioner and subject their own beliefs about teaching and learning to critical analysis, take full responsibility for their actions in the classroom, and continue to improve their teaching practice.”

Want to read the entire essay and get a more in-depth look at reflective teaching? Take the graduate-level IDELTOnline™ course.

Teachers participate in a TEFL workshop.

Why is Reflective Teaching Important?

“Teachers who engage in reflective practice can develop a deeper understanding of their teaching, assess their professional growth, develop informed decision-making skills, and become proactive and confident in their teaching.” -Farrell

It improves your lesson plans

One of the main benefits of reflective teaching is that it helps you to become a better teacher who engages their students more and consistently improves their lesson plans .

By analyzing different aspects of lessons like teacher talking time or student collaboration, you can measure your success.

For example, if you remember that students weren’t engaged during an activity, you can analyze the reasons why. Maybe you didn’t set a clear context or you overexplained and slowed down student discovery. Or, maybe it didn’t have anything to do with your planning, and the students simply partied the previous night and didn’t want to discuss the differences between the present perfect and past simple.

Whatever the reason, reflective teaching can help you think of a solution.

It can help you break out of a teaching rut

The more you teach, the easier it is to get into a teaching rut. You reuse the same tried and tested activities, you tell the same old anecdotes, and you recycle the same tired grammar explanations.

While reusing activities is great, you need to make sure you’re not doing something that feels boring to you. When you’re not having fun, you can’t expect your students to have fun.

Farrell writes, “If teachers engage in reflective practice they can avoid such burnout because they take the time to stop and think about what is happening in their practice to make sense of it so that they can learn from their experiences rather than mindlessly repeat them year after year.”

Reflective teaching gets you to think about how to modify activities and lesson plans so they’re fresh and interesting for both you and your students.

tefl teacher

It inspires you to try new things

When materials like ELT course book activities start to get boring, it’s time to try something new.

Online, there are tons of resources for up-to-date lesson plans. Personal favorites are Onestopenglish and TeachThis.com , but there are hundreds more, some free and some paid.

Another great way to try new things is to collaborate with a fellow teacher. This is easy when working at a language school, but you can also do this online through Facebook groups and Linkedin. Teachers even share lesson plans through Twitter.

It’s part of continuing professional development

Continuing professional development comes in many forms, such as Specialized TEFL/TESOL courses or Micro-credentials that offer targeted training. Reflective teaching is also an effective way to continue developing and expanding your teaching skills throughout your career.

While reflecting on your teaching, you can also think back to training from TEFL courses you’ve already taken and see if you’re fully utilizing what you studied in your online TEFL certification lessons.

Learn more about professional development for EFL teachers.

It provides opportunities to share your experience

Posting your teaching reflections in Facebook groups or on Linkedin helps start conversations around best teaching practices .

You’ll be surprised to see how many teachers have had the same experiences as you or will have suggestions on how to teach in new ways.

This not only allows you to offer and receive great feedback but also builds your network or community of teachers .

See the ways that the IDELTOnline™ sets you apart as a teacher.

What are the characteristics of reflective teaching?

Although reflective teaching can take many forms, there are a few characteristics that appear throughout all types of reflective practices:

  • Reflective teaching notes what happens in the classroom, why it happens, and how it can be improved.
  • If you are practicing reflective teaching, it’s rare that you will teach the same lesson again in the exact same way because reflective teaching challenges you. You’ll need to critique yourself and your go-to lesson plans.
  • Although many teachers write their reflections down, not all reflective teaching needs to be written. Many teachers, instead, choose to speak about their lessons with a colleague or mentor, or what Farrell calls a “Critical Friend.”
  • Reflective teaching is collaborative, often involving a head teacher or a colleague.
  • Reflecting on and speaking about how your lessons go often leads to helpful insights.

teachers studying in class

What are some examples of reflective teaching?

Some ways of practicing reflective teaching include:

  • Teaching journals: Write down classroom reflections in a journal.
  • Classroom observations: Be observed either by a mentor or by recording the lesson and rewatching it yourself.
  • Critical friends: Speak about your classes with a friend who can offer constructive criticism.
  • Action research: Research something you struggle with, and maybe even take a course to improve specific teaching skills .
  • Online groups: Teachers actively post online about reflective teaching in teacher development groups like the Bridge Teaching English Online Facebook Group . Posting online helps teachers get more recognition in the industry as well as organize their reflections.
  • Blogs: Many teachers choose to share their reflections by creating their own EFL blogs . For example, Rachel Tsateri, an EL teacher and writer, published a reflective post on her teacher talking time (TTT) on her website, The TEFL Zone . Because Rachel read a lot of the literature around TTT, she was also engaging in action research, a rather academic but effective approach to reflective teaching.
  • Teacher beliefs: Continue to develop and verbalize your own beliefs about what makes good teaching. Not sure where to start with your teaching beliefs? Learn about crafting an ESL philosophy of teaching statement.

Try different methods to find the right one for you. Journaling is an easy first step, but if you’re a more social teacher, you might prefer working with a critical friend or a teacher development group.

Teaching, a lot like learning, is a journey. No one becomes a great teacher overnight, so don’t be too hard on yourself when a lesson doesn’t go well. Instead, think critically about how you teach so you can continue to improve your students’ learning experiences and grow in your profession.

Want to learn more about reflective teaching and other best TEFL practices covered in the IDELTOnline™ course? Take a look at what this certification entails and whether it’s right for you.

reflective essay on teaching strategies

Gerald Smith is an EL teacher, journalist and occasional poet. Originally from Texas, he now lives on a houseboat in Glasgow, Scotland with his partner and their two kittens.

Books on bookshelf

Questions for Reflective Essays on Teaching

You may wish to consider some of the following issues as you think about writing a reflective essay on your teaching. We have grouped these questions into three subgroups: questions about your discipline and your research, questions about your student learning objectives, and questions about your teaching. These questions are not a template designed to produce a formulaic reflective essay. Select the ones which most effectively stimulate your thinking about your teaching, transform or adopt these questions, or create your own questions. Finally, while reflective essays should address the broad teaching issues which are fundamental to your teaching, you might also consider concentrating upon a single course.

Discipline and Research

  • Think about your discipline as a lens or a window onto a given body of material, ideas, or texts. What problem, issue, or question first animated the construction of that lens? Do those same issues continue to animate it today? Think about the historical origins of your discipline, and its evolution as a field of study.
  • What first captured your interest in your discipline? What now engages your attention about that discipline (i.e., what is your current research)? Think about the origins of your entry into your field of study, and about the transformations which your thought has undergone to lead you to your present interests.
  • Under what broad problem, issue, or question would you subsume your current or most recent research projects and interests? How might that same problem, issue, or question have some impact on the lives, interests, or futures of your students? What kinds of texts or course materials might help you to demonstrate the relationship of your work and your discipline to your students?

Student Learning

  • What important skills, abilities, theories or ideas will your discipline help students to develop or obtain? How will those skills or that knowledge help your students solve problems they may encounter, resolve difficult issues or choices with which they are confronted, or appreciate important–and perhaps otherwise neglected–dimensions of their lives and minds?
  • How–if at all–do you communicate the value of your disciplinary lens, and the kind of research you pursue, to your students?
  • What do you want your students to be able to do as a result of taking a course with you? Recall? Synthesize? Analyze? Interpret? Apply? Think both across all of your courses and within individual courses.
  • What abstract reasoning skills will your students need to accomplish these objectives?
  • How will you and your students best understand the nature of their learning, its progress, the obstacles it faces.

Teaching Practices and Reflections

  • How do you communicate to your students what you expect them to know and do as a result of having taken your course?
  • What teaching strategies do you use in the classroom–i.e., discussion, lecture, case studies, etc.–in order to foster the learning goals you have set for your students? How do you teach your students the abstract reasoning skills necessary for the learning you want them to do?
  • How do your course materials, assignments, and exams contribute to fostering student learning?
  • How do you measure student learning in your courses? How do you measure your own progress in helping students achieve the learning objectives you have set for them?
  • How do you know whether your efforts to foster student learning have helped or hurt? Stimulated unintended, and perhaps undesirable, results? Have students learned despite you?

IMAGES

  1. (PDF) A STUDY OF REFLECTIVE PRACTICE AND ITS ROLE FOR TEACHERS

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  2. Write My Essay For Me: Reflective essay on classroom management

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  3. Student teaching reflection

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  4. Reflective Teaching Statement

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  5. How to Write a Reflective Essay

    reflective essay on teaching strategies

  6. (PDF) Reflective Essay on Learning and Teaching

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VIDEO

  1. October 5, 2023

  2. Essay Reflective 3

  3. Reflective teaching/ inclusive education / b.ed second year

  4. Reflective Essay #shorts #essay #english #learnenglish #essaywriting #writing

  5. Reflective Essay Topic Ideas

  6. REFLECTIVE TEACHING

COMMENTS

  1. Reflective Teaching as a Strategy for Effective Instruction

    Abstract. The challenges of 21st century skills require equipping children with essential dispositions and reflective skills as relevant dimension of education. Reflection is a valuable skill that ...

  2. PDF A Reflection about Teaching and Learning

    Teaching Philosophy Statement: A Reflection about Teaching and Learning Debra Burns Melican. My role as a teacher is to open the door to knowledge and critical thinking as wide as needed for all to enter. While I recognize that self-direction is an important tool for learning that works well for some students, I also recognize that other ...

  3. PDF Reflective Practice in Teacher Education: Issues, Challenges, and

    after gaining a teaching experience (reflection-on-action), but it can also take place during the process of teaching (reflection-in-action). According to Schön, teachers make decisions about their future teaching experience based on their understanding of their previous experiences. These two notions have been a foundation for research on

  4. Reflecting on Teaching Practice

    Overview. Reflection is an integral part of the teaching process. School activities in and outside the classroom create a natural environment for reflective teaching. Professional experience, healthy self-awareness, and genuine care for students and colleagues help teachers to reflect effectively. Reflective practices consist of in-the-moment ...

  5. Developing a reflective teaching practice

    Developing a reflective teaching practice. Our university is built on a commitment to using the power of discovery, creativity, and analytical thinking to solve challenges, including those we encounter in the process of teaching. While consulting the scholarship of teaching and learning is a good way to identify effective teaching strategies ...

  6. Reflective Teaching Statements

    The Reflective Teaching Statement (RTS) is a short reflective essay that describes an instructor's teaching philosophy, learning objectives, instructional methods, and learning and engagement strategies. This collection contains various resources, from helping you get started writing one to examples from different disciplines.

  7. Reflective Teaching

    Reflective teaching involves examining one's underlying beliefs about teaching and learning and one's alignment with actual classroom practice before, during and after a course is taught. When teaching reflectively, instructors think critically about their teaching and look for evidence of effective teaching. This critical analysis can draw ...

  8. Teaching Statements

    A Teaching Statement can address any or all of the following: Your conception of how learning occurs. A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning. A reflection of why you teach the way you do. The goals you have for yourself and for your students. How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals.

  9. Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice

    Greetings, The steps explained in reflective teaching are quite practical, no matter how many years educators put into their experience, properly guided ideas will definitely enhance how to engage our students, at the end of the day, what matters is how the learning took place in the classroom. and reflect on how i inspired my students to deliver the content, the reflective teaching practice ...

  10. PDF Teacher Reflection: Supports, Barriers, and Results

    Reflection-generating activities have been shown to be valuable in cultivating teacher reflection. These activities can include reading case studies, writing journal entries, conduct-ing self-studies, and audio- or video-recording and analyzing of lessons. Case studies. Case studies of contextualized teaching dilemmas (Rich-

  11. PDF Effectively teaching diverse student groups: a reflection on teaching

    content or teaching strategies. Further, I was behind all semester, often reading the unit material at the same time as the students. This left little time for reflection and adapting teaching and learning strategies sufficiently to give students the best possible learning experience or have students benefit from each other's knowledge. I

  12. Reflective Teaching

    Four Approaches to Reflective Teaching. The goal of critical self-reflection is to gain an increased awareness of our teaching from different vantage points (Brookfield 1995). Collecting multiple and varied perspectives on our teaching can help inform our intuitions about teaching through an evidence-based understanding of whether students are ...

  13. Reflective Practices in Education: A Primer for Practitioners

    Deliberative reflection encompasses "a whole range of teaching concerns, including students, the curriculum, instructional strategies, the rules and organization of the classroom" (Valli, 1997, p. 75). In this case, "deliberative" comes from the practitioners having to debate various external viewpoints and perspectives or research that ...

  14. Teachers' Reflective Practices in Implementing Assessment for Learning

    The process of reflective teaching provides a dynamic basis for teacher action. This is a teacher-based and action-research movement with self-reflection on teachers' teaching. As a reflective practitioner, a teacher should have good analytical and evaluative skills to process practical inquiry about teaching and make pragmatic judgment.

  15. What Is Reflective Teaching and Why Is It Important?

    Teaching journals: Write down classroom reflections in a journal. Classroom observations: Be observed either by a mentor or by recording the lesson and rewatching it yourself. Critical friends: Speak about your classes with a friend who can offer constructive criticism. Action research: Research something you struggle with, and maybe even take a course to improve specific teaching skills.

  16. (PDF) Reflective Practices for Teacher Education

    LLT JOURNAL VOL. 15 NO. 1 ISSN 1410-7201. 149. Reflective Practices for Teacher Education. Paulus Kuswandono. Sanata Dharma University. ABSTRACT. Studies on reflective practice in teacher ...

  17. Questions for Reflective Essays on Teaching

    You may wish to consider some of the following issues as you think about writing a reflective essay on your teaching. We have grouped these questions into three subgroups: questions about your discipline and your research, questions about your student learning objectives, and questions about your teaching. These questions are not a template designed to […]

  18. Using Reflective Writing to Deepen Student Learning

    Research in learning sciences illustrates the many benefits of reflective writing. When provided with clear and authentic prompts and given repeated opportunities to think about their course work and educational, professional, or clinical experiences, students are better able to retain and transfer learning to new contexts. Reflective writing often serves multiple purposes simultaneously ...

  19. Effective Teaching Strategies Essay

    Effective Teaching Strategies Essay. Better Essays. 1404 Words. 6 Pages. 7 Works Cited. Open Document. Reflection Item Two: 'Adapting the curriculum and effective teaching strategies'. Question: Discuss in detail ways that teachers can set up the learning environment in order to maximise teaching and learning, and the advantages and ...

  20. Reflective Practice: Teaching Philosophies

    A Teaching Philosophy Statement can address any or all of the following: Your conception of how learning occurs. A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning. A reflection of why you teach the way you do. The goals you have for yourself and for your students. How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals.

  21. Essays For Teachers

    Effective Teaching Strategies Essay. Reflection Item Two: 'Adapting the curriculum and effective teaching strategies' Question: Discuss in detail ways that teachers can set up the learning environment in order to maximise teaching and learning, and the advantages and disadvantages that belong with such implementation.