Self lens: Review through reflective practice

Critical reflection in and on our teaching practices is an important way to maintain ongoing growth and development as a teacher. No matter how effective we are, we can always improve. Reflective practice in teaching can:

  • Validate teaching strengths to build upon and share with others
  • Acknowledge teaching weaknesses that require addressing
  • Create understanding on how you as a teacher learn
  • Develop self-awareness
  • Identify and learn from mistakes within teaching practices that can be creating barriers to learning
  • Record your growth and development as a teaching academic

There are a number of theories, framework and strategies that conceptualise the process of reflective practice and the role it can play in improving teaching practices. Below are some of the more commonly used in higher education settings, both for student and staff reflective practices.

Figure 1

Figure 2

  • Source: Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. How professionals think in action, London: Temple Smith.
Reflection IN action Reflection ON action
  • Experiencing
  • Thinking on your feet
  • Thinking about what to do next
  • Acting straight away
  • Thinking about something that has happened
  • Thinking what you would do differently next time
  • Taking your time

Figure 3

Video resources

Below are a number of useful video clips that look at the varying processes and role of reflective practice in teaching, in particular higher education settings.

Reflective journaling

An effective way to reflect on your teaching practice is through the process of journaling. Whether that be in written, audio or video form, journaling provides an opportunity to easily record thoughts, feelings, ideas and reasoning, and then to access them at a later date to explore concepts in a deeper context, or explore growth and changing ideals over time. For those interested in commencing a journal, consider using the Mahara ePortfolio journaling component.

Further information and resources


  • Sellars, M. (2014) Reflective Practice for Teachers. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Sherwood, G. D., & Horton-Deutsch, S. (2012) Reflective Practice Transforming Education and Improving Outcomes. Indianapolis, USA: Sigma Theta Tau International.
  • Zeichner, Kenneth M. & Liston, Daniel P. (1996) Reflective Teaching: An Introduction. New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Inc.)
  • Zwozdiak-Myers,P. (2012). The teacher's reflective practice handbook. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.