Reflection, Reflection, Reflection

I’m always learning as I go along. I don’t profess to be an incredible teacher, the PGCHE course I’m currently studying is the only formal assessment of my teaching practices. I have found myself explaining materials and tools to others since a young age. The methods I’ve used to inform my teaching have relied heavily on my own personal reflective practice. I’ve become a better teacher because I’ve learnt from methods I have used in the past.

This notion of reflective practice is something I have really connected with as part of the PGCHE. The teaching of technical skills can sometimes be overlooked as a means of educating individuals. Many professional services staff that I’ve met in the past wouldn’t necessarily class themselves as educators, but that’s exactly what they are doing. Equipping students with the skills and knowledge to learn and understand new things is part of the teaching process.

My understanding and development of my own reflective practice has been improved by a book we were recommended to look at for our PGCHE sessions. Stephen Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective teacher has been an invaluable resource and has really resonated with my teaching experienced over the years. What is critical reflection? Why is it important? As well as being a valuable resource it’s also allowed my to reflect on my own teaching in a critical and meaningful way, and that’s never a bad thing! Definitely recommended!

National Student Survey

Although the academic year is now in it’s final term for Undergraduates, as educators we’re still very much increasingly busy at this time. Projects and handins are in progress and we can just about see graduation for final year students looming on the horizon.

Now is also the time in the academic year where we start the process of reflection. The National Student Survey has been running since 2005 and aims to obtain honest feedback from final year students about to graduate.

Commissioned by HEFCE the survey aims to provide institutions with an honest account of student opinion during their period of study. The survey is broken down into 8 key areas and allows for qualitative and quantitate feedback. The areas are as follows;

  • The teaching on my course
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Academic support
  • Organisation and management
  • Learning resources
  • Personal development
  • Overall satisfaction
  • Students’ Union (Association or Guild)

The survey itself is open for a period of several months allowing students plenty of time to leave their opinions. This years survey closed at the end of April with results expected to be released early in 2014.

The process of reflection is one we’re taught within our sessions as part of the PGCHE course. The survey itself allows us an additional resource to use as part of this reflective process and is a valuable tool when improving the student experience within Higher Education.