Skip to Content

Reflective Practice for Staff

Critical reflection on educational philosophy, theory and practice is a core characteristic of the Reflective Professional in higher education. It demands intentional focus on planning, monitoring and reviewing teaching and assessment strategies, learning and student development, and educational goals and purposes (Kreber & Castleden, 2009; Light et al., 2009)

Through reflection-for-action, reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action (McAlpine &Weston, 2000) the contradictions between “what is desirable and actual practice” (Johns, 2000) are identified. These insights into the teaching experience increase knowledge and nurture a more sophisticated understanding which in turn leads to ‘enhanced teaching practice and eventually ... to improved student learning’, (Kreber & Castleden, 2009, p511). 

Light et al., (2009, p13) argue that the development of teaching and learning practices are not ‘detached from the core academic and professional activities of the academy, but integrated within it and subject to the same critical requirements and standards with respect to knowledge, theory, values and practice’. Therefore staff are encouraged to apply the same analytical and evaluative rigour to their teaching experience as they apply to their own discipline. 

The pages in this section seek to support the development of reflective practice in Queen’s University:

  • Research-informed teaching
  • Professional reflection tools
  • Reviewing curriculum provision
  • Peer observation of teaching
  • Student evaluation of teaching and learning


Johns, C. (2000) ‘Becoming a Reflective Practitioner. A reflective and holistic approach to clinical nursing, practice development and clinical supervision’, Blackwell Science Ltd.

Kreber, C. and Castleden, H. (2009) ‘Reflection on teaching and the epistemological structure: reflective and critically reflective processes in ‘pure/soft’ and ‘pure/hard’ fields’, Higher Education, 57, pp.509-531 

Light, G.; Cox, R. & Calkins, S. (2009, 2nd edition) ‘Learning and Teaching in HIgher Education’, Sage: London 

McAlpine, L. and Weston, C. (2000) ‘Reflection: Issues related to improving professors’ teaching and students’ learning’, Instructional Science, 28, pp.363-385