Methods of Reflection for Tutors
Academic staff in HE may be asked to facilitate the development of reflection in their students with or without guidance. Unlike nursing and psychotherapy, the teaching profession has traditionally not required its members to engage in a reflective process. In the former professions a system of supervision insists that nurses, registered counsellors/ psychotherapists engage in reflection on their professional practice. This ensures that professional work is monitored on a continuing basis. In the case of psychotherapy/counselling this is a lifelong activity. Comparison with other professions suggests that a mandatory system of Continuing Professional Development, CPD, which includes reflective practice or supervision have the potential (not always realized) to include evidence of a reflective process. It is our contention that teachers in HE who do engage in such CPD are likely to be able to convey the nature of the process to their students. Developmental activity, which includes reflective practice, is an integral part of their work as professional academics. Kahn et al. (2006, p. 27) recommend
A directed process … which must both be targeted and supported as
this prevents the process from turning into 'metacognitive rambles on
minor aspects of teaching'.
(Grushka et at, 2005)
Before recommending reflective practice to their students, teachers may initially, wish to engage in reflective practice with colleagues in order to familiarize themselves with the approach. We are suggesting that teachers take examples of their practice to a reflective dialogue with colleagues or supervisors. Their practice could be about their method of teaching, research, scholarly activity, and course design. Within this approach to development we have the basis for colleague to colleague support and challenge.
For development to be more formalized, particularly with the advent and requirement for staff development reviews, teachers will have longer term aims they may wish to achieve. By facilitating reflective dialogue between