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Principle 6: Teaching as Reflective Practice

Principle 6: Teaching as Reflective Practice

Reflect on one’s teaching practices and beliefs to maximize self-awareness and continual improvement.

Summary and Rationale

Growth as an effective and inclusive instructor is a continual process involving self-reflection, critique, and ongoing learning. Self-reflection includes identifying personal areas of bias or weakness in teaching. One’s beliefs about students, teaching and learning feed directly into how one practices teaching. Engaging in a reflective practice ensures that our beliefs, values, and practices are in alignment through continual growth and adjustment.

Instructors, students, disciplinary norms, and the state of the pedagogical art are all in continual flux, so even the best-prepared and skilful instructor is only such at a moment in time. Successful instructors assert authority and responsibility over their own teaching practices, and develop the reflective capacity to become aware of, and institute, needed changes in their approach to teaching. Exemplary instructors model life-long learning for their students through their own engagement with their discipline, their teaching, and the ever-evolving students in their courses.


  • Reflect on current portfolio of pedagogical strategies when preparing any course, even ones that have worked successfully on multiple occasions.
  • Incorporate regular informal feedback from students and adapt pedagogical approaches to best support student success.
  • Reflect on how to set up courses to foster inclusive engagement with students.
  • Proactively seek out novel approaches, activities, and resources to experiment with teaching, and conscientiously collect data to evaluate its effectiveness, including (but not limited to) professional development and feedback from students and peers.
  • Stay current in disciplinary developments and disciplinary-specific best teaching practices.
  • Create and participate in communities of fellow instructors that allow for support, peer review, pedagogical strategizing, and critical engagement with teaching practices; these communities can be both informal and formal, organized by leaders who recognize the central role that reflection plays in maintaining excellent teaching.



  • Augustine. (389/1968) On the teacher. Translated by Robert P. Russell. Catholic University of America Press.
  • Atkinson, D. J. & Bolt, S. (2010). Using teaching observations to reflect upon and improve teaching practice in higher education. Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19(3), 1-19.
  • Barbezat, D. (2013) Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning. Jossey-Bass.
  • Brookfield, S. D. (2017) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Canning, R (Aug 2004) Teaching and Learning: An Augustinian Perspective. Australian ejournal of Theology
  • Chick, N. (2018) SoTL in Action: Illuminating Critical Moments of Practice. Stylus.
  • Felten, P., Bauman, H.D.L., Kheriaty, A., & Taylor E. (2013) Transformative Conversations: A Guide to Mentoring Communities Among Colleagues in Higher Education. Jossey-Bass.
  • Palmer, P., Zajonc, A. & Scribner, M. (2010) The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to RenewalJossey-Bass.
  • Weimer, M. (2013) Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. Jossey-Bass.