Critical Reflection for University Teachers

The UCO Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning (CETTL) distributes a hard bound, blank journal to each faculty member that participates in a CETTL faculty development event. We encourage faculty to write critical reflections and ideas about good teaching during CETTL activities, then discuss them with each other.

Here are a few of my comments and questions after participating in a recent session about “critical reflection for university teachers:”

Where was the learning in today’s work? This is a different question from ‘What did I teach today?’” (Rodgers, p. 863)

 “Without interaction learning is sterile and passive, never fundamentally changing the learner” (Rodgers, p. 847).

“…what you do with with what happens to you is directly dependent on the meaning that you make of it. And though the experiences that befall us may be out of our control, the meaning that we make of them is not” (Rodgers, pp. 848-849).

“Reflection without action is not critical” (S. Brookfield, 1988).

“Our meaning making does not stand isolated from our view of the world but grows out of and leads back into it, possibly demanding that our view changes radically” (Rodgers, p. 862)


Questions Facilitating Critical Reflection for Faculty

  1. What is the experience you are reflecting upon?
  2. What is the problem or question that arises from the experience?
  3. What meaning do we first (spontaenously) make of the experience?
  4. After pausing to connect experience with past experiences and experiences of others (community), how can we re-analyze the experience for reflection by re-organizing or re-ordering our thoughts to a deeper, more systematic meaning of the experience?
  5. What resolution or action on the reflection will we take?

Do you think the above questions are useful as your reflect upon your own teaching? What questions do you ask yourself, or other faculty, to help yourself and themselves critically reflect upon teaching?


Bell, M., & Gillett, M. (1996). Developing reflective practice in the education of university teachers. Proceedings of the 1996 Annual Conference of the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), 8-12, 46-52.

Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking.  Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842-866.

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