Facilitating reflective practice within the university

In the latest of our monthly posts from the Forum committee, Jenny Gibbons from the York Law School reflects on teaching reflection.


Following discussions with colleagues from other departments at Forum workshops and the 2015 Learning and Teaching Conference, it is apparent that reflective writing is increasingly becoming an assessed component on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at York. A dilemma we have faced at York Law School (YLS) and the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) is; how can we assess reflective writing appropriately if we haven’t had the opportunity to develop the skillset to be reflective practitioners ourselves?

My colleague, John Gray, and I decided to address this issue in a peer-to-peer training session within our department, which was based on activities and techniques John has developed in his role as a leadership coach and trainer (see http://johngray.org.uk/). The aims of the session were to build on the linkage between being a reflective practitioner and assessing reflection at YLS and CAHR.

We provided an opportunity for staff to develop their understanding of the concept of reflective practice and its relevance to their own work, and to share practice on the assessment of reflection. This turned out to be a fascinating and illuminating event, and one that we have been asked to repeat for staff members who were not able to attend.

I was told by one of the participants that it provided a rare and welcome space for colleagues to discuss their own practice in a neutral and mutually supportive environment. Another person said it had led to the longest and most meaningful conversation they had ever had with a colleague they had worked with for three years!

The prezi slides for this event are available here: http://prezi.com/azwymrt_stbk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share.

If you would like to discuss how you could run similar events within your department, please contact me on jenny.gibbons@york.ac.uk.