As a higher education teacher, you know firsthand the importance of being an effective educator. Whether you’re just starting or are well-established in your career, refining your teaching practice can lead to progression and promotion. And one way to do that is by embracing reflective skills and updated methods.
Get a higher education teaching certificate
A higher education teaching certificate can help you develop the reflective skills needed to constantly improve your craft. Through reflection, you can identify areas that need improvement and find new ways to engage and motivate your students.
What’s more, a higher education teaching certificate keeps you up-to-date on the latest pedagogical approaches and research. This means you can incorporate new techniques into your teaching practice, making it even more effective. As a result, your students will benefit from your updated methods, and you’ll be better equipped to advance in your career.
So if you’re looking to refine your teaching practice, a higher education teaching certificate may be the answer. When you embrace reflective skills and updated methods, you can take your career to the next level. But next, let’s talk more about what taking a more reflective approach to teaching can look like.
The basics of reflective teaching
Reflective teaching is all about taking a step back and examining your practice. This involves looking at what’s working well and what could be improved. It also means constantly seeking out new ways to improve your teaching.
There are a few key components to reflective teaching.
First, it involves taking an objective look at your practice. This can be difficult, as we often have blind spots when it comes to our strengths and weaknesses. But it’s important to try to be as objective as possible to identify areas that need improvement.
Being open to feedback from others is vital too. This includes students, colleagues, and supervisors. Getting feedback from different perspectives can help you get a well-rounded view of your teaching.
Then, it also involves a willingness to experiment and try new things. This is how you’ll find new and better ways to teach. Be open to trying new techniques and approaches, even if they’re outside of your comfort zone.
Finally, keeping a record of your reflections is helpful too. This can be in the form of a journal, blog, or even just notes on your phone. Keeping track of your reflections will help you see your progress over time and identify patterns in what works well and what doesn’t.
Taking a reflective approach to higher education teaching
Embracing reflective skills doesn’t mean you have to completely overhaul your teaching practice. Rather, it’s about making small tweaks that can lead to big improvements.
Let’s talk more about the ways you can take a more reflective approach to higher education teaching.
Keep a teaching journal
As we’ve already touched on, recording your thoughts and experiences in a teaching journal is a great way to reflect on your practice. Every day, take a few minutes to jot down what went well in your classroom and what could be improved. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns emerge, which will give you valuable insights into your teaching.
Seek feedback from colleagues and students
Getting feedback from others is essential for reflection. Ask your colleagues for their thoughts on your teaching. And encourage your students to give you feedback, both positive and negative. Doing this involves creating a system where students feel empowered to provide you with feedback, so that should be a focus too. It can be tough to hear criticism, but it’s essential for growth.
Observe other teachers
One of the best ways to learn is by observing others. If you have the opportunity, watch another teacher in action. Take note of what works well and what doesn’t. Then, try incorporating some of the things you observed into your teaching practice.
Reflection is an ongoing process, so don’t expect to see results overnight. But by committing to reflection, you can make gradual improvements that will benefit both you and your students.
Other higher education teaching topics
Reflective teaching is an important topic when it comes to higher education, but it isn’t the only one we’ll cover today. Along with taking a reflective approach to teaching, let’s also talk about some strategies for classroom management and student engagement in a higher education environment.
Classroom management in higher education
This can be a challenge, as students are often more independent and autonomous than in lower levels of education.
Some of the common classroom management challenges higher education teachers list include:
- Students not coming to class: Because the students are adults, they may have work or other commitments that interfere with attending class.
- Lack of motivation: In higher education, students are often pursuing a degree because it’s required for their chosen career. This can lead to a lack of intrinsic motivation.
- Anxiety and stress: College can be a stressful time for students, which can lead to anxiety and other mental health issues that impact their ability to learn.
But there are a few key strategies that can help.
First, it’s important to set clear expectations for student behavior from the outset. Be explicit about what is and is not acceptable in your classroom. This includes coming up with a syllabus that includes clear consequences for missed classes and late assignments. That way, students know what to expect if they break the rules.
Second, try to create a positive and supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable taking risks.
And finally, be consistent with your enforcement of rules and consequences.
Of course, you’ll also want to do your best to make your class as interesting and engaging as possible. You can also offer incentives for attendance, such as bonus points or extra credit.
Student engagement in higher education
There are a few different approaches you can take to encourage student engagement.
To begin, try to make your lectures and class materials interesting and relevant to your students. If they can see how the material relates to their lives and interests, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged.
It’s also helpful to provide opportunities for students to get involved in class through activities, discussions, and group work.
And lastly, give them plenty of chances to practice what they’re learning—including presenting opportunities in their careers to apply their new knowledge. The more opportunities they have to apply the material, the better they’ll understand it.
Wherever you find yourself in your academic career, being an effective higher education teacher will help you get there! By taking a more reflective approach to higher education teaching, you can refine your practice and better meet the needs of your students.