Reflective Teaching

Reflective Teaching


What It Is

Although definitions vary across research in the field, reflective teaching can be conceptualized as “a cognitive and affective process or activity that (1) requires active engagement on the part of the individual; (2) is triggered by an unusual or perplexing situation or experience; (3) involves examining one’s responses, beliefs, and premises in light of the situation at hand; and (4) results in integration of the new understanding into one’s experience” (Rogers, 2001, p. 41).


What It Matters

Reflecting on successful and unsuccessful teaching experiences can improve teaching and help instructors feel more effective as they plan, deliver, and evaluate their instruction.


Apply it

There are several strategies instructors can use to be more reflective in their teaching. Whichever you choose, remember to keep your reflections solutions-focused; perseverating on a moment (or even a semester) that didn’t go well won’t improve your teaching. 

  1. Protect time for reflection. Whether you reserve an hour a week on your calendar to think back over the previous week of instruction, keep a journal of real-time notes and reminders during class, or record yourself lecturing to review after class, dedicated time is essential for reflective teaching. 
  2. Talk to a colleague. If a teaching moment doesn’t go well, try talking through it with a fellow instructor. Or, if a class isn’t proceeding the way you expected, consider inviting a trusted colleague to observe and provide constructive feedback.
  3. Consider learners’ voices. Don’t wait until the end of the semester’s course evaluations to get feedback from your students. A survey at the beginning of the semester halfway point can alert you to trends about learning needs. Take time to reflect on these trends–what works well for most of your learners? Are there components that aren’t working well for the majority? 




Rogers, R. R. (2001). Reflection in higher education: A concept analysis. Innovative Higher Education, 26(1), 37-57.


Cite This Resource

Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation. (2023, February). Reflective teaching [Teaching resource].


Updated 02/2023