Teaching patterns

This section holds a Pattern Language for Reflection in Higher Education including teaching patterns and common resources  associated with the Developing Reflective Approaches to Writing (DRAW) project.

Ad Hoc Web

This pattern uses the ready availability of the web to set up a different sort of engagement in tutorial-style classes. Reflection is enriched by testing ideas, seeking examples and answering questions. Easy access to the web within a lab setting or with student-owned devices, is required. It is suitable for foundation and intermediate phases of a course. This activity is implemented over a semester.

Analysing Reflective Texts

This pattern works by highlighting different levels, textual features and structures of reflective writing through the analysis of exemplar texts. It is particularly useful in foundation stages of a course as students learn the skills of academic reflection. This is an activity that can be completed within a single tutorial class.

Analysing a Scenario Response – Foundation

This pattern works by resolving the personal nature of reflection and objective knowledge. A scenario where a discipline-specific problem is played-out with student actors brings the two perspectives together. This activity could be completed in a tutorial class and is well suited to the foundation phase of a course.

Analysing a Scenario Response – Intermediate

This pattern works by asking groups of students to resolve personal profession-like experiences and objective knowledge. Scenarios are acted-out which bring the two perspectives together for high-level reflection (reasoning and reconstructing). This activity could be completed in a tutorial class and is suited to students in intermediate or capstone stages of their course.

Double Sided Projects

This pattern helps with the design of assignments. It works by partitioning the assignment into two parts: a (traditional) discipline-specific task and reflective writing around the completion of that task. Assignment specifications need to be re-written to describe and provide assessment criteria for the “reflective” side. Students need to possess or acquire reflective writing skills. This pattern has semester-wide implications.

Fishbowl Reflection

This pattern is an activity suitable for students at any stage of their course. Reflection is encouraged by separating ‘reflecting’ observers from participants who engage in a staged discussion or debate. It is simple to prepare and can be completed within one class. No special resources are needed.

Future Career Reflections

This pattern investigates why students choose the course that they do. Often students come into their courses with pre-conceptions about their chosen careers without considering the broad nature, scope and application of their chosen profession. This pattern enables students to construct a reflective portfolio throughout their work placement.

Formulating Questions for Reflection

This pattern describes an approach to scaffolding students’ ability to formulate their own questions in some circumstances. The “expert”models effective questioning techniques for students, gradually fading the model and allowing students to take over asking questions of each other. The pattern can be implemented in a single lesson. It can be useful in the intermediate and capstone stages of a course where students are required to reflect on field and/or service learning experiences.

Group Microcasts for Reflection

This pattern reifies group-negotiated reflection of an experience into an artefact, in this case a very short podcast (microcast). In turn the microcast itself can be used as the basis for further reflection. Convenient access to technology for podcast creation and a place to host the microcasts (e.g. Blackboard) is required. The pattern is suitable anywhere within a course, but it does need some skills and equipment.

Making Annotated Exemplars

This pattern is about making student resources to demonstrate features of good reflective writing in the form of annotated exemplars. The exemplars reveal the thinking behind the construction of good reflective texts and make strong connections to how students will be assessed. A fair bit of preparation is needed, either by collecting samples from past students or by composing suitable texts. The pattern is very general in its applicability, so can be used at any stage of a course and can target any level of reflection.

Mapping Critical Incidents – Capstone

This pattern follows on from Mapping Critical Incidents – Foundation (MCIF) and is therefore suited to intermediate and capstone stages of courses where the students have had, or will have, professional experience. This activity can be completed in one class.

Mapping Critical Incidents – Foundation

This pattern is an activity suitable for students learning the basic reflection processes of the 4Rs (reporting and responding). By focusing on a simple observable skill, the complexities of reflection in real contexts is reduced. Some preparation is necessary (an exemplar skill needs to be chosen and modelled). This activity can be completed in one class.

Making Reflection Visible

This pattern works by making reflection into a performance and recording it so that it becomes an object for a wider audience. This pattern has technical and video-preparation skill requirements and needs to be carefully scaffolded. It is suitable for the foundation phase of a course. The pattern is completed over a semester.

Performer as Reflective Practitioner

This pattern highlights the reflective processes used in performance based disciplines (Dance, Drama, Teaching, Sports). It focuses on the cumulative nature of reflection over time where the performer constantly researches, evaluates and improves their performance practice.

Prompting Reflection with the help of Technology

This pattern can be used where students are expected to reflect on their own performance (e.g. a role-play) or activity (e.g. problem-solving). During this performance or activity, students should not be distracted by also attempting to gather data for reflection. Rather, recording technologies allow them to engage in the primary experience and reflect later. The technical aspects of recording and distributing the recordings promptly to students need to be in place before the pattern is implemented. The pattern is suitable for any stage of a course.

Reflections Around Artefacts

This pattern works by focusing on a tangible student-made product that serves as the basis for reflection and further refinement. Ideally, the product is associated with professional activity, so this pattern is suited for intermediate phases of a course. It requires scaffolding and integration with assessment, so is completed over a semester.

Reflection Assessment Criteria

This pattern works by building a common and consistent vocabulary around reflection, especially in assignment descriptions and assessment criteria. It is suitable for any phase of the course, but should take into account earlier language use. The pattern requires semester-wide planning and adjustment to documentation.

Reflections About Performance

This pattern works by scaffolding students to reflect on a performance from a number of perspectives and to write these reflections in a blog. Because it focuses on skill development, this pattern is suited to the foundation phase of a course. The design spans a semester unit of work.

Reflective Blogs during Internship

This pattern works at the time when students are busy undergoing professional practice by structuring their reflection using an online blog. It is particularly suited to the capstone phase of a course when students are involved with field experience. The pattern requires semester-wide planning and integration with assessment.

Reflection as a Professional Activity during Service Learning

This pattern works by asking students to keep a portfolio of reflections as they engage in service learning experience. It is suitable for students in the capstone phase of their course and is scoped before, over, and after their field placement.

Second Order Reflections

This pattern works by adopting a two-stage approach to reflection: a first stage where basic levels of reflection are targeted and a second stage that focuses on critical/reconstructive reflection. It is suited to later stages (intermediate and capstone) of a course. The pattern requires semester-wide planning and some integration with assessment (where the second stage is directly assessed).

Socratic Questions for Reflection

This pattern describes an approach to helping students formulate their own questions. Students are introduced to the Socratic questioning framework which they then use, initially in small groups and then as a class activity, to interrogate a problem. The pattern can be implemented in a single lesson. It can be useful in the intermediate and capstone stages of a course where students are required to reflect on problematic aspects of field or service learning experiences.

Start Talking Reflection

This pattern works by starting with personal, oral forms of reflection and scaffolding students so that their reflections are made available to wider audiences (starting with peers) and textual expression. It is particularly suited for a course’s foundation phase. The pattern can be completed as part of a semester as a sequence of classes.

Task-orientated Teamwork Reflection

This pattern works in collaborative learning contexts to make teamwork processes explicit. It is suitable for intermediate and capstone phases of a course. It works by providing plenty of scaffolding to a collaborative task that is set for assessment. Much of the reflective writing is tested with peers. This pattern requires semester-wide planning.

Using Assessment Scenarios

This pattern works by providing students with an introduction to a reflective thinking scale (the 4Rs model) used for self- and peer-assessment. It is suitable for the foundation phase of a course. This activity can be completed in a single class.

Writing Reflective Journals

This pattern outlines some of the decisions to be made by coordinators who wish to incorporate ongoing reflective writing into their unit. It gives suggestions on how some of these expectations can be articulated to students and teaching staff who are also new to such writing. The pattern is a precursor to other patterns which are dependent on students journaling their experiences over an extended period of time.