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Using reflective journals to promote staff awareness and academic development

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 10:30am – 11:00am parallel session



Room 2 – 303-G14, Sem



Dr Sharon Flecknoe
Monash University, Australia

Dr Caitlin Filby
Monash University, Australia

Dr Kate Carroll
Monash University, Australia



With strong evidence for the value of active and collaborative learning (Freeman, 2014) in driving student motivation, engagement and learning, we embarked on major pedagogical change in 2016 by flipping our Bioscience units. We knew this would lead to marked changes in the role of the educators involved. Lectures were replaced with online lessons, leaving face-to-face time for novel hands-on learning opportunities.  The role of the educator changed from being the “sage on stage” to the “guide on the side” (King, 1993), resulting in altered academic identity and a need for our educators to develop new skills in classroom management, questioning and techniques that facilitated higher-order thinking and collaboration. The presentation will address the conference subtheme of academic development.



Over the course of 2 semesters, we implemented weekly reflective journals to encourage staff to reflect on their teaching practice, promote self-development and enable us to monitor how the altered approach impacted educators. The journals were provided to us by staff on a voluntarily and de-identified basis. The journals informed meetings and training sessions for our staff, but have also allowed us to assist other academics embarking on similar journeys.   



The reflective journals were evaluated qualitatively in conjunction with data from staff focus groups. The data was analysed for themes to determine the challenges perceived by educators as well as the support staff needed while adjusting to the change in pedagogy.



The data obtained from educators indicated that the implementation of journals into weekly workloads allowed 1) staff to reflect on their academic identity and challenge their own values as educators, 2) staff to identify areas for self-improvement and 3) unit coordinators to access de-identified information regarding how staff were feeling and how best to support them in making the transition to active, collaborative-based learning.



Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.
King, A. (1993). From sage on the stage to guide on the side. College Teaching, 41(1), 30-35.


Presentation topic

Academics – Academic Development

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