Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Strategies for establishing a ‘culture’ of reflective higher education learning and teaching enhancement (RHELTE) at any institution has to be ‘pitched’ at two levels: Institutional/Programme and individual (staff/lecturer) level.

Institutional/programmatic level.

Firstly, the leadership of the institution must clearly define the term RHELTE. This definition or an appropriate phrase regarding RHELTE must be prominently featured in the philosophical statement which guides the institution’s programmes and departments functions. Doing so signals the importance of RHELTE to the leadership of the institution.

The placement of the philosophical statement at prominent points in and outside the physical walls and/or on display boards; programme/course materials; prospectus; website; emails signature; VLE or intranet and the encouragement of teachers to talk openly about the philosophical statement should occur. The statement should also be prominently placed on marketing and advertising materials and selected stationery.

Secondly, the senior management team and board of the institution should adopt or adapt a professional standards framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education which has the idea of reflective teaching and learning permeating the guide. Such a framework would help to:

  • Promote the professionalization of Higher Education Learning, Teaching Enhancement.
  • Enhance the quality and prominence of Higher Education Learning, Teaching Enhancement.
  • Demonstrate to students and stakeholders the professionalism that staff and the institution brings to Higher Education Learning, Teaching Enhancement
  • Recognized staff for developing capabilities as teachers and supporters of Higher Education Learning, Teaching Enhancement.


Thirdly, plan, implement and host conferences on RHELTE to make the public aware of the place and focus of RHELTE in the institution. Encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning as a discipline by disseminating research findings in the area. Again, these signal the importance placed on this aspect of the institution by the leadership of the institution.

Fourthly, develop and implement online and/or hard copy newsletters with a specific focus on RHELTE and which showcase staff’s innovations and thoughts in the area. Adopt or adapt an instrument that facilitate students’ anonymous evaluation of modules (SEM) and programmes (SEP) ensuring that these also evaluate all aspects of teaching and learning. Finally, regulate teaching load and time-tabling of classes to allow teachers time to critically reflect on their teaching and students’ learning and how to enhance or improve both.

Individual (staff/lecturer) level.

To encourage a ‘culture’ of RHELTE at the individual level, there must be programmes and opportunities which develop, recognize and reward those who engage in this area.

Firstly, develop, validate and deliver (face-to-face, blended or full online) a mandatory RHELTE course for those new to teaching and/or the concept ‘reflective teaching’ in the institution. This signals to new comers the importance placed on this aspect by the institution. The course could be linked to the acquisition of an appropriate professional qualification or status. Encourage existing staff to participate by providing an increment in salary, personal academic support and/or the institution covering the entire cost of the course or a percentage of the cost.

Secondly, offer ‘bite size’ information session in the area of RHELTE for example through master class type sessions or lunch hour talks. These should be short events no more than half hour to one hour including Q&A and about once per month. In addition to short talks and lunch hour sessions, invite noted speakers to periodically offer longer talks and training sessions in specific aspects of RHELTE and encourage existing staff to also make presentations of ‘best practices’ in RHELTE.

By rahul