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via Early Career Academics' Reflections

SEDA is publishing an open access book online, with a chapter released on its website every fortnight.  Each time a chapter is released it will be accompanied by a blog post published on SEDA WordPress. The book is called Early Career Academics’ Reflections on Learning to Teach in Central Europe, edited by Gabriela Pleschová and Agnes Simon. This book contains case studies by participants of a new educational development programme who redesigned their course sessions to apply student-centred approaches, using innovative teaching methods and stimulate good learning.

The 2019 lecture was given by Tim Berners-Lee in the week of the launch of the Contract for the web. The lecture was inspiring and positive despite the challenges the internet faces today and anyone who uses the internet seriously should watch it!

Shameful report showing the extent of the problem, and failure of universities failing to address thousands of racist incidents

The article below is a summary of a small sample of research into note taking,of which there is now quite a lot.

The search for the ideal way to take notes is an illusion, unless/until we regulate learning from the beginning of education, everyone will develop their own way of doing learning, including note taking. Successful note taking its therefore a matter of individual and subject matter factors.

There are however two criteria that I think are helpful in guiding people.

1 is the question of the purpose of the learning, and the use you will make of the information. Notes for an exam are different from other sorts of notes. As with other aspects of HE students may find it useful to be shown successful note taking in different contexts, academic and vocational, and how the different purposes leads to different approaches. How will you need to recall this, is the crucial and practical question.

2 the crucial aspect of that is the question of importance, and the time you are willing to invest. The principal is that the more psychological work the better the learning. One aspect of this is putting it into your own words, as mentioned in the article below, but only if that meets the first criteria.

I think UK universities are missing a lot by not benefiting from Microsoft tools they are paying for.

Public engagement is an increasing aspect of academic careers - and institutions are increasing their support for this like this workshop at UCL

Public Engagement Network: Public Engagement and your Academic Career

Celebrate the end of term with a Network session on the 3rd July that's all about the engagement you do, and how it can help support your academic career. You’ll be able to explore the ways Public Engagement could help you, and we’ll be on hand to discuss how UCL's Public Engagement Team can support your work.

Book your place now

Worth checking if your institution runs similar events.

Interesting post about learning, raises the issue about how much real learning is in fact unlearning previous learning to create space. It is that space and the awareness of it that is so important. The joy of not knowing!

Is reflection always on the present or the past?

Since the work of Argyris and Schon (Schön, 1987) it has become accepted practice to talk about reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action.  Reflection-in-action being in time reflection, awareness of the event at the time.  Reflection-on-action, while not necessarily defined as such is generally discussed as reflection after the action.

In the research I did for a paper some years ago (Andrew et al., 2002) when describing reflection in their practice most people referred to reflection-on-action as retrospective, with only one person talking about reflection as part of planning.

Yesterday, in my retirement activities, I did some preservation – making some onion marmalade, and in the process, I did part of the recipe in the wrong order (I wait to see how disastrous that was).  I realised that although I had read the recipe several times I had not developed a model of what I was doing hence the mistake.

Reflecting later I was reminded how this was like the process of preparing students for assessments, and how often you can go over common mistakes and find they still make them.  I used to play a game called Words-in-sentences in training staff as it highlighted this – you can do various things to get them to read the instructions and ask them whether they understand them – oh yes! – and then they do it and it becomes obvious that they didn’t.

What I didn’t do I realise, and what they didn’t do, was to build a model of what was going to happen.

Reflecting as part of planning can just be a casual thought about what you are going to do in the future, as was the case with the person I interviewed.  There are however models of more structured preparation such as in the Inner Game approach to sports coaching (Gallwey, no date), where you imagine what you will look like, and feel like when you are performing an action.

This can be extended using the NLP perceptual positions model, a full anticipatory reflection would include:

  • First person
    • What I see
    • What I hear
    • What I feel
  • Second person
    • What I look like
    • What I sound like
    • Impression I make on others
  • Third person
    • What I and my tools look like
    • How I have things organised
    • How I move in space

If I have done that – my reflection-in-action is much more effective – and of course saying that it becomes obvious that for reflection-in-action to work I much have some model or theory anyway (Houchens and Keedy, 2009) – but usually not well formed.  If I have done more work on my internal model when I go to that stage of the recipe I would have known what I was doing wasn’t right.

Therefore, I propose that a model of effective practice has to include reflection-pre-action alongside the other reflection in order to be effective.


Available as a working paper on Researchgate  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19785.39527


Andrew, D. et al. (2002) A critical review of the use of the concept of reflection in Higher Education .

Gallwey, T. (no date) HOME - The Inner Game. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2018).

Houchens, G. W. and Keedy, J. L. (2009) ‘Theories of practice: understanding the practice of educational leadership’, Journal of Thought Fall-Winter 2009, 49. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2018).

Schön, D. A. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner : toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. Jossey-Bass. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2018).