Co‐teaching in higher education: reflective conversation on shared experience as continued professional development for lecturers and health and social care students

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Stellenbosch]On: 05 October 2014, At: 23:44Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Reflective Practice: International andMultidisciplinary PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Coteaching in higher education:reflective conversation on sharedexperience as continued professionaldevelopment for lecturers and healthand social care studentsJayne Crow a &amp; Lesley Smith aa Anglia Polytechnic University , EssexPublished online: 21 Aug 2006.</p><p>To cite this article: Jayne Crow &amp; Lesley Smith (2005) Coteaching in higher education: reflectiveconversation on shared experience as continued professional development for lecturers and healthand social care students, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 6:4,491-506, DOI: 10.1080/14623940500300582</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;</p><p></p></li><li><p>Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>elle</p><p>nbos</p><p>ch] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:44</p><p> 05 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p><p></p></li><li><p>Reflective PracticeVol. 6, No. 4, November 2005, pp. 491506</p><p>ISSN 1462-3943 (print)/ISSN 1470-1103 (online)/05/04049116 2005 Taylor &amp; FrancisDOI: 10.1080/14623940500300582</p><p>Co-teaching in higher education: reflective conversation on shared experience as continued professional development for lecturers and health and social care studentsJayne Crow* and Lesley SmithAnglia Polytechnic University, EssexTaylor and Francis LtdCREP_A_130041.sgm10.1080/14623940500300582Reflective Practice1462-3943 (print)/1470-1103 (online)Original Article2005Taylor &amp; Francis64000000November 2005JayneCrowSchool of Community Health and Social StudiesAnglia Polytechnic UniversityBishop Hall LaneChelmsford, EssexCM1 1SQUK01245</p><p>There are a variety of mechanisms used for the continued professional development (CPD) ofhigher education (HE) lecturers, some of which are more useful than others in promoting reflectionon practice. Reflective conversations between peers involving collegial probing are suggested asimportant catalysts to reflexivity and we propose here that the process of co-teaching can provide apowerful vehicle for this activity. The reflective conversations that co-teaching encourages are basedupon joint reflections on shared experiences and as such add another dimension to the reflection.This provides the opportunity for the deconstruction of those experiences and the reconstruction ofa shared meaning in a way that transforms understandings and changes practice. In this article wedescribe an inquiry into our co-teaching of an undergraduate health and social studies module. Wepresent fragments of our data and analysis in the hope that some of the conversations and sharedreflections resonate with readers and will encourage them to embark on co-teaching if they have notalready done so. Through our examination of the data we found that the reflective conversations onour shared experiences that were engendered by our co-teaching experience had identified a rangeof interesting questions/issues and that these issues mirrored closely those faced by our students asexperienced health and social care practitioners. We go on to suggest ways in which reflectiveconversations between peers on shared experience could also be utilized to facilitate reflectivepractice in our health and social studies students.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The benefits to professionals of becoming reflective practitioners are now well estab-lished and documented (Schn, 1983; Clegg et al., 2002). Indeed reflection has</p><p>*Corresponding author. School of Community Health and Social Studies, Anglia PolytechnicUniversity, Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1SQ, UK. Email:</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>elle</p><p>nbos</p><p>ch] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:44</p><p> 05 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>492 J. Crow and L. Smith</p><p>become a prerequisite for many professions including all qualified nursing,midwifery, health visiting and social work where it is required by the governing bodiesas part of continued professional development (CPD) (Williams &amp; Lowe, 2001). Thishas led to an emphasis in health and social care education on developing reflectivepractitioners (Jarvis, 1992, and Reid, 1993, as cited by Williams &amp; Lowe, 2001).However, whilst the promotion of reflection and the development of self-awarenessare very much part of our role as lecturers in Health and Social Studies, in ourexperience the promotion of such reflective practice in higher education (HE) lectur-ers themselves has not been accorded such a significant role. Thus we argue that acloser examination of the mechanisms available for engendering reflective practiceamong HE lecturers is needed. We go on to suggest that co-teaching with peers is apromising way forward in this respect and in this article document our own inquiryinto a co-taught module to explore how the process of co-teaching began to transformour own practice through reflective conversations.</p><p>Reflective mechanisms available to HE lecturers</p><p>When we looked at our own formal mechanisms for CPD we found it primarilyfocused on curriculum development, the mechanics of teaching and the promotion ofsubject expertise with the development of our reflective skills being somewhatneglected. We would therefore argue that the values and assumptions within theteaching process often remain hidden or unexplored amongst HE lecturers. Yet asHunt (1998, p. 25) suggests tutors who wish to facilitate reflective practice in theirstudents need also to engage in it themselves and to be very open about the natureof their own practice. We agree with Hunt and our own experience tells us thatalthough HE lecturers do use a variety of mechanisms to reflect on their practice theseare not always part of a formalized process and thus may not necessarily be carriedout in an orderly way. Table 1 shows some of the mechanisms for promoting reflectionthat are available to HE lecturers.</p><p>Like many other observers (Ghaye &amp; Ghaye, 1998) we believe the reflectiveconversation is key to the reflective process and that, within the context of teaching,at the very heart of such conversations is the consideration of values. They suggestthat through such conversations future teaching possibilities are potentially openedup to us, biases and blindspots can be detected and addressed and the whole value-ladenness of the practice of teaching examined (Ghaye &amp; Ghaye, 1998, p. 22). Inaddition to this emphasis on educational values they describe the attributes of a</p><p>Table 1. Reflective mechanisms available to HE lecturers</p><p>1. Individual self-reflection (often recorded in diaries and learning logs)2. Reflection on student evaluations3. Peer observation of teaching4. Reflective conversations with a mentor5. Reflective conversations with a critical colleague6. Joint reflective conversations on shared teaching experience</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>elle</p><p>nbos</p><p>ch] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:44</p><p> 05 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Co-teaching in higher education 493</p><p>reflective conversation as including moving reflections from the private to the publicdomain together with an empathetic interrogation of teachers experiences andanticipatory actions. It is interesting therefore to consider how effective the mecha-nisms shown in Table 1 are in promoting such reflective conversations between HElecturers.</p><p>Individual reflection</p><p>Our own experience suggests that the most commonly used reflective technique inHE is informal individual reflection and this has many benefits. However one of itsdifficulties, as Ward and Darling (1996, p. 90) note, is that teaching all too easilybecomes a solitary activity where isolated reflection on practice may become ritual-ized and stale. More particularly this mechanism suffers from the lack of challengeprovided by a critical other, who as Ghaye and Ghaye (1998) observe is likely to bemost useful in moving reflection from the private to the public domain. Indeed theprocess of engaging in a critical dialogue about ones practice is important not only inopening up ones reflections to public scrutiny but also, we would argue, in providingan ideal forum for collaborative learning.</p><p>This is not to suggest that individual reflection takes place in a social vacuum orwithout careful consideration of different perspectives. Where, for example,reflections are formalized by keeping reflective diaries or indeed made public whenpublished as part of a research process, there is often a very useful articulation ofthe development process making clear the different meanings that were consideredand the new understandings emerging. Even in these cases, in their exclusion ofthe dialectic process, they miss an ideal opportunity for collaborative and sociallearning and are thereby reinforcing the perception of teaching as a solitaryactivity.</p><p>Reflection on student evaluations</p><p>The addition of a different perspective on our teaching is routinely achieved by elic-iting and reflecting on student evaluations. Teachers have always relied on studentsreactions to inform their practice and their reactions in the classroom are critical inguiding what Schn (1983) refers to as reflection-in-action. The increasing use andformalization of student evaluations purports to provide HE lecturers with a morestructured mechanism whereby they can critically reflect on their practice. However,in our experience, these evaluations are most usually in written form and the teachersreflection on them is, again, usually solitary. Even where there is a group discussionwith students about their teaching/learning experience there is unlikely to be anopportunity for reflective conversations as the power differential between the teacherand students is likely to be influential in the interaction. Thus whilst consideration ofstudents perspectives must lay at the heart of any reflective process, the way they arecurrently elicited is unlikely to lead to a sense that a reflective conversation has takenplace.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>elle</p><p>nbos</p><p>ch] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:44</p><p> 05 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>494 J. Crow and L. Smith</p><p>Peer observation of teaching</p><p>In order to provide an outsider perspective on our teaching and an opportunity forformalized reflection peer observation often forms an integral part of the formal CPDof HE lecturers (Brown &amp; Ward-Griffin, 1994). Within our own university peerobservation involves the observation and evaluation of ones teaching by a colleagueor manager. Where the promotion of reflective practice is the prime aim of such peerobservations its success or otherwise depends on factors such as the motivation ofboth parties, the degree of trust and the power relationship between them and notleast, the skill of the observer in facilitating constructive dialogue and reflection in thedebriefing.</p><p>In order to maximize the usefulness of peer observation as a reflective tool thedebriefing needs, we would argue, to be in the form of a reflective conversation. Moreespecially it must consider aspects of teaching such as the espoused theories andvalues underpinning the observed teaching. However, we would suggest that the verynature of peer observation often militates against its use in this way for a variety ofreasons. For example, peer observation does not usually include a continuing rela-tionship between the parties and the relationship between observed and observer maybe transient. The immediate nature of the debriefing may also leave many emergentissues unexplored particularly as peer observations only give a snapshot of a personsteaching. There is little chance for the observer to see the development involved inmany learning and teaching relationships including the development of rapport witha group over time or the development of teaching strategies to meet particular groupneeds as they become apparent.</p><p>From our own experience we have found that feedback from a critical colleaguewho has observed us teaching can be useful, particularly in providing analternative perspective. However observers are rarely trained in the skills requiredto facilitate reflective conversations and thus discussion tends to remain at thelevel of descriptive reflection and consideration of the mechanical aspects ofteaching.</p><p>Reflective conversations with a mentor</p><p>Reflective conversations with a mentor may overcome the transient nature of thepeer observation but in our experience mentoring is usually only provided for newand less experienced teaching staff as a part of their induction into HE. Thus whereis does occur there is likely to be a notable power differential between mentor andmentee. This is not to say that equal status relationships are an essential character-istic of the reflective conversation or indeed that mentorship can not provide trans-formatory insights into teaching for both parties. However, the reflectiveconversation in this context is not about shared experience and nor is reciprocitynecessarily a feature of the relationship. We would argue that for these reasonsmentorship may not be the most effective way of attaining significant insights intoones practice. </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>elle</p><p>nbos</p><p>ch] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:44</p><p> 05 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Co-teaching in higher education 495</p><p>In summary our argument is that the main advantage that student evaluations, peerobservation and reflection with a mentor have as cata...</p></li></ul>