SANTTUcurriculum vitae
12 Feb 2017

My self reflection on becoming an Associate Fellow in Higher Education Academy

I undertook the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (GCLT) course with the view of improving my standard of teaching and at the same time to feel confident while delivering the lectures in a classroom. My participation in the programme including module-1 and module-2, so far, has been fruitful as I was introduced to different aspects of the theory and practice of teaching and learning in higher education (HE).

About the modules

During the module-1, I have been introduced to 3D modelling using Legos and Playdoh for enhancing student engagement. This was indeed interesting as I was completely involved in solving a data science problem using Playdoh. I believe in the saying, “Pictures speak louder than words and actions speak louder than pictures”. This way of learning concepts by actually getting involved and solving using tangible materials are more beneficial in making students understand. In addition to the 3D modelling, a lecture on the “Learning from other professionals” was also very interesting. Moreover, I could learn from a stand-up comedian on how to make use of my emotions for the student engagement and also learnt how to keep the pace of my lecture, when delivering it to students.

The assignments at the end of the module was very beneficial, as I conducted a brief annotated bibliography on how technology can be used for student engagement. This assignment helped me to identify sources from highly reputed journals, which described both content and value. While readings those journals, I realised that there are indeed some slow learners in the classroom and I as a lecturer should cater for them whilst encouraging student–teacher engagement. Moreover, the action plan, part of the assignment, helped me to identify key areas of focus for my personal development. As a research fellow, I spend most of my time preparing for the research proposals, however, later in my career, I would like to see myself as a full time lecturer, therefore, there should be a good balance between teaching and research life. An action plan to me seems to be useful in achieving such a kind of balance. On the whole, module-1 helped me to become an independent learner, in terms of setting my own objectives with respect to UKPSF.

While module-1 focused on making me independent learner, module-2, gradually transitioned me to become a team (group) learner. This was done by allowing me to present a micro teaching session independently but at the same time I was able to gather valuable feedback from my peers and vice versa, providing me with a practical knowledge of making an assessment and providing the feedback.  This was followed by three group tutorials and one final group presentation. As a group, the tutorial sessions, exposed me to various teaching techniques, assessment feedback methods and university strategies in higher education with respect to everyday teaching not only in my field but also in other fields. We focused on the university’s current practices with managing large classrooms and addressed the need for a structure in the curriculum, for effective teaching and learning. I understood that teaching is not just transmitting lectures but engaging students in active learning by building their knowledge with right attitude and right skills. I also learnt that, raising Q&A’s as a part of active learning could ensure student engagement in classroom by making students do more than just listening (Bonwell and Eison, 1991).

Future plans

I would like to deploy the knowledge that I have gained through GCLT in my classrooms. For example, using brainstorming (Lammers and Murphy, 2002) and debate (Bonwell and Eison, 1991) sessions to promote student participation. However, in the context of larger classroom (>100) those techniques do not allow active participation of each and every student in the classroom, so I would use think-pair-share (McTighe & Lyman, 1988) technique to ensure active participation of each and every student i.e., by pairing and sharing their thoughts. I would also like to use technology such as Wi-Fi enabled devices including laptops and mobile phones as “clickers” (Katz et al, 2017) to obtain a real time feedback and provide on spot formative assessment. The same clickers can also be used for pausing the classroom lecture (Dong et al, 2017), and are beneficial to the slow learning students, providing safer environment for teaching and encouraging student-teacher engagement.

Moreover, the use of lecture recordings can also be used for both pre- (flipped classroom) and post-classroom understanding, enabling students to learn at their own speed and rhythm. However, research has shown a negative relation between using of lecture recordings in classrooms and student engagement, student-teacher, and student-student interactions. An awareness should be created among the students about the drawbacks of not attending the classroom lectures. I believe that technology could open several opportunities for formative assessment and also boosts engagement between the students and instructor as well as amongst the students themselves.


To summarise, both the modules 1 and 2 of the Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning course have been crucial in developing my approach towards teaching in HE. My reflections above with respect to UKPSF have focused on planning and supporting learning activities at the same time discussed on assessment and providing feedback to learners. Moreover, my reflections catered for respecting individual learners (slow learners) by promoting their participation in higher education. I am positive about the concepts that I have learnt during this course and with my inner reflections that are portrayed in this report will certainly have a positive influence in my own teachings.



  • Lace-Costigan, G., 2017. Perceptions of Play: Using Play-Doh to Enhance the Student Experience in Bioscience Higher Education. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 7(3), pp.26-37.
  • Katz, L., Hallam, M.C., Duvall, M.M. and Polsky, Z., 2017. Considerations for using personal Wi-Fi enabled devices as “clickers” in a large university class. Active Learning in Higher Education, p.1469787417693495.
  • Dong, J.J., Hwang, W.Y., Shadiev, R. and Chen, G.Y., 2017. Pausing the classroom lecture: The use of clickers to facilitate student engagement. Active Learning in Higher Education, p.1469787417707617.
  • O’Callaghan, F.V., Neumann, D.L., Jones, L. and Creed, P.A., 2017. The use of lecture recordings in higher education: A review of institutional, student, and lecturer issues. Education and Information Technologies, 22(1), pp.399-415.
  • McTighe, J. and Lyman, F.T., 1988. Cueing thinking in the classroom: The promise of theory-embedded tools. Educational Leadership, 45(7), pp.18-24.
  • Lammers, W.J. and Murphy, J.J., 2002. A profile of teaching techniques used in the university classroom: A descriptive profile of a US public university. Active learning in higher education, 3(1), pp.54-67.
  • Bonwell, C.C. and Eison, J.A., 1991. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. 1991 ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports. ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, The George Washington University, One Dupont Circle, Suite 630, Washington, DC 20036-1183.

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