17. Being a reflective practitioner
Reflecting on our contribution to motivating international students
Throughout this chapter we have referred to the need to engage in reflective processes regarding our contribution to motivate international students. This can be aided by answering questions along the following lines:
- Did we manage to follow our session plan easily or did we feel we struggled? If not, how did we diverge from the session plan? In particular, did it take longer to present some part of the lecture?
- Were most students happy to work in groups? Did both international and UK students engage well in activities proposed?
- Did the students write down in groups what they were supposed to?
- Did a majority of students prepare for the lecture or tutorial?
- Did international students ask questions?
- Did international students contribute to the discussions?
- Were international students happy to share their experiences in plenary?
- Did we feel comfortable in answering questions?
- Did international students stay behind to talk to us?
- Did international students share any problems we need to investigate?
We can support our reflection by looking for indicators that international students perceive us as approachable, for example, that we are inspiring them to do work in their own time and that they feel able to contribute to group learning.
As McMahon (2007) puts it ‘No one wants to be a poor teacher; unfortunately, many do not start well.’ In our experience, it is very difficult, if not impossible to have an unbiased perception of our own lecturing and teaching. We need the input of others, including students and colleagues, to balance our perceptions with that of others. For example, being observed by a mentor or a more experienced colleague is useful to monitor our practice. Continuous development to be able to reflect on our performance is very important. We strongly recommend being filmed lecturing, as it can be a very powerful process for reflection and transformation of practice. The audiovisual services in our institution are normally happy to provide the equipment.