An exploration of how creative arts lecturers in higher education talk about reflecting on their teaching

  • Annamarie Mckie

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


There is considerable literature on the concept of reflective teaching and the importance of reflective practice for developing as a teacher in higher education. However, few studies have explored the content and premise for reflection - how and what lecturers reflect upon in relation to their local contexts for teaching. Without an appreciation of these stimuli, academic development initiatives to encourage teacher reflectivity may lack authenticity in the setting of everyday teacher reflection. This thesis takes a unique stance to this gap in knowledge, by exploring how creative arts lecturers talk about reflecting on their teaching through their own words, phrases, metaphors, events, experiences, and incidents. The focus on creative arts provides an opportunity to gain a critical understanding of some of the forms, interpretations and underpinning values of teacher reflectivity that are more attuned to creative arts educational practices. The research inquiry uses a qualitative-interpretive methodology to explore the reflective teaching talk of ten lecturers working in two specialist creative arts universities in the south of England. To align with the intention of the research to gather more contextualised responses to reflection, a social-constructivist theoretical framework has been developed. This framework is based on existing literature, which takes into consideration the sociocultural (teaching and learning norms and practices, cultures, and conventions) and structural conditions (institutional policy and practice, external regulations, and environment) mediating the talk. The research findings highlight that pedagogic theories and concepts used in reflective teaching can be alienating for dual professionals in higher education, where reflection and practice may be understood through a disciplinary or practitioner-based lens and where lecturers may be seeking more meaningful pedagogic expressions that relate to their values and beliefs in creative education. The research encourages a foregrounding of disciplinary discourse (and associated practices), as a means of more authentically engaging academics in conversations about teaching that are embedded in the context of real-world relationships, opportunities, and constraints. By highlighting the socio-cultural contexts and structural conditions of the reflective teaching talk, the research presents new forms of practice-based academic development for developers working in higher education settings.
Date of Award28 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorAlaster Scott Douglas (Director of Studies), Anthony Thorpe (Co-Supervisor) & Julie Shaughnessy (Co-Supervisor)


  • Reflective teaching
  • Creative arts pedagogy
  • Reflective dialogue

Cite this