Reflective Sharing of Educational Practice (RSEP) is our new ‘Peer Review’30 January 2023
What is RSEP?
In the Education Fellowships team, we are always trying to refine our understanding of what we mean by reflection, and often look to the definitions in literature and research to support our principles.
Reflective Sharing of Educational Practice (RSEP) is a reflective activity where there is a thoughtful consideration of teaching practice with the intention of further developing and improving teaching and learning experiences. Peer review is similar in nature to RSEP which can be understood as a quality enhancement process to support and improve the quality of teaching by sharing good practice among academic staff (Advance HE, 2017).
Reflection is an integral part of this process, understood as ‘a deliberate and conscientious process that employs a person’s cognitive, emotional and somatic capacities to mindfully contemplate past, present or future actions in order to learn, and to better understand and potentially improve their actions’ (Harvey, Coulson and McMaugh, 2016 cited in Advance HE 2020 p12).
Reflective practice focuses deeply on the dialectic process that integrates thought with action, often related to ‘a dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skillful’ (Schon 1987, p31, cited in Osterman 1990 p134). Reflective practice is a professional requirement that involves self-awareness, collaboration and transformation. To be effective, this approach has a focus on reflecting on practice and staff collegiality, rather than focusing purely on an observation or being a mechanical tick-box exercise (Advance HE, 2017). At Cardiff University, with our focus on RSEP as a form of formative peer support to enhancing teaching, we encourage you to take the opportunity to engage with it to develop your teaching practice in an inclusive and supportive manner.
How is RSEP different from ‘Peer Review’?
At Cardiff University, we have chosen to focus on RSEP which sits on the more formative spectrum of reviewing and reflecting on practice. Like peer review, it does support and unpick elements of pedagogical decision-making and the impact on student learning, however, the focus in RSEP is not on a critique of teaching, but rather on the sharing of positive elements that created the teaching and learning experience. RSEP is a collaborative and developmental activity between professionals.
Why is RSEP important?
- progresses learning for us as professionals and educators as well as improves the learning experience for students
- provides opportunities to further understand the pedagogic decisions made by others and reflect on our own practice
- develops sustainable learning practices by helping us to reflect on our decisions, informing future decision making
- RSEP is a requirement for the Education Fellowship portfolios at every level
How does RSEP work?
Step 1: The RSEP partners meet to discuss a chosen resource or artefact from each person in the RSEP group. This will be something that each one of you has created to support learning such as a PowerPoint, a recorded lecture, an assessment etc. You will in turn be both the reviewer and the reviewee.
Step 2: When you are the ‘reviewer’, this involves reviewing your RSEP partner’s resource/artefact through engaging with it and discussing the pedagogical implications of it with your RSEP partner before writing about your reflections on what this means for your own practice, i.e., how can your own practice improve from engaging in this exercise? When you are the ‘reviewee’, this involves writing about what you have learned from the feedback from your partners, and how this will impact your future practice. In the Education Fellowships, this process is supported by a form to support and guide the discussion.
What can I use as a stimulus for in the RSEP task?
- learning materials (e.g. PowerPoint slides, learning activity, session plan)
- an online or face-to-face observation of teaching or supporting learning
- an assessment you have designed
- an assessment you have marked/provided feedback
- a video recording of a session/workshop/lecture
- a draft learning resource you are developing/thinking about using
- think carefully about what aspect of your practice you would like to be the focus of the reflection and what would benefit you and your students
- talk to your mentor about your ideas for the RSEP to help you decide on the focus
- connect/communicate with your partners (duo or trio) early on to give yourself enough time to complete the RSEP for your portfolio submission.
For more information on RSEP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to support you.
Peer review of teaching: A rapid appraisal | Advance HE (advance-he.ac.uk)
Osterman, K. F. (1990). Reflective Practice: A New Agenda for Education. Education and Urban Society, 22(2), 133–152. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013124590022002002
AdvanceHE (2020) Reflection for learning: a scholarly practice guide for educators. Available from: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/reflection-learning-scholarly-practice-guide-educators
Schön, DA (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
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