Sustaining reflection in teaching and even integrating it across the curriculum in the midst of changes

By: Brook Sattler, PhD, CPREE multi-campus coordinator

Over the last four or five years there have been a number of changes on the ASU Polytechnic campus. They have experienced name changes, consolidations, exponential growth in the number of students, etc. Even with a record number of changes, they are continuing to focus on students and what it means to support deep learning and students’ ability to transfer their learning to different contexts.

On my visit to the Polytechnic campus, this mission was evident in every conversation I had. Educators were asking engaging questions—how do we integrate reflection across multiple sections of the same course, how do we integrate reflection across the curriculum, how do we reach engineering educators who are not interested in supporting student reflection, and what is the evidence base for reflection in engineering education? The depth of the questions shows that many educators at the Polytechnic campus already value the use of reflection in their classroom, and they often integrate reflection activities into their teaching.

During my visit, I worked with campus CPREE PI’s Kristy and Adam to host a workshop on reflection. In this workshop, we discussed reflection generally and the national and local CPREE goal. Then individual educators shared “reflection problems” they were trying to solve. The group helped one another brainstorm solutions to their “reflection problems.” It was an engaging conversation about reflection and supporting student reflection. I look forward to hearing how these educators addressed their “reflection problems.”

Overall, this was a great campus visit—Kristy and Adam are off to a fantastic start on the polytechnic campus! They are even starting a reading group around Linda Nilson’s book—Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills. During their second year of CPREE, they plan on reaching out to the ASU Tempe campus engineering faculty. While potentially challenging, this is a unique opportunity to reach a different population of educators—educators who may be a little more resistant to reflection in engineering education, educators who may be focused more on technical research, educators who may be focused on teaching the technical content, and educators who may want a strong (quantitative) evidence base for reflection, etc. I look forward to the exciting things Kristy and Adam have planned for their campus—a book club, mini-faculty grants, “train the professor” activities, and many more!