Reflective teaching: How do I know if my students understand?

Professional Development

G01, Ground Floor Elisabeth Murdoch Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville


More Information

Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education

T: 03 8344 4605

Reflective teaching - How do I know if my students understand? How do I know if my teaching is effective?


Gaining feedback from students on their conceptual understanding of material (or alternatively their misconceptions) often leads to refinements in teaching practice in a cycle that is never truly completed. This ongoing cycle of reflective practice is itself the basis of how we, as university teachers, support our students to achieve quality learning outcomes, and can be used as an indicator of the quality of our own teaching.


Associate Professor Heather Verkade moved from a Teaching and Research position at Monash University to start a Teaching Specialist role here in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne five years ago. She has used the cycle of reflective teaching to uncover students’ misconceptions, to improve her teaching, and to advance her career progression as a Teaching Specialist. She also mentors other Teaching Specialists within the School and Faculty, on how to represent and describe the quality of their teaching.

Dr. Amber Willems-Jones is a teaching specialist and subject coordinator for the second-year practical biochemistry subject, Techniques in Molecular Science in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Amber’s passion lies in the development of inquiry-based learning tasks designed to improve student understanding through adaptive feedback. Amber’s teaching is also driven by the importance of promoting student self-regulated learning processes and self-reflection.