n South African Journal of Higher Education - Reflections on teaching and implications for Higher Education in South Africa : an autobiographical account

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



According to Martin, Benjamin, Prosser, and Trigwell (1999), the scholarship associated with teaching consists of three related activities which integrate the key functions of higher education, namely engagement with the existing knowledge on teaching and learning; self-reflection on teaching and learning in one's discipline; and the public sharing of ideas about teaching and learning within the discipline. This article attempts to address these three aspects. In this account I reflect systematically on my teaching as it has developed over three decades. I reflect on my actions and those of my learners and later my students; I make careful judgments about my observations, while integrating insights gained from related research; I (re)evaluate the intended educational outcomes - all in an attempt developed a 'scholarship of teaching', but more specifically pedagogies that will optimize the learning of my students.

These reflections, however, cannot be isolated from my lived experiences - those from my childhood, the teachings that I received, and the teaching in which I have been involved in the past. Likewise, my thinking about my thinking of and on teaching cannot be divorced from my role as a teacher educator and the local realities that teachers face. I will start my reflections by going back to my experiences in my first teaching post. This will be followed by reflections on my experience as a teacher educator in the former colleges of education, on my time at a provincial education department and then on my current teaching. I will end this narrative by attempting to synthesise my personal reflections against the background of my perceived academic task.

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