Reflections and Wonderings
What are YOU wondering about when it comes to teaching and learning?
Every research project starts with a line of inquiry, and with SoTL, this inquiry most frequently stems from reflective practice. When we deliberately think about the ways in which our interactions, our instructional modes and methods, our course design, and our assignments impact our students and their learning and success, then we are acting as reflective practitioners.
These prompts can help you focus your reflections and begin articulating your wonderings:
- Are there aspects of your interactions with students that seem to be more meaningful/impactful than others?
- Why do some assignments work well, while others flop?
- Are you curious as to whether your instructional methods are having a positive impact on your students’ learning and engagement?
- Are you noticing trends among your students that suggest a weak/strong set of learning strategies you would like to explore?
- What student behaviors are you seeing that may be the result of an instructional catalyst?
The deeper your reflections, the more you may wonder. The more wondering, the more (potential) research questions!
Once you have identified what you’re wondering about, there are a few more things you should ask yourself:
- Is what you are wondering about focused on a course or a program, or is it focused more on specific processes or methods? Is it centered around faculty behaviors, student behaviors, or both?
- Is it something you are truly interested in or passionate about?
- Is what you are wondering about an attainable research project? (Think about data that can be collected, the time you have to do the research, the students/faculty you have access to, that sort of thing.)
- Can you translate what you are wondering into a research question?