Reflective practice in the STEM disciplines

Deep and reflective thinkers in our society and history are often those that come from the STEM disciplines. However, modern day education and exam systems are forcing students to be passive thinkers, accepting information, and not allowing time to acknowledge academic, personals and professional achievements. To tackle these issues, a reflective portfolio was designed and embed into the curriculum in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. The session will discuss lessons learned from the process of implementing the portfolio aiming to support student learning. It will present a cross institutional project that is investigating the use of portfolios within UK universities and highlight case-study findings from students who have used the portfolios. The session would like to explore discussion on reflection in STEM teacher education to inform practice across the disciplines.

Dr Alison Cullinane is the Portfolio Director at the School of Biological Sciences. In this role she has creative control to design reflective portfolios for undergraduate programmes, which are administered to over 700 students each semester. She is the principal investigator on a project investigating the use of portfolios in Schools of Biological Sciences in universities the UK. The project looks at best approaches for supporting students’ reflective practice. Alison previously held a lecturing position at the Department of Education, University of Oxford, where she maintains supervision of her masters and PhD students through her Honorary Norham Fellowship.