Reflective practice and student satisfaction: never the twain shall meet?

Anne Pirrie*, Stephen Day

*Corresponding author for this work

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The focus of this article is the inter-relationship between two canonical notions in contemporary education discourse: ‘reflective practice’ and ‘student satisfaction’ in the context of the marketisation of higher education across Europe and the concomitant emphasis on student autonomy and institutional competitiveness. Drawing on the work of Jan Masschelein and Tim Ingold, the authors offer a critique of contemporary attempts to reanimate the notion of reflective practice. Drawing upon the work of Sharon Todd, the authors explore the theoretical underpinnings of contemporary approaches to reflective practice and suggest that these betoken an implicit commitment to a vision of education as a process of transmission rather than of educating the gaze. They trace the aetiology of the former back to the direction of education policy in the decades since the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy. They conclude that a nuanced approach to reflective practice entails a consideration of student satisfaction and fundamental shift in emphasis from epistemological or methodological towards existential concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-496
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
Early online date24 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


  • Arendt on thinking and judgement
  • Neoliberalism in Higher Education
  • Poor pedagogy
  • Reflective practice
  • Student satisfaction


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