Active learning in higher education as a restorative practice: a lecturer’s reflections

Emma Roberts


The critique of the ‘sage on the stage’ approach to university teaching is particularly relevant for applied fields such as business management where a ‘guide on the side’ approach can instead encourage more active participation from students. A module on People Management for second year degree students was modified to involve a greater proportion of student-centred, active learning activities relative to lectures and supported by the participatory mechanisms offered by Restorative Practice. This paper offers a reflection on how developing higher education (HE) pedagogy towards reducing reliance on lecturer defined content shifts both students and lecturers out of their comfort zone. The process of students moving towards greater responsibility seems to require points of abandonment in which a hiatus occurs between student expectation of tutor support and the realisation that self-responsibility is required. In the current context of greater measurement of student satisfaction in HE, this poses a challenge for individual academics as well as universities. Disruptive and transformational learning experiences require relational support if they are to be successful and academic staff deserve appropriate development opportunities to become more aware and familiar with the new discomfort of the HE classroom.


pedagogy; restorative practice; university learning and teaching; active learning; higher education

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ISSN: 1759-667X