Professional dialogue

Professional dialogue is a process, similar to peer coaching, which supports individuals to plan, reflect and evaluate their own engagement with enhancing student learning.

The professional dialogue is a conversation, or a series of conversations, normally between peers, which explores an individual’s evaluation of their own practice, reviews or expands on existing personal development goals and considers how they may best be achieved through informal and formal development opportunities. The UK Professional Standards Framework may provide a useful guide to the nature of this reflective dialogue. The framework is structured in three dimensions: professional values, areas of activity and core knowledge. The Higher Education Academy provides support for HE providers to engage with the UK PSF, including case studies and resources.

Ideally, the professional dialogue occurs part-way through the cycle of personal development review, so that there is sufficient time to engage with the identified development opportunities during the same academic year. The choice of partner in the professional dialogue is open, but individuals are advised to make their selection based on the thematic area they have chosen to develop at that time.

A professional dialogue might be conducted one-to-one between colleagues, however the process could occur through a departmental ‘teaching circle’, or a group discussion within a course team, or at a conference. Alternatively, individual staff may prefer to select their manager in a coaching capacity, or someone from another disciplinary field or who has a different perspective on the student experience from their own. Some may wish to extend the discussion with their partners in the School peer enhancement scheme, or draw on the considerable expertise of Brookes Teaching Fellows or other leaders in learning and teaching. The outcomes of the professional dialogue are recorded in terms of how practice has been affected, and brought to the Personal Development and Review (PDR) discussion.