Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 December 2023


Reflection is a process where we look back at experiences in order to make careful considerations about them. Reflection enables us to make experiences meaningful. If we reflect regularly this creates an opportunity to learn from our experiences and continue to learn. This is called 'reflective practice'.  As you aim to become a more gender-sensitive educator, reflection is a process which can help you organise, understand and find new meaning from your experiences in the classroom. 

Stage 1: Familiarise yourself with SWOT!

The SWOT is a method of reflection which has four focus areas, specifically enabling you to think about strengths, weaknesses, any opportunities for you to improve teaching in the area of gender responsiveness and any threats that may prevent you from achieving this. It is important with this model to base your reflections not only on your own thoughts but also those of your students and any colleagues you may work closely with. 

Stage 2: Decide what you want to focus on

Reflective practice enables you to explore why things are as they are in the classroom or within your teaching practice and consider how you might adapt your actions and behavior through careful planning in order to become much more impactful. In terms of gender responsive pedagogy in your classroom, decide what it is that you want to do and set a goal. Perhaps you want to use more gender neutral language, implement restorative approaches to gender-based discrimination and bias from your colleagues or students, include more lessons focused on gender equality in your course - the options are endless and you must decide what is interesting and achievable for you and your context. 

Stage 3: Share your focus and reflection process

In a SWOT analysis the reflection should be a collaborative approach, decide who you will share your goal and the reflection process with. Ensure participants in this process whether they are your students or colleagues are comfortable to take part and have the time to do so. Decide when you will meet to discuss the reflection questions and how frequently. 

Stage 4: Identify Strengths 

Remembering to keep your goal focused on your gender responsive teaching skills and actions first identify the strengths connected to this goal. The following questions may help, but you can also create some of your own questions that focus on discussing and identifying your strengths. 

  • What was or is done well? 
  • What techniques, tools or practices are having a positive impact?
  • What do you/your students/ colleagues see as the strengths in what is already being done towards your focus? 

Stage 5: Identify Weaknesses

For this stage you need to explore areas that you could improve by reflecting on some of the following questions:

  • What could be improved? 
  • What techniques, tools or practices are having limited or negative impact?
  • What do you/your students/ colleagues see as the weaknesses or challenges in what is already being done towards your focus? 

Stage 6: Identify Opportunities

For this stage, you need to reflect on what is possible in relation to your gender responsive pedagogy area of focus and what may help you succeed. The following questions may help with this: 

  • How can the strengths be built upon?
  • What can be done to address the weaknesses?
  • What additional actions or approaches can help develop new strengths? 
  • What resources are available to develop the area of focus? 

 Stage 7: Identify Threats

For this stage, you consider what may prevent you from succeed with your gender responsive area of focus and action by reflecting on some of the following questions:

  • What could limit or challenge the opportunities? 
  • What else could prevent the area of focus from developing? 

Stage 8: Repeat SWOT Analysis with Critical Reflection

In order to ensure you can assess and make progress with becoming a more gender responsive educator, it is important to plan regularly times and opportunities to reflect. Reflection can help us to organise, understand and find new meaning from our experiences in the classroom. By using a model to help structure our professional development reflections, we can avoid the trap of ruminating by focusing too much on our weaknesses or not going deep enough with our reflections and simply reporting events. However, the use of the SWOT analysis will not be successful without ensuring we are thinking and analysing critically. As educators, we must approach opportunities to develop our competencies from a range of different perspectives, challenging our underlying views, knowledge and considering new ideas to move learning forward

Want to know more about the GLE Team?

In a groundbreaking initiative, the British Council, under the English Connects programme, undertook a transformative mission to champion gender-inclusive practices in Sub-Saharan Africa with a cohort of 41 dedicated teacher educators and teachers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. This dynamic group referred to as the GLE Team worked together to design this resource.

Read about our Creating Gender Pedagogy Resources for Teachers project: