Original Research

Reflecting on more than 20 years of involvement in a postgraduate higher education qualification for academics: May I dare use an auto-ethnographic lens?

Pieter du Toit
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 14, No 2 | a481 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v14i2.481 | © 2018 Pieter Du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 October 2017 | Published: 03 December 2018

About the author(s)

Pieter du Toit, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, South Africa


As a proponent of action research for more than 20 years, I reflect on my scholarship of higher education using an auto-ethnographic lens. The research reported focuses mainly on my facilitating of learning as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, one of the largest residential universities in South Africa. Through informal educational professional development I am involved in offering workshops to academic staff and become involved in complementing research projects. I am the coordinator of the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE), a mainstream educational professional development programme offered at the Faculty of Education. The objectives of the study are to make public my reflecting on my reflection, which forms part of my action research. I do this with a view to encouraging practitioners of action research to do the same. An action research spiral is executed, complemented by cycles of reflection. Quantitative and qualitative data are collected. In this article the focus is on qualitative data. It comes in the form of narratives and visuals. The visuals include brain profiling. Narratives are derived from student feedback. The underpinning epistemology is constructivism. By means of the action research teaching practice is enriched. A higher order of reflection is promoted – identified as scholarly meta-reflection. All scholars of higher education and action research should take a meta-level approach to reflecting on practice: within an action research paradigm – reflecting on reflection at a high level of scholarship.


action research; authentic learning; auto-ethnography; constructivism; facilitating learning; objects; professional development; self-regulated professional learning; scholarship; thinking preferences


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