Using drawing, model making and metaphorical representations to increase students’ engagement with reflections


  • Nicole Brown UCL Institute of Education Department of Culture, Communication and Media
  • Aly Jafferani UCL Institute of Education
  • Vanessa Pattharwala UCL Institute of Education


Within the current higher education discourse regarding student-staff partnerships key elements reported on are the empowerment of students, the roles and responsibility of the partners in the co-construction of knowledge, and the student engagement and motivation through such partnerships. However, what is often not really considered is the nature and depth of students’ engagement. This article seeks to redress this gap by providing an example from a teacher education programme. At first, we provide a brief overview of the background and context of the teacher education programme, which forms the basis for this article. In the subsequent sections, we outline discourses around student engagement, whereby we will then focus on engagement in relation to reflective practices within teacher education. Subsequently, we provide insight into the use of creative activities to improve students’ conceptual understanding and application of reflective work. This will lead into an evaluative section where creative activities and student engagement will be discussed in a form that incorporates the points of view of two students (Aly Jafferani and Vanessa Pattharwala) and one member of staff (Nicole Brown). Our concluding thoughts will detail recommendations, next steps and the relevance of our experience for future work within the context of teacher education and higher education more generally.


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Author Biography

Nicole Brown, UCL Institute of Education Department of Culture, Communication and Media

Nicole Brown is Academic Head of Learning and Teaching and Lecturer in Education at UCL Institute of Education, and a doctoral researcher at the University of Kent. She holds the Magistra Philosophiae, Master of Teaching, Diploma in Translation and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Nicole is a qualified teacher in Austria and the UK and worked as a secondary teacher of modern foreign languages before moving into higher education. Her research interests relate to the generation of knowledge, advancing learning and teaching within higher education, physical and material representations and metaphors and identity and body work.

Contact details: Web site: Twitter: @ncjbrown @FibroIdentity @AbleismAcademia


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How to Cite

Brown, N., Jafferani, A., & Pattharwala, V. (2019). Using drawing, model making and metaphorical representations to increase students’ engagement with reflections. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 2(3), 26–33. Retrieved from