writing with ‘I’ is subjective – and that’s OK

Every year, with each new cohort of Masters of Teaching students, I get asked this question. To my mind the practice of critically reflective practice in teaching cannot be engaged with from an objective distance. Using Mason’s notion of noticing theory, my identity, experience, philosophy and perspective are all present in every pedagogical moment so the ‘I’ is unavoidable. Teaching and learning is a human endeavour, regardless of whether your default pedagogies are inherently behaviourist, constructivist or humanist (most commonly a combination of all three). The purpose of good critical reflection is to help us to reshape and refine our pedagogical practice in ways that strengthen the relationship between the learner and the learning. That is our role as teachers. So, to my teacher education students, yes, you must present in your reflective work. The ‘I’ is not only appropriate but necessary.


This is a response to the posts that have recently appeared on patter about writing in the first person (here and here). It comes from Alex Seal. Alex is a first year PhD student and graduate tutor at the University of Surrey in the Sociology department. His research interests centre on the choices students make in regard to their higher education and his PhD explores why UK students choose to study abroad. Alex is also deeply interested in research methodology, particularly the objective/subjective divide.

Reading Pat’s recent post on writing in the first person with ‘I’ brought back personal experiences writing undergraduate essays, postgraduate essays, and currently my PhD. I have always been fascinated with the views of others when it comes to writing in the first person. In my (albeit limited) experience of the academy I have already come across those in my own discipline (Sociology) who…

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Published by jloughli

Emergent academic.

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