The minder: Stories of reflective practice in scholarly teaching

By Dr Katherine Herbert, Lecturer in Blended Learning, School of Business

In a recent interview [], Jess Brownell (2024) (showrunner of the hugely popular Netflix series Bridgerton) talked about the importance of having three types of people in a writers’ room. The three types are ‘Grinders’, ‘Finders’, and ‘Minders’. The ‘Grinder’ is someone who throws in new ideas, new characters, or new storylines. The ‘Finder’ is the big idea thinkers and innovators. Finally, the ‘Minder’ is the person who seeks connections between old and new ideas; considers how new constructs necessarily build on past experiences and storylines.

Having collaboratively worked across many teaching teams in various faculties and schools in our institution, I can certainly say that these three types of people are also present in the many rooms where learning and teaching is discussed, developed and designed. In particular, the role of ‘minder’ is one that is essential to our work in learning and teaching. It not only encapsulates the reflective practice, whether mindfully or subconsciously, that underpins many teaching team conversations; it also becomes the metaphor of the importance of reflective practice in our scholarly teaching journeys. Let me explain by giving examples of the ‘minder’ at work in our institution.

While many of us use QUASAR [] as a platform to capture the learning experiences designed into your subjects each teaching session, your input into the system creates a space for you to be ‘the minder’ of this subject. If you haven’t already come across this insightful blog post by Dr Rubina Ahmed [] , I encourage you to read it. It provides a very good example of what Brownell describes as the connector of past experiences and new constructs.

Another example of where ‘the minder’ is at work, is the Teaching Academy’s ‘Change One Thing Award’ [].  This award recognises teaching practices that are both innovative and practical. As the title of the award points out, it focuses on singular, small yet very impactful changes that enhanced the teaching practices and learning experiences of those involved. If you visit the past recipients’ stories [], what you will find are stories of ‘minders’ drawing from their reflections of what worked and didn’t work in the teaching of their particular subjects, and from those learnings, implementing new and informed teaching practices. Prof Yeslam Al-Saggaf and I found that writing up the experience of the application of the learning experience in our particular subject provided us with insight into how better to implement the change in its next iteration [].

The ’minder’ role does not sit in isolation, in our institution the various research centres [] provide this space where the nexus of research and teaching application meet intentionally and is encouraged across disciplines and specialities.

If you were paying attention and mindfully reading this post, this post is in fact my way of being the ‘minder’, reflecting on the importance of finding those connections and moving forward with new insights. To end this post, I share with you a digital story resource I created as part of my Masters degree at CSU, a few years back. The idea was to present a learner with a photograph and drawing from their own experiences, they were asked to describe what they saw in the photograph, both literally and emotionally. If nothing else, this video captures the message of this post.