This paper considers critical reflection as a pedagogical strategy in UK higher education at a moment of an amplification of populist, reactionary discourses. It draws on written reflections of foundation-level students in a case study cohort and offers insights into their lived learning experiences and perceptions of the value of reflection. This is situated within the UK ‘Brexit’ context, alongside a proliferation of far-right populist voices, emboldened supremacies and rising fascism. Accompanying this has been a normalisation of reactionary ‘anti-social justice’ discourses. It is vital that HE practitioners recognise, pre-empt and interrupt such discourses, developing pedagogies and curricula in response. Yet there are inherent challenges in a climate of ‘post-truth’ anti-intellectualism. This paper argues that critical reflection contributes a useful approach to learning, fostering development of students’ personal, intellectual and political capacities to navigate this complex socio-political terrain and engage with social justice.
- higher education