In this paper I explore the ways in which my intellectual immersion in Paul Ricoeur’s distinctive critical hermeneutics has shaped my teaching practice. Like many academics, my teaching practice has evolved through practice rather than the application of formal schemas, and the principles underlying it for a long time remained implicit. As changing student demographics have brought the need for more explicit attention to fundamental academic language and learning skills to the fore, my efforts to embed ALL skills have prompted a reflection on the principles which have informed my intuitive practices. This reflection has brought to light both the Ricoeurian hermeneutical principles which have already, albeit implicitly, shaped my teaching, and those which might profitably be incorporated. I draw out some implications for teaching to be drawn from his reworking of the ‘hermeneutical circle’ into the notion of the ‘conflict of interpretations’, his notion of the interplay of innovation and tradition, and his take on the relation between understanding and being.