Reflection: The Heart of Learning
Reflection is perhaps the most important thing in becoming self-directed, lifelong learners. It is the heart of 21st Century Skills, necessary for adaptability and innovation. It is paramount in shifting from reforming schools to transforming them.
Without reflection, learners might learn content, but they are not growing as learners. Yet, we do not give the space and time for students to reflect. I have been guilty of it myself, sacrificing reflection time for more content, because, well, I think it is so important for them to know it. And, I am wrong for doing so. So, why don’t we do it?
Some reasons we tell ourselves that causes us to skip reflection:
- It takes too long
- Students are not engaged or do not care
- Don’t know how
- Too much content to cover
- We might not really believe reflection matters
Reflection Made Easy
Well, there is a way to make it fun, fast, and deep. In Agile Classrooms, we reco
mmend having a Learning Rhythm,
reflecting at the end, perhaps every week or two. Some classrooms have effectively performed reflection every class period.
Here is one of my newest ones called Start/Stop/Continue. It only takes a few minutes to do. It can be done individually or as a group.
It asks 3 simple questions.
- What do I/we Start doing?
- What so I/we Stop doing?
- What do I/we Continue doing?
I find sometimes it is better to let them choose what area to reflect on. Other times, it is good to prompt them. You can prompt learners to think about the learning, themselves as learners, their learning group, and/or their learning environment (ahem,.. that last part might mean feedback on you as the teacher).
Reflection is not effective without a clear commitment to change. Learners should commit to at least one specific action they will do in the next week or two to continuously improve.
Here are some examples from an amazing student workshop on collaboration we had at Hope High School recently. Students completed these, in groups, in 5 minutes, and implemented their ideas for change right away.
Reflecting on Reflections
- What might be possible if you created opportunities for reflection more often?
- What kind of school would we have if had a culture of reflection?
- What do you have to stop, start, or continue to make it possible?
Your Call to Action
Please send me pics if you use them and share your story with us.