Reflection is concerned with consciously looking at and thinking about our experiences, actions, feelings, and responses, and then interpreting or analyzing them in order to learn from them. That is a big statement and a hard topic for our students. So how are we as educators supposed to work towards helping our students reflect on their thinking / learning and that of others.
So first I ask, as teachers and educators do we spend time on self reflection. Do we have the time to look back at our day of learning and "reflect on the information we receive through observation, experience, and other forms of communication to solve problems, design products, understand events, and address issues." Yes that quote is straight out of our core competencies for critical and reflective thinking.
Yes I know every teacher is doing their self reflection in some way whenever they can but ho do we help students learn this process and see the benefits of reflection.
As a high school STEM educator, I always had reflection as part of my labs. We use our three go to questions for every lab:
What worked the best?
What needs to be tweaked?
What could we do to make it better?
This became common place in my classes and extended to all our work. Students would reflect on their own learning and ask each other to assess their work based on these questions.
As the new BC curriculum came around, I started to look at the self reflection during our projects. We have always looked at the process as more important. Photo journals or design changed diagrams or written reports were used to show their journey. But now we wanted to add in more self reflection along the way. After classroom discussions, it was decided that we would do weekly self reflection on large projects as a journal, blog or vlog. Students used the 3 questions to show their progress. The learning became very evident and assessment of their learning process was easier too.
I feel we need to all use reflection as part of our classroom routines and it wont feel so daunting in the end. It will make our assessment for, of and as learning much easier.