Self reflection often creates that moment helps you in the classroom. Collaborative reflection is even better. Collaborative dialogues held between teachers, between a teacher and students, or among students cause participants to share their reflections and outline their progress toward the increase of student achievement.
Time should be set aside at the end of a learning sequence—lesson, unit, school day, or year—for participants to question one another about what they have learned and how they can apply their knowledge and skills in future settings.
In an atmosphere of trust, well-crafted questions allow participants to reveal their insights, understandings, and thought processes: As you reflect on this semester’s work, which dispositions were you most aware of in your own learning? What meta-cognitive strategies did you employ to monitor your progress toward your desired outcomes? What insights have you gained that you will use in the future? The resulting dialogue allows staff and students to model and practice listening habits characterized by understanding and empathy, to communicate clearly, and to compose powerful questions.
I have found providing sentence stems might stimulate more thoughtful reflections during portfolio conferences (where reflection can be modeled) or as an option for those who need a “jump start” for reflections:
- I selected this piece of writing because. . . .
- What really surprised me about this writing was. . . .
- When I look at my other journal entries, I see that this piece is different because. . . .
- What makes this piece of writing strong is my use of . . . .
- Here is one example from my writing to show you what I mean. . . .
Developing habits of continual growth and improvement requires self-reflection. As we as individuals, staffs, and organizations reflect on our actions, we gain important information about the efficacy of our thinking. These experiences let us practice the habit of continual growth through reflection. With meditation, trust, consistent modeling, and practice, we and our students learn to listen to the internal and external voices of reflection, and in the process, our school communities truly learn by doing.
What are you doing for self reflection in your learning environment?