I am a student of reflection and believe in its power to inform and guide toward increased performance. Larissa Pahomov, author of the book Authentic Learning in the Digital Age: Engaging Students Through Inquiry, promotes reflection in the inquiry process. She indicates that meaningful reflection (pp. 108-113) should:
- Reflection should give students the opportunity to think about their thinking. Could this be better? How? What steps should I take? These types of questions help students better understand the thought processes that led them to their final outcomes and help them better prepare for future endeavors.
- Reflection should give the students the opportunity to think about what they are doing and apply the thoughts to the final product during the process of producing the product. I think of this in a similar fashion to formative assessment – when we test to see how students understand the content and adjust instruction according to the outcome of the assessment. I suppose I would term this formative reflection.
- Reflection is often viewed as a solitary act – an individual alone with his/her thoughts. The real power of reflection is revealed through sharing with another person, one who can help sort out the thoughts. In the classroom, students can think about what they have learned, what they would do differently, and share that information with one another. This leads to dialogue and further engagement in the content.
Are you creating opportunities for students to reflect on their learning processes and products? I believe if you build reflection into your classroom plans, students will engage at deeper levels and genuinely learn the content delivered.