Students Reflecting on their Learning
Why is reflection an important part of learning?
Whilst most people engage in reflection on a daily basis, much of this occurs in quiet moments by ourselves. Most students are not used to reflecting on their learning in a structured manner. They need some help to develop skills in reflective thinking and writing. Whilst this skill may be new to them at first, they will become more familiar with it as they progress through Junior & Senior Cycle.
Through reflection ‘in’ and ‘on’ learning students can:
become more aware of the knowledge and skills that they have developed
identify strengths and areas for development
develop and action plan for future learning
gain greater understanding of themselves and how they learn
take more responsibility for their learning
Examples of how students can reflect on their learning:
Write about their learning
Talk about their learning
Set goals about their learning
Make a video diary about their learning journey
Teacher directed reflection activity / worksheet following a period of learning, topic etc.
Prompts for Student Reflection
Aligning with our School Improvement Plan
SIP Target: To Increase percentage indicators to show that students have adequate time to reflect on their learning and/or feedback from their teacher.
Actions to meet this target during 2021-2022:
Subject Depts. / individual staff to explore a range of strategies to encourage students reflect on learning or teacher feedback which is linked the learning intention(s) and / or success criteria.
Class periods in 2021/2022 are moving to 1 hour. A short timeslot will be allocated from each class period to allow students time to reflect on what they have learned using learning intentions or on feedback given by their teacher.
Subject Depts. will endeavour to align subject plans with this SIP target. In initial Subject Dept meetings, respective subject teams should discuss strategies which will facilitate students:
having increased time for reflection on their learning
to reflect on and plan the next steps in their learning
Strategies & Approaches
A learning log is a planned, purposeful, follow-up written response to their learning experience. These reflections can be kept online or in a special journal. They can enable a dialogue between the student and teacher on the learning journey. In some cases reflections might be shared in a small group or with a partner.
The purple pen for reflection
If you don’t want students to separate their reflections from their day-to-day learning, then you can ask them to use a blue/black pen when they are completing their work and a purple pen to write their reflections on their work. This will make it easier for them and for you to see their reflections in their copybooks.
Reflection and ‘self-talk’
Given our culture, students have difficulty realising that they need to engage in ‘self-talk’. To help students develop the internal voice of reflection, they can be asked to do the following:
Write a letter/text to themselves detailing what they learned from an experience.
Send themselves a letter of advice, reminding themselves what they can do to improve their learning/work next time they do something
This strategy gives students a structure to record their understanding of what they have learned.
It also gives teachers the opportunity to identify aspects of the lesson that need more attention, as well as areas of student interest.
Please see HERE and page 11 – Abbey VS Teacher Handbook, 2nd Edition.
This strategy serves several purposes: it elicits prior knowledge, it sets a purpose and it helps students monitor their progress.
By being aware of students' interests and prior knowledge the teacher has the ability to create projects and assignments that are challenging and that the students will enjoy. A KWL chart is a tool that can be used to inform teaching as well as guide student learning.
Please see HERE
At the end of class, students can be asked to write any questions, problems, concerns, or personal connections related to the day’s lesson. The exit slip can provide the teacher with some insights to help in planning the next day’s lesson.