Reflection is a powerful and essential tool in the learning process. Reflection acts like a scaffold, supporting the students current knowledge base and creating room for more depth and breadth of understanding moving forward.
Benefits of Reflection
Sometimes the hardest part of teaching, be it by an educator or a parent, is helping the student grasp why they need to understand a concept, theory or practice. Reflection helps provide the springboard for that understanding.
Reflection allows students to better understand how they are working or learning. It gives the student the opportunity to understand what they did well, where they might need to spend more time or what they might need to change, in their approach.
Reflection takes time and often, students think that once their work is complete, so is their learning. The process of reflection invites in critical thinking skills. Unlike memorizing information, taking the time to pause, reflect, make connections and wonder, concepts turn into owned understanding and knowledge that is carried forward with the student.
In this way, reflection provides students with the opportunity to come up with strategies and solutions as well as personal motivation to learn and enjoy the process- hopefully cultivating a love for life- long learning along the way.
Building the Scaffold
Backward Looking Reflection Questions
- How much did I know about the subject before I/we started?
- What process did I go through to produce this piece?
- Have I done a similar kind of work in the past (earlier in the year or in a previous grade; in school or out of school)?
- In what ways have I improved at this kind of work? In what ways do I need to improve?
- What problems did I encounter? How did I solve them?
- What resources did I use while working on this piece? Which ones were especially helpful? Which would I use again?
Inward-Looking Reflection Questions
- How do I feel about my work? Where could I improve? What did I do well?
- What was especially satisfying about either the process or the finished assignment?
- What was frustrating about it?
- What did I learn about myself ?
- Have I changed any ideas I have on this subject?
Outward-Looking Reflection Questions
- If I were the teacher, what questions or comments would I make about this piece?
- What is something I want people to notice when they look at my work?
- If someone else were looking at the piece, what might they learn about who you are?
Forward-Looking Reflection Questions
- What new information have I learned from this assignment that I will take with me?
- What's one goal I would like to set for myself for next time?
- What things I might want more help with?
- What surprised me about what I learned?
- Does my work truly reflect my effort? What do I need to keep in mind for next time?