Day 19 – How Students Can Reflect on Learning

Day 19 – Name three powerful ways students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Empowering students to take control of their learning means giving them tools to be aware of whey they stand in their learning journey and how they can make more of it happen.  But, to be honest, I clearly provide more ways of checking goal achievement, than tools and support for reflecting.

I think there are some very effective ways for students to think about how they need to direct their learning: guided group discussion, regular checklists, surveys and formative assessment. I think the whole classroom would benefit from incorporating some edtech tools to facilitate this action to happen on a regular basis in class.

What I mostly do now is talk a lot about their own learning; I try to motivate situations in class for them to reflect.

  • At the beginning of the school year I will always spend a class talking about student’s expectations and learning bios. I will often have students sit in groups and discuss how they feel about the school year, and their goals with the help of a series of prompts. “What are your goals this year?” “Wht are your strengths/weaknesses when learning a language?” “What are your favourite games or activities related to language learning?“If there were one skill you would like to be good at, what would it be?” It is very helpful because, regardless of learning stlyes (which I don’t get into) they have all had very different experiences with language learninng. They are given the chance to share their experiences, and hopefully, leave the class with an idea or two for the upcoming year. MOTIVATION: What are your goals is an activity I always on the first of class for everyone to stop and think for a while.
  • During  the course I basically talk to them about their progess, especially after they have handed in some assignment or test, and I’ll usually ask them questions to trigger reflection on their learning.
  • At the end of the course I always propose an end-of-year survery that features questions about the classroom, materials, etc but also about their learning experience. It is just as helful for me as it is for them. Some of the questions they are asked are What have been the most useful actions for learning?” What would you have done differently?” I think it is necessary reflection for them in order to verbalise and measure how they performed and get ready to step into a new stage of their learning process.

I’m sure I’ll learn a lot these days about ways for students to reflect with all the fabulous #reflectiveteacher bloggers!

4 thoughts on “Day 19 – How Students Can Reflect on Learning

  1. For those who don`t know her, let me tell you that Anabel is a truly inspiring teacher. She keeps smiling despite our fails. Having said that, I think some relevant questions to be asked to the students are: why are you here? Do you really want to learn English? or, is it just the degree what you want? We live in a demanding world where qualifications are important but what about skills? I would like to be one of her students this year but I can`t (there is no place for me) so I find all these new tools quite useful. I read this portfolio everyday and I really appreaciate her effort doing this.

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    • Hi Carmen,
      thank you again for such kind words! And for expressing your opinion as a student. It is so important for us to have that feedback. Yes, indeed the “why” will make all the difference as to the level of engagement of students…sometimes it is really challenging to get everyone rowing with the same interest…
      I’d love to hear some of your experience as well as a teacher; the context is completely different, I know… It would be great to hear, too 🙂

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  2. Being a professor at the university is quite different, as you know and, it depends on what you teach. Everybody assume Medicine is a vocational profession and, consequently, students and their professors should be motivated to study and investigate as much as possible but it is no longer true, at least, for most students and professors. All this new technology is outside there, at hand to be used. However, neither students nor professors are used to applying it so it is disappointed. Students just want the notes from your classes (I use slides and I facilitate them to them). I recommend books, I send links to web pages, I try to make them feel amazing and so on. Unfortunately I don`t think they always follow my suggestions. I don`t blame them. The system does not reward their efforts. When they finish their studies they have to pass an exam (a multiple choice test) to be a specialist. I always tell them: well, patients don`t come to the hospital with possible answers to their illnessess so it is not as easy as cross out the correct answer.

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    • Such an interesting comment you made! It is one of the big challenges in higher education, isn’t it? to make the training process prepare students for what they will encounter when they start work. I am not very informed about the precise characteristics of your teaching context, but I can tell it is probably very hard to engage students even in that situation, when they are choosing a career based on their interests and the deep conviction that it is what they want to make a living of. But, maybe that is the theory and as they move on in their studies they have to adapt to the circumstances and prioritize. I hope you are lucky finding the strategies to motivate them a little more!

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