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Encourage Reflection

For: Teachers

Tags

Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset Elementary School Strategy

Skills

Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory Abstract Reasoning Visual Memory

Encourage Reflection

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.
— Dalai Lama

Daily reflection is an effective way for students to solidify the day's learning, build awareness of their interests and motivations, and address unresolved problems. While daily reflection is the ideal, you can easily modify this strategy based on the amount of time you have available.

How To Apply It!

  1. Explain why. Discuss the importance of thinking back on what we did each day, including what we learned, what we liked or what was hard. Reflection enhances our learning by making connections. It also helps us think about our unique interests and motivations so we can discover what we truly enjoy most.
  2. Set aside time. Have students spend 5 minutes a day, at least three times a week on reflection. Reserve specific time for reflection such as at the end of class or as part of homework.
  3. Create a "reflection card". An index card could include a calming picture (e.g. sunset) or up to 3 reflection questions that will help students reflect. Sample reflection questions: What did I learn today that was most interesting? What would I like to find out more about? How else can I explore this interest? What was hard for me? What questions do I have? How did I handle a challenging situation with friends? Who did something today I admired? Cards should be limited to 3 questions. They might be different for each student or change over the course of the year.
  4. Model use of "reflection cards". Students should use their cards as a guide. The questions can just serve as a jumping off point in their thinking without feeling obligated to answer each one. Since you want students to focus on reflecting, not writing, encourage them to just think about their answers rather than writing them.
  5. Share reflections. Encourage students to share and discuss reflections with you, their parents or in groups. If there is no class time to discuss, encourage them to jot a note or draw a picture of what they want to share later so they do not forget. Be certain to make time later to listen and discuss.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Research clearly shows that when we take time to reflect on what we have learned or seen, we are far more likely to retain the information in long-term memory, create connections to past experiences, and enhance our overall understanding. Reflection also helps build self-awareness, including realizing our true interests and motivations. Reflection gives students an opportunity to really think about what is important to them, rather than what is important to the adults in their lives or their friends.