Building opportunities for reflection throughout the lesson, and incorporating multiple modes of reflection, can support student learning, engagement, and growth. This document shares ways to think about, structure, and incorporate reflection into your lesson.
Mix up the groupings for reflection. Invite students to reflect individually, in pairs, small groups, and as a class.
Use a “What? So what? Now what?” structure to encourage students to think about what they did, why they did it, and what they can do next.
Incorporate moments for quick reflection throughout every lesson, and times for more in-depth reflection periodically over the course of your entire class and residency.
When Do You Use Reflection?
There is no set time for reflection. You can use it at different times from lesson to lesson and activity to activity. Reflection offers students time to pause and consider what they have experienced, or learned, and to review and evaluate what happened. It can be helpful to use reflection
at the end of each lesson;
at the end of a project/residency;
multiple times throughout a lesson;
after something new has been introduced in the lesson;
as a way to discuss an issue on a deeper level;
when there is discussion around a difficult theme;
when a challenging moment that impacts students and educators arises, either in the classroom specifically, or outside of the classroom;
or any combination of the above!
Building in opportunities for reflection throughout the lesson, and incorporating multiple modes of reflection, can support student learning, engagement, and growth.
There is an experience (in the form of an activity/lesson) in the classroom. Now you can question the students: “What happened? What did we do?”
Reflect on the experience to review and evaluate what happened. For example, students ask themselves, “What did I experience?”
Generalize and ask, “Why did this happen?”
Apply through active experimentation. “Consider, what will you do? What will taking action look like?”
Individual: Students can be given time to journal, draw, or meditate for the last five to 10 minutes of class, responding to reflection prompts.
Partner Share: Students pair up and share their thoughts on reflection prompts together. They can also be given the option to write their reflections and read these to each other.
Small Group Share: Break the class up into small groups and have them discuss the reflection prompts. If possible, have an educator join each group.
Large Group Share: If possible, sit in a circle and reflect as a group on the experience. Decide how you will identify who is talking. For example, ask students to raise their hands or pass a talking object.
Reflection at Home: Students can be asked to take a moment at home to reflect on the lesson. They can choose a modality (writing, drawing, dancing, preparing a monologue) that they feel comfortable sharing with the class during the next session. This may be a good model to use when your residency or class is coming to an end.
원격 교육 및 학습 팁
You can create breakout rooms for small-group reflection on some digital platforms. It may be a good idea to plan out the breakout rooms (the amount or who’s in each room) in advance if you need to have supervision from a Classroom Professional in each breakout room, or need a Classroom Professional to make the breakout rooms.
Non-Verbal Reflection Methods
Ask a series of “Yes/No” or “True/False” questions. Each student will answer accordingly with a thumbs up indicating “True” or “Yes,” or thumbs down for “False” or “No.” Ask students to elaborate on their answers.
Get your students reflecting on their feet. Place answer signs in each corner of the room (e.g., “Yes,” “No,” “True,” “False,” “I’m not sure”). As you ask questions, students will move to the corner that matches their answers. Ask students to elaborate on their answers.
Ask students to respond to a reflection question as if it were a 140-character tweet. Hashtags and @’s encouraged!
Students can work on their own or as a group to create a tableau or tableaux sequence that responds to a specific prompt. Students should also be prepared to share a caption for their image with hashtags.
Each student gets a piece of paper. Students will have two to five minutes to respond to your reflection question(s) in writing or drawing. Then yell, “3, 2, 1 snowball!” and students will throw their snowballs across the room. Each student will pick up an anonymous snowball and read it aloud to the class.
Post chart paper up around the room and ask either an educator or student to scribe. Ask students to “popcorn” out responses and/or words. You can also post chart paper throughout the room with different questions/prompts and allow students to move freely around and write or draw their responses to the questions/prompts, directly on the papers or using Post-it notes.
Ask students to pick three words to describe how they feel after an activity. Then ask students to make poses to represent each emotion they chose, and string them together so that they become a dance or continuous gesture. Ask students to find a partner to share with. Students can teach one another their moves or make a new sequence combining their gestures.
Students can keep reflection journals and as a ritual following an activity, students can write or draw about their experience. You can keep this open-ended or use reflection prompts.
원격 교육 및 학습 팁
You can use a tool, such as Poll Everywhere, Padlet, Mentimeter, etc. to create an interactive, real-time generator of a word cloud for students.
Incorporating Reflection Throughout the Lesson
When reflection is incorporated throughout the lesson, you are able to constantly check in on students’ engagement and progress, particularly for students who are less verbal. You can integrate some of the models already mentioned above. Here are a few more ways to integrate reflection throughout the lesson.
What did we just do?
Did everyone understand?
Take the time to address conflicting answers.
As a group, take one (or a set number, such as three) collective breath. This helps to reset the tone in the room.
Now ask: “Are we ready to move on?”
Take the time to address conflicting answers.
Ask students to respond to how they feel about what they just did by using emojis. Start by modeling for the class: Make an expression with your face/body that captures how you feel (e.g.,, surprised, happy, sad, angry, thumbs up/down, shrugging shoulders).
Take some time for everyone to look around the room at the group’s reactions, and discuss what they see.
All of these models could and should be adapted to best fit the needs of your students and the tone of your lesson.
원격 교육 및 학습 팁
You can take advantage of your class chat as an ongoing reflection strategy, using emojis, one-word reflections, etc. Another possibility is to incorporate polls (interactive Google Forms/Zoom polls, third-party interactive forms like Padlet/Poll Everywhere, and more basic “show of hands”) to utilize the digital tools as part of your reflection strategies for a synchronous remote class. You can also bring in other nonverbal reflection responses using reaction buttons, thumbs up/down, etc.
Basic Structure for Reflection Questions
Ask some questions that provide time and space for your students to think about what they learned and experienced (both academically/artistically and socially/emotionally) during your lesson.
“What happened during this lesson?”
“How did it make you feel?”
“What was hard?”
“What was easy?”
“What did you like?”
Ask some questions that help your students think about why they did what they did.
“What did this lesson teach us?”
“Why was it valuable/important?”
Close out this debrief with space to reflect on how what your students learned can be applied outside of school.
“How can we use what we learned today outside of school?”
Encourage your students to speak from their own experience and perspective by using I-statements when speaking, and not making generalizations about what was happening to others. An example of an I-statement is: “I was feeling very bored during this lesson,” as opposed to: “This lesson was boring.”
You can also use the debrief to get input and suggestions from your students on the lesson overall.
During the course of the reflection, you may become aware of issues that need to be explored more deeply with your class. Here are some suggestions for digging deeper on issues.
Ask open-ended questions: “How was that for you? How did you feel?”
Focus on feelings: “What is everyone feeling right now?”
Monitor verbal and nonverbal cues: “It seems like people aren’t paying attention here. What is going on?”
Test out perceptions: “During this lesson, it seemed like people were getting frustrated. Is that true?”
Share your feelings: “I am confused. How do other people feel?”
Ask: “What did you or someone else do in the activity that surprised you?”
Reflections can be as short or in-depth as you need them to be. Define what you need for each lesson and how it will benefit the students for the duration of your time together.
Reflections can be an integral part of SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and Healing-Centered teaching. If a challenging situation arises, either inside the classroom or outside the classroom (for example, if there is an emergency in the school that disrupts the lesson), you might want to use a reflection activity to help everyone process the experience, while always being mindful of students’ level of comfort sharing their reflections.
A next step could be for you to integrate your students’ reflections into your curriculum development.
What modifications can be made to support students based on their reflections?
Integrating self-reflection as part of your teaching practice is also likely to benefit your students. Here are some GIVE resources to support you.