We have been learning to reflect on our learning in Room 5. It needs a bit of teaching to show students how to be reflective. I know that reflective process does not come all by itself. I have myself learnt to be a reflective teacher over the years. My students were learning and solving problems in class but I needed to take their learning further, by making them think metacognitively about the strategies they were using to solve problems. I wanted them to know and discover and identify for themselves, ‘where to next’ in their learning. As I have said earlier, one has to get trained to become reflective so I started by asking some simple questions of my students, for example:
What were you learning and why?
• What were the tricky bits and why?
• What new did I learn today?
• What helped the learning to happen?
• Who needs more help and what needs to be re-taught?
I had to convince my students that all learning is difficult and it is all good to share your experience of learning with others. It is an opportunity to discuss how one solved the problem and to learn from others the strategies they have used to solve the same problem.
“Metacognition is what people know or think about their own thought processes and is the individual monitoring of one’s own thoughts.” (Hacker & Dunlosky, 2003)
In the beginning students were very hesitant and became conscious as they talked about their thinking process. It was difficult for some of them to put it into words because of limited English. For such students I developed some sentence starters that they could use to share their strategies. Slowly, the more confident ones set examples for others and more and more students started to participate. As students started sharing their thinking process, it made me aware of the strategies that my students were using to solve problems. Students benefitted from listening to each other as they got ideas from each other. Reflection for students worked for my students to consolidate their learning, to recap on the ‘why’ of the learning, to give students opportunities to discuss strategies for learning, and possible ‘tricky’ bits and to establish a ‘where to from here’. I would not say that at this stage I have all my students participate in the reflective process. It is just the beginning…
adapted from: www.minedu.govt.nz
Student prompt cards for identifying where they are at with their learning.
1. I really need help.
2. I understand bits and pieces.
3. I get it and can work by myself.
4. I can do my work and can help someone else if needed.