As students are active participants in their own learning rather than passive users of teacher-delivered knowledge, optimal learning happens. Students must think about their learning in order for this to be effective. I recently worked with a group of teachers who believed their young children were incapable of producing significant end-of-semester reflections. That could be the case. However, only if reflection and meta-cognition are not a fundamental component of their students’ learning.In your classroom or online classes, it’s never too early to prioritise reflective learning. Incorporating early and frequent reflections into your student’s learning can make a great difference. Retrieval (bringing to mind newly acquired knowledge), elaboration (relating new knowledge to what you already know), and generation (reframing key ideas in your own words or visualising and mentally rehearsing what you may do differently next time) are among them.” Furthermore, frequent reflection increases awareness of abilities learnt and aids in the consolidation of learning experiences.
How Does Reflection Help You and Your Students?
It encourages students to take control of their own education:
- Allowing students to discuss their achievements, problems, and even moments of confusion enables them to concentrate on their own personal strengths and limitations.
- They become aware of the talents they have mastered as well as those that require further refinement.
- This encourages kids to become more invested in their educational prospects, as well as the goals they strive to achieve and the activities they engage in to get there. Learners can then take control of their own education.
- It strengthens the links between learning experiences.
- Reflective learning allows students to take a step back from their learning experience, allowing them to improve their critical thinking abilities and future performance by evaluating what they have acquired and how far they have progressed.
- Learning-by-thinking allows students to connect their past learning experiences. Learners can better identify where certain activities have improved specific skills or helped them better understand a concept by analyzing this information.
Three Ideas To Implement Learner Reflection
We empower children as learners and thinkers when we give them time and space to reflect. Reflecting on a lesson or their own progress encourages students to develop critical thinking abilities that they can use to solve problems and learn on their own.
Here are some excellent techniques to ensure that kids in the classroom have opportunities to engage in critical and reflective thinking:
Routines of Thought
These straightforward but effective protocols can be implemented in any classroom. They aid in the visibility of thought while facilitating a greater understanding of curriculum information. These routines are simple to add to a lesson or activity, and they don’t require any specific resources or even a lot of extra time to implement. Over the course of several years, they have been researched and classroom-tested.
Students’ replies can be shared in a variety of methods, including verbally, on post-it notes, or on a computer. What matters most is that students have the opportunity to participate in these critical thinking activities on a daily basis–to make them routine.
I used to think… but now I think…
This thinking exercise encourages students to consider how and why their perspectives on a topic have evolved over time. To begin, have students explore their first opinions and/or beliefs about a topic and use the sentence stem “I used to think…” to describe them. Then, at the end of a course or unit, have students express how their thinking has changed, beginning with “But now, I think…” Inquire about the reasons behind their shift in perspective.
Students are encouraged to relate their initial thoughts on a topic to further information through this thinking practice. Students first express three thoughts, two questions, and one analogy related to a study topic. Students then share another “3, 2, 1” after engaging in a learning experience (which may include extra learning content and/or new thoughts). Students describe how their previous knowledge “connects” with their new ways of thinking. It is critical to convey to pupils that their initial thoughts are not “wrong”–they are simply a starting point.
Notebooks with two sides
This strategy, which is also known as “interactive notebooks” or “double-entry journals,” values both the inputs and outputs of students’ learning experiences. On one side (input), students capture content/notes, and on the other side (processing), they process the content (output). Some teachers use the letters “L” and “R” to indicate the learning content on the left side and replies, reactions, and reflections on the right side.
Students can, for example, copy down a chart from a class lesson on the left side then produce a comic strip, poetry, or other creative interpretations of the information on the right side.
The teacher will need to set up and model the use of two-sided notebooks in the classroom. This can be done on chart paper, a whiteboard, or a large screen that the entire class can see. Students must comprehend the purpose of each side, the kind of items that can be included in each area, and the fact that there is no one “correct” approach to present their ideas. Although it will take some time to get started, this technique highlights the importance of having a dedicated space to digest and reflect on new ideas in your own unique way.
- Student self-evaluation
The impact of student-reported grades is one of the most powerful influences on student learning. Incorporating this technique more frequently into the learning process can be a useful tool to inspire students to push themselves to higher levels of success because students are very accurate at reporting and forecasting their achievements.
Learner self-assessment can take several forms, including self-reported grades. Students can also evaluate themselves in the following ways:
- ‘Fill in the Blanks’ is a game where you have to fill in
- prompts for writing
- verbally sharing
Self-evaluations by students can be useful at various stages in the learning process, such as at the start of a new topic or class, while working on a project, or at the end of a unit of study.It can provide useful information to assist students and educators shape their future efforts.
Critical Thinking Vs. Reflective Thinking
Many people use the terms “critical thinking” and “reflective thinking” interchangeably.
The phrase “critical thinking” refers to:Purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed thinking entails solving problems, formulating conclusions, calculating probabilities, and making decisions when the thinker employs skills that are thoughtful and effective for the context and type of thinking work. Critical thinking is also known as directed thinking since it focuses on a certain outcome
Reflective thinking, on the other hand, is an aspect of critical thinking that refers to the processes of assessing and making decisions about what has occurred. Reflective thinking, according to Dewey (1933), is an active, persistent, and careful examination of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, the grounds that support that knowledge, and the subsequent conclusions that knowledge leads to. During learning settings, learners are aware of and influence their learning by actively participating in reflective thinking – examining what they know, what they need to know, and how they bridge that gap.
In conclusion, critical thinking entails a wide range of thinking skills that lead to desired outcomes, whereas reflective thinking is concerned with the process of forming judgements about what has occurred. Reflective thinking, on the other hand, is critical for stimulating learning in complicated problem-solving circumstances because it allows students to take a step back and consider how they solve problems and how a specific set of problem-solving tactics is appropriate for accomplishing their goal.
Also read: Need to keep Mental Health in Check
1. What do you mean by critical thinking?
Ans: Purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed thinking entails solving problems, formulating conclusions, calculating probabilities, and making decisions when the thinker employs skills that are thoughtful and effective for the context and type of thinking work. Critical thinking is also known as directed thinking since it focuses on a certain outcome.
2. What do you mean by reflective thinking?
Ans: Reflective thinking, according to Dewey (1933), is an active, persistent, and careful examination of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, the grounds that support that knowledge, and the subsequent conclusions that knowledge leads to. During learning settings, learners are aware of and influence their learning by actively participating in reflective thinking – examining what they know, what they need to know, and how they bridge that gap.
3. Why is reflective learning important?
Ans: Users must continually rethink, swap courses, and change problem-solving tactics as modern society becomes more complex and information becomes more readily available and changing. Thus, it is increasingly crucial to stimulate reflective thinking throughout learning to assist learners build strategies to apply new knowledge to the complicated situations in their day-to-day activities.
Reflective thinking encourages students to
- connect new information to existing knowledge
- think abstractly and conceptually
- apply specific solutions to unique tasks
- understand their own thinking and learning strategies.