We are always talking about the ideal education should be a learner-centered setting. Learners can be in charge of their learning with options to different paths and paces. Learners will participate in the designing of their learning processes. So the first thing of all is that they have their voices heard. More and more teachers have their students reflect on their own learning experience.
Jenny Luca (her blog Lucacept – Intercepting the Web) is a Teacher-Librarian from Melbourne, she is passionate about exploring the potential of new technologies in educational settings. Here are her post about “5 Reasons Why Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating ePortfolios” and the summary.
1. Positive digital footprints
2. Communicating with digital tools (set up categories, add widgets, use the HTML editor to embed code)
3. Transparency for parents and family
4. New ways of thinking about Web tools (two-way conversation is eye opening)
5. Effective digital citizenship (how to conduct yourself in digital spaces in the context of the curriculum)
And, more …
6. Their world view is changing as a result of posting in public spaces
Peter Pappas also gave examples of “Students Bloggers Reflect on Learning” as below, please read students’ reflection through the link.
My approach to instruction borrows from the thinking of Donald Finkel who believed that teaching should focus on “providing experience, provoking reflection.”
Since I first posted my Taxonomy of Reflection in Jan 2010, I’ve been on the lookout for good examples of student (and teacher) reflection to share with my readers.
I was pleased to see that Mike Gwaltney (and good friend and great teacher at Oregon Episcopal School) had developed a well-designed model for incorporating student reflection into a new class blog. The Age of Exploration Blog. I urge you to visit his class blog and respond to the student posts – they are looking for your feedback.
I asked Mike for his “elevator pitch” on why he thinks fostering student reflection is so important. He replied:
Teachers don’t give kids time enough to reflect in a serious way. The success of this assignment comes from giving them: a) instructions on how to reflect, good questions to consider; b) time to do so – real time, not just one day, but frequently; c) an authentic audience to write for – it encourages honesty, deeper reflection, and care in the writing because they know they’ll have “real world” readers and commenters, not just their teacher.
“Creating a Culture of Student Reflection: Self-Assessment Yields Positive Results“ is from Clyde Yoshida at O’Farrell Community School in San Diego. He creates “critique circles” within his students in 7th and 8th grade math classes. The puspose is to enable them to judge for themselves whether a piece of work is excellent or falls short of the school’s standards with clear expectations established ahead of time. His students are regularly work in cooperative-learning groups, so they feel comfortable critiquing the work of their peers in constructive ways. They will have a broader mindset when they learn alternative views from each other. Teachers monitor these discussions and push them to become more substantive. There are great quotes as below.
They begin to understand how they learn (what educators call metacognition). They realize that revising a project — sometimes even starting over — and collaborating with others are natural parts of real-world work.
They feel a greater ownership of what they create and try harder to make it as good as possible because it will be seen by a larger audience.
When one student says to another, “Oh, you solved the problem a different way. How’d you do it?” it shows educators that what we are actually doing is teaching children how to become better learners.
Reflection for Learning by Dr. Helen Barrett is a site to support reflection for learning in education, from early childhood through higher education and into the professions, with many resources. Why to reflect in learning ?
Deep learning (learning for real comprehension) comes from a sequence of experience, reflection, abstraction, and active testing.
James Zull’s (2002) fascinating book on the biology of learning, points out evidence that the learning cycle arises naturally from the structure of the brain (p.19). “Learning is deepest when it engages the most parts of the brain.” “Even if we experience something that has happened to us before, it is hard to make meaning of it unless it engages our emotions.” (p.166) He also points out that reflection is a search for connections (p. 167) and suggests that we have to seriously consider the role of emotion if we want to foster deep learning (p. 169).
Part of the reflective process is to have students tell stories about their experiences which brain research shows can help students embed these experiences into their long term memory. Stories are a fundamental method of personal growth through reflection, which is preparation for the future, and deliberation, of past considerations. Reflection does not always have to be in written form. For some students, reflections can be oral, shared with peers or teachers. However, we need to capture those stories in our portfolios to make them objects of reflection. With the addition of multimedia technologies, these stories can be captured, in either audio or video formats.
At the end, please give your comments and perspectives to those students’ reflection. More students’ blogs are in here : “Blogging to Flatten Digital Classrooms“.