The idea of having students publish blogs as a way to reflect on their work and evaluate their progress in classes has been niggling at me for quite some time now. My work with the Newington College Learning Framework and with teacher accreditation over the past few years has highlighted both importance of student reflection and the absence of student reflection in our learning communities. This year I committed to making some inroads with student reflection both in my classes and across the school.
First step first; I asked my students to reflect on what they learned in Term 1 this year. They dutifully responded with critiques that ticked every box of the guidelines I gave them, but their responses also rang hollow. I got the feeling I was not hearing their real voices, and as a result, not getting authentic reflections from them. it could be the formality embedded into the way I assigned the task. See below:
As we approach the end of Term 2, I plan for them to complete at least three reflections that I hope will allow more authenticity in their responses through the frequency of these reflections and by narrowing their scope. For the first reflection I will have them evaluate the learning process of Macbeth from the beginning of Term 2 and a few film activities we completed in class along the way. Next, after they receive their exam results on Macbeth, I will assign a reflection on how they performed in comparison to how the predicted they would perform and ask them to articulate what may need to happen to improve their results next time. Finally we will wrap up the term with a more general reflection on the entire Semester (or simply Term 2), which will ask them to evaluate what worked for them and their learning, and what they think may need to change either in the way they learn or in the way I teach. Risky proposition I know, but I am open to their ideas.