Reflection is the heart of learning. For teachers to reflect on their plans and their students in the year ahead and along the way at each juncture is critical. And the more they understand what critical reflection can mean, the more they will understand about their teaching. Yet I wonder how much reflection is asked of the student? And how is the reflection taught so that the thinking can be more productive? So often curriculum plans demand such time constraints that students might not have the time for reflection of their own work, considering whether they are ready to move onto another part of learning, or prefer to flesh out that which was previously studied, to see if improvement or going deeper is what is needed.
I believe students could be taught to do thoughtful reflection as a habit. To respond to a project with answers to these questions is a beginning: what worked? what didn’t work?, why?, what’s next? In addition to contemplating the answers that are given, students need time to follow through with what’s next. And finally, they may need to ask the questions again.
If the questions are asked, in a form of evaluation of the learning task, can the answers to what’s next be ignored? How can reflection be authentic if there is no follow-up? Teachers reflect often and make changes because of their thinking. Students should be able to do that too. Two articles that are meaningful to me in the area of critical reflection are here and here.