You sit down at the dinner table with your children and ask about their day. When you ask your high school student what he did at school, the response is “nothing.” Now, we all know that isn’t true. Your child had seven class periods, from Spanish to geometry to western civilization. So, how can your rather intelligent son have no idea what he did at school today? Sound familiar?
Why Is Self-Reflection Important for Students?
Educational researcher John Hattie has conducted a multitude of research studies that analyzed the effects of different teaching strategies, including those that emphasize the importance of reflection for students. Summarization and self-reported grades, for instance, are two approaches that can be particularly impactful.
We know that reflection matters. Research shows that thinking deeply about a subject improves learning. We must create systems and processes that foster a culture of reflection in our classrooms if we are to help students reach their learning goals. A commitment to purposeful instructional planning can help.
When students reflect on their learning, they can:
- Move information from short- to long-term memory
- Develop a growth mindset
- Create natural curiosity
- Share their ideas and thinking
Self-Reflection Strategies for Students
Here are four teaching tips to plan your curriculum in a way that encourages student self-reflection.
1. Try Chunk Learning
Students’ attention spans typically correspond with their age. An 8-year-old can focus on a task for about eight minutes. This means that as we plan instruction, we should create a pace that moves students from opportunity to opportunity every eight minutes. In other words, we need to “chunk” the learning that happens.
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