Being able to successfully lead students in reflection is like hitting the lottery in education! Student reflection activities forces students to step back and examine their knowledge and comprehension. At this point, you’ve probably been told to add reflection into your classroom, but why is reflection important and education? And how can you implement reflection in your classroom?
Why are student reflection activities important?
Reflection isn’t a one-hit wonder. It actually has several impactful implications in your classroom.
#1 Reflection requires metacognition.
Reflection requires middle school students to think about their own learning process, what they understood about the lessons, and what they didn’t understand. With this type of thinking, students can take ownership of their learning and become active participants in their own education.
#2 Reflection encourages self-assessment.
As students participate in student reflection activities or student reflection sheets, they gain a deeper understanding of their own growth and progress. This can help shift from focusing on the grade they receive on an assignment to actually seeing their learning as valuable and meaningful.
#3 Reflection encourages ownership of learning.
Once students have tapped into the metacognition necessary for true reflection, they are able to take ownership of their own educational journey. An example of a student reflection activity that encourages ownership is learning progression scales.
#4 Reflection promotes long-term retention.
Instead of just jumping from one unit to the next, encourage students to slow down between topics and reflect. This makes it more likely that students will retain what they learned, plus gives you the chance to find strengths and weaknesses in your previous unit.
#5 Student reflection can lead to meaningful goal setting.
Before any unit, students should assess their knowledge of a topic to see their starting point. Once the unit ends, they can reflect and see how far they’ve come since the beginning. This type of reflection allows students to set goals, work to achieve them, and celebrate their progress! This INB Set Up Kit includes learning progression scales and student reflection sheets that students can use to reflect before and after a new unit, making it super easy for you to encourage this type of goal-setting and reflection.
#6 Reflection encourages life-long learning.
In reflection, students can begin to find intrinsic motivation to learn. They can also reflect on how learning applies to their real life. Like I said before, the real power in reflection is seeing learning as more than a grade – but something that actually betters students’ lives.
#7 Reflection leads to emotional and social development.
Student reflection helps to develop important social skills and helps students better understand their emotions. This can be a struggle for middle school students who are already experiencing a lot of changes. Through reflection, students might be able to understand why a unit was really challenging for them – and how it led to feelings of frustration or boredom.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why reflection is important in education. My biggest takeaway is that reflection is a life skill. In those spaces when we reflect on ourselves and our lives, that’s where we grow!