“We had the experience, but missed the meaning.”
- T.S Eliot Four Quartets (1943)
Students face a world that is increasingly complex, bombarded with information and rapid change. Student success in this environment requires the ability to apply new knowledge to problem solve, adapt, and grow. Reflective thinking develops those higher‐order thinking skills, helping students to frame their education and thinking in a strategic way.
John Dewey argued that “we do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.” Structured reflection is a deliberate and guided effort to step back from our educational experience and question, analyze, synthesize, infer and draw conclusions. When purposefully done, the artifact (evidence, work, project, assignment) and course being examined is better understood and insights more likely to be remembered, resulting in deep learning.
Good reflection also helps us understand how we learn so we can become a more intentional and directed learner/educator, aware of which strategies work best for us (and those that do not) and our students.
What Reflection Is:
It is challenging critical thinking.
It is purposeful and guided.
It makes connections between the course and past courses, experiences and/or personal goals…
It is relevant and meaningful to both you and the course learning goals.
It demonstrates the ability to question your own biases, assumptions, and preconceptions and define new modes of thinking and making.
Ask Questions Like:
What have you learned from this activity?
How will this activity help you in the future?
What else would you like to learn or know about this topic?
You can ask students to write or discuss in class.