Reflection must be teacher-student driven, with eyes fixed on the future.
I firmly believe that effective teaching inspires real learning, and a stimulating and meaningful teaching-learning environments/processes must equally yield effective reflection. Likewise, I am convinced that reflection is not solely a final statement that teachers write at the end of a unit plan, or a series of words put together by students at the end of a learning experience.
What the lines above describe is the equivalent of an experience that fulfills a requirement many teachers and students feel they are to meet to pretend they are bringing closure to a learning cycle. Yes! I said pretend, and I wrote it again in bold, because when ‘reflection’ is merely done to tick a box, we are not actually seizing and valuing the meaning contained in the essence of what truly constitutes meaningful reflection.
Students and teachers are both key agents in the learning process and it is, therefore,
paramount that both of them are involved in the retrospective journey of seeing the new understandings that have emerged, and the possible new directions their learning can take as a result of their achievements. Learning is complex and uncountable in nature; and it is for this reason that when reflecting on it, we must take some time to contemplate what we (teachers and students) have become after the learning journey.
I wonder how often teachers and students make a pause in their path to observe and analyze how the ideas they share are changing them; I wonder whether these key people in the co-construction of knowledge ever perceive how they are transforming time and getting future moments ready for new experiences.
Are we, teachers and students, noticing how learning is affecting us? Are we alert witnesses of their evolution? Once a new understanding is formulated, each and everyone involved in its making is no longer the same he or she was before such idea came to life.
When learning happens, it should be celebrated as a goal that is scored in a soccer game- with that passion and fervor; and those who score it must feel empowered to go out and score more. After the game, revisiting what was done, should serve as an indicator for a different plateau of achievements, where skills are elevated and upgraded.
Meaningful, affective and effective reflection should allow us to be able to generate wholesome, engaging, and captivating learning scenarios where what ‘we are’ should only be the beginning of what ‘we could be’; and so on after every new experience.
Thank you for learning with me were the words I said to my grade 10 students after a learning journey in which they summarized on a map the work we did in a unit on migration; as they were receptive to the feedback their peers in grade 11 and 12 gave them on their work; as they took action on the feedback given to present their understandings on the concept to grade 4 students. Learning occurring in 3 programs, through the eyes of different individuals, enriching what everyone involved already knows, and contributing to keeping the fire of the thirst for knowledge alive.
You are invited to view the following video, which briefly documents the journey.
And if you are a Spanish teacher/student and/or speak Spanish, you are most welcome to watch the extended version that focus on the Spanish learning experience.
Thank you for learning with us.
Unit planner here.