Reflect(i)on

I am taking advantage of the trade-in offer that Terry so kindly suggested Thursday of 3 comments in exchange for 1 blog post because we are a bit behind. I liked that as a concept as well because sometimes writing these posts you feel as though you are in a bit of a silo and it is good to stop, reflect, and engage with the ideas that are out there instead of letting them fly past. I have decided to post twice this week as well as way to catch-up. Therefore, by the end of the week we should have 5 posts (+1 trade-in for the comments so 6, yay!).

The topic for today is inspired by this trade-in offer and the need to connect which is reflection. Reflection is very important in our work and it is something that we bring to classrooms, and hope to inspire in learners. As you can see, I put a bit of deconstruction into the title of this post to help reinforce how the I is in the middle when we reflect on subjects.

Going back to the etymology theme, reflection comes from the Latin reflectere which means to “bend back, bend backwards, turn away” (“reflection”). So reflection is a return, a way to bring forward what may have been lost previously. In a pedagogical environment reflection does a lot to bring learning forward. It allows both the faculty and the learners to think about what has already been discussed and how that can be applied to other concepts.

A lot of the discussion about reflection centres on how reflection seems like a passive educational activity. In fact it is very active, for if done well it will allow the connections in topics to become apparent. There are many ways to encourage reflection practices in your teaching and curriculum planning- I will list a few strategies here:

  1. Blog or Vlog Reflections: Like we are doing now with 9x9x25, this is reflective practice that learners can also incorporate in their studies. The blog or vlog format allows for comments from other learners and from the instructor to help guide learning going forward.
  2. Word Clouds: Get the group to think of a word or two that best describes the concepts addressed in class. As a class create a word cloud either by using a word cloud generator like Wordle or on the white board or flip chart to reinforce concepts.
  3. Cumulative Portfolios: Have learners collect ideas, pictures, quotations, or anything that is indicative of the topic, ideas, and discussions each week. They may choose to add a few words to help identify why they selected these pictures or quotations. These portfolios give the instructor and the learner a good overview of the cumulative learning over the semester.

Giving learners a space and time to reflect is important curricular and teaching practice. I am also a big advocate for practicing what we teach in our own work environment, and I am lucky and grateful that I work in an environment where reflection is built in and actively encouraged. Reflection makes a huge difference and fosters the type of inclusive thought you want in a classroom. What reflective practices have you used in your classrooms or what practices have you encouraged others to use in their spaces?

Work Cited

“Reflection.” Online Etymology Dictionary https://www.etymonline.com/word/reflection

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