Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Day 16 of #28daysofwriting - Reflecting on reflection

Reflecting on reflection was a quirky way of thinking for LC4 yesterday. Some were struggling, some were flying and some were taking a good look in the mirror to write about the difficulties they'd had. It seems apt that I too should reflect on this, we recognised later that we could have made it slightly easier for some who were having some difficulties.

Reflection is important as a teacher and a learner (speaking for myself hear). Without the chance to consider what I've done and all the rationale then it is difficult to establish why something might have happened in the classroom and therefore what my next steps should be. It is the same for learners in our classrooms. Thus, in week 2 we started the process of writing reflections by having Amy set some criteria for these in workshops.

The reflections some children wrote were nice. I'm not being rude, but they focussed on aspects of their learning that meant the reflections were just words on a page. There was very little thought about their challenges in week 1 or 2, just what they had loved doing. 1 child had written about their difficulties with trying to type too fast and making too many mistakes, 2 - 3 others had specified the troubles they had with planning their day, a process we'd started on Wednesday. These children will all take something out of their reflections to help them learn.

Quality reflective writing is difficult, as a teacher I've battled with it and know that sometimes the thoughts just don't flow. Other times it is a little raw and we don't feel like putting ourselves out there on the limb. Forced reflective writing is challenging also, I remember struggling to find the right topics while a student teacher during practicums, so I empathise with the children here. In the future they'll be expected to produce 2-3 reflections a week so there is a need to align them to our expectations.

Yesterday we took a full class workshop to cover some of the challenges and the purpose for reflections. They identified evidence of learning, improvement and next steps as three factors integral to their reflections. We had originally set out criteria outlining the 5w's and their challenges. The children had spent so much space on the 5w's that they'd avoided, missed, forgotten or otherwise the actual challenges they'd faced. This workshop was an effort to refocus them on the challenge.

As the learners brainstormed several of the things they could write about and how these challenges might be solved, we constantly reminded them of the need to avoid the nice reflections. Our message was if you didn't find it hard then you're choosing the wrong independent activities.

Some better quality writing was produced this time, more wrote about specific problems they'd faced with planning, some about having siblings in the class, about a numeracy assessment. Some still had trouble choosing a topic and reflected on their reflections, a quirky but not altogether inappropriate idea. To several of these children I recommended they start a list for reflection ideas, its something I've used to help me with my #28daysofwriting and I know many teachers use an "I wonder" or "ideas" notebook for writing.

What we failed to do, was direct the class to our learner profile statements, we've been using these with the class regularly as they are integral to the school. How might we use our learner profile statements better? Well integrating them to our reflections would go a long way.
3 Learner Profile Statements from HPPS Learner Profile

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