Follow-up on Reflection

A lot of work on reflection this week….  I hope to carve out some time this weekend to follow-up more comprehensively.  For the moment, here is what I came up with last weekend to use for reflection after a class session.  I’ve been giving it a test-run this week, and I’ve found it helpful.

This is a simple, one-page chart that you can make without any difficulty in about a minute using a table in any word  processor.  I think that it will download from here:   Reflection Template

Reflection Template

The page draws on the Cornell model of double-entry note-taking and a common model for reflection used in service-learning.  It’s intended to take no more than a few minutes to complete.

In the top box, I write the course name, date, and key information about the class session.  This box information is for ready access if I’m leafing through a number of such pages.

In the left middle box I write what happened.  Here I map the big moves of the session to see it all in one place.  I sometimes describe this process to my students as “keeping the set-list” at the rock show, noting what songs the band played for later review.  When I do this a couple days after a class, I notice that it takes some productive work to map the steps.

In the right middle box, I point to some directions for further consideration.  I’ve been using that box to remind myself of questions raised by the discussion, issues I want to think through a little more, maybe people I need to contact, and so on.  Since I’ve been writing these pages by hand, I often draw a  line from the set-list to the note, so the page can get a little messy.

In the bottom box, I write down insights and changes for next time. I’m not sure how useful such insights will be when I plan a class next time.  At the moment, however, it is satisfying to come to conclusions about what worked and what could be better.

Since I want student collaboration to shape the classroom experience, I need a way to come back to a session to think about what happened.  A quick reflection tool helps me to return to a session without the process seeming too burdensome, and it provides me with a variety of documentations for future use.  It occurs to me that it might also be helpful for thinking about a meeting, and I plan to give that a try after the number of them I attend today…

The next step will be to design a one-page class planning template that would help me to plan a session’s structure.  More on that another time.

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