Yesterday I wrote a post about the importance of reflection in learning and Carly asked me how I model reflection in the classroom and I wish had some elaborate process to share but the answer is really simple, I discuss my own reflections on learning with them. We have open and honest conversations about how even though I’m a teacher, I’m a learner first and that there are times I’m wrestling with how things have happened in the classroom, what I did well, where are my areas for growth, that I’m wondering if I made the best choice in a situation, or if what there was a better course of action. Students need to hear that teachers don’t actually have all the answers and that we are fallible, but that from every experience, we are learning and growing.
For two of my classes, these conversations are between myself and the students, but this year I have a TLLP (Teacher Learning and Leadership Project) with my colleague, Andrew Bieronski. In this project, we spend time in each other’s ENG 2DI class and have made a concerted effort to model reflective conversations for our students. He and I make time on a regular basis to break down how an activity has gone over in the class. We discuss how we designed the task, our observations about how it went, what we were proud of, the task’s strengths, what we saw as areas for growth and our next steps if we were to that task again in another class. The students then see us in the role of the learner and feel more comfortable to share any potential insecurities they have about their learning. Being able to openly model a deeply reflective conversation with a colleague has been beneficial for our students in so many ways. The students have seen us ask each other questions to clarify our own learning, ask questions that have challenged our thinking, as well as asked questions that have extended our learning. I think students need to see adults engaging in these kind of conversations as it not only shows them that reflecting with others pushes us to think deeper, but that they are essential for growth. On a human level, it also models collaboration and mutual respect which two essential skills in today’s workplace.
So there’s no real crazy method here. Just good solid conversations – a skill if of itself.