#becomingeducational Year of Learning Development: reflection for retention

Re-blogged from TeachThought: http://www.teachthought.com/learning/15-reflection-strategies-help-students-retain-just-taught/ 

15 Reflection Strategies To Help Students Retain What You Just Taught Them

by Terry Heick

Reflection is a natural part of learning.

We all think about new experiences–the camping on the car ride home, the mistakes made in a game, or the emotions felt while finishing a long-term project that’s taken months to complete.

Below I’ve shared 15 strategies for students to reflect on their learning. Modeling the use of each up front can go a long way towards making sure you get the quality of work you’d like to see throughout the year–and students learn more in the process.

This post pairs nicely with 8 Reflective Questions To Help Any Student Think About Their Learning.

15 Reflection Strategies To Help Students Retain What You Just Taught Them

1. Pair-Share

Pair-share is a classic learning strategy where students are paired, and then verbally ‘share’ something that will help them learn new content, deepen understanding, or review what they already know. It can also be used as a quick and dirty assessment tool, as the conversations generally reflect a level of understanding the teacher can use gauge mastery and plan further instruction.

2. Sentence Stem-based responses

Sentence-stems are great because they’re like training wheels–or to mix a metaphor, tools to coach students into thinking and speaking in certain patterns. For example, you can implore students to ‘think critically,’ but if they don’t have even the basic phrasing of critical thinking (e.g., ‘This is important because…’), critical thinking will be beyond their reach.

You can also see our sentence stems for critical thinking here for other examples (you don’t have to buy the materials to see the samples).

3. Layered Text

Layered text is something I’ve meant to write about for years and never have. A layered text is a digital document that is filled with hyperlinks that communicate, well, just about anything: Questions students have, opportunities for further inquiry, odd references and allusions that reflect the schema students use to make meaning, and so on. (Rap Genius does a version of this.)

By adding ‘layers’ of meaning to a text through meaningful hyperlinking, students can reflect back on anything, from a pre-assessment journal entry that demonstrated their lack of understanding, to a kind of ‘marking up’ of what they learned when, and from where.

4. Tweet

140 characters forces students to reflect quick and to the point–great for brief bursts of reflection or hesitatant writers who would struggle to write meaningful journal entries or essays.

In fact, you can combine twitter with #6 for twitter exit slips.

5. 3-2-1

3-2-1 is a tried-and-true way to frame anything from a pair-share or journal entry (e.g., ask students to write 3 things they think they know, 2 things they know they don’t know, and one thing they’re certain of about a topic) pre-assessment to a post-assessment (e.g., list three ways your essay reflected mastery of skill X, two ways skill Y still needs improving, and one way you can make your argument stronger in the next five minutes) to a reflection of the post-assessment.

6. Exit Slips

Whether you call them exit slips, exit tickets, or something I’ve never heard, asking students to briefly leave behind some residue of learning–a thought, a definition, a question–is a powerful teaching strategy. In fact, ‘exit-slip teaching’ literally drives how I use data in the classroom. Asking students to drop some bit of reflection of the learning process on a chair by the door on the way out is a no-brainer.

Some examples?

How did you respond emotionally to something you struggled with today? What did you find most surprising about _____? How did your understanding of _______ change today? What about _____ still confuses you or makes your curious?

7. Write-Around

I love write-arounds–easy ways for students to write asynchronously and collaboratively. And the writing fragments students use don’t have to be prose–certain key vocabulary and phrases can help students reflect, but most importantly in a write-around, help students learning from one another as each student is able to read other responses before creating theirs.

8. Sketch

Whether by sketch-notes or doodles, allowing students to draw what they think they know, how they believe their learning has changed, or some kind of metaphorical pathway towards deeper understanding is a great learning strategy for students that tend towards creative expression, and a non-threatening way for struggling students to at least write something down on paper you can use to gauge understand and plan your (their) next step.

9. Podcast

Through podcasting as a reflecting strategy, students will talk about their learning while recording. If you want to keep it ‘closed-circuit’ (not published), or actually push it to a public audience of some kind depends on the learning and students and privacy issues and so on.

This can also be simply an audio file recorded and uploaded to a private YouTube channel that’s shared with teachers or parents.

10. Brainstorming

Brainstorming can be an effective reflection strategy because it disarms issues with other approaches. For hesitant writers, journaling may not work beucase the writing process could overwhelm the learning. Podcasting may not work for shy students, Pair-Share may not work well if students are paired effectively, and so on.

Brainstorming is much simpler. Students could take an allotted time to write down everything they remember about a topic. Or, they could brainstorm questions they still have (things they’re confused or curious about). They could even brainstorm how what what they learned literally connects with what they already know by creating a concept map.

11. Jigsawing

Jigsawing is a grouping strategy where a task, concept, or something ‘larger’ is broken down into small puzzles pieces, and students in groups analyze the small puzzle piece, then share out to create the puzzle at large. Using this approach for reflection is seamless: Among other approaches, you can prompt students in groups to gather and share questions they have (you could group by readiness/ability, for example) in groups, and then choose one question that they weren’t able to answer among themselves with the whole class (anonymously–no one has to know who wrote the question).

12. Prezi

Think of a cross between a sketch, collage, and presentation, and you have a prezi. Engaging–though distracting and overwhelming if the reflection you need is minor–reflection tool that allows students to create an artifact of learning for their digital portfolios.

13. Vlog

This reflection strategy is close to ‘Podcasting’ and even has something in common with pair-sharing. By reflecting through vlog’ing, students simply talk about their learning to a camera.

This approach would be successful for students that love talking to a camera, but less so for others (who, if they have to talk at all about their learning, may prefer podcasting–or simply recording audio files that are never published.

14. Collage

You could do a normal collage of learning reflections, but Amultimedia collage is also possible–maybe a sketchnote with a voiceover recorded as a YouTube video to share as a quick presentation with the class (or absent students).

15. Journaling

The University of Missouri-St Louis offers 3 kinds of journals that demonstrate the different possibilities of the otherwise vanilla-sounding ‘journaling.’

1. Personal Journal – Students will write freely about their experience. This is usually done weekly. These personal journals may be submitted periodically to the instructor, or kept as a reference to use at the end of the experience when putting together an academic essay reflecting their experience. (Hatcher 1996)

2. Dialogue Journal – Students submit loose-leaf pages from a dialogue journal bi-weekly (or otherwise at appropriate intervals) for the instructor to read and comment on. While labor intensive for the instructor, this can provide continual feedback to students and prompt new questions for students to consider during the semester. (Goldsmith, 1995)

3. Highlighted Journal – Before students submit the reflective journal, they reread personal entries and, using a highlighter, mark sections of the journal that directly relate to concepts discussed in the text or in class. This makes it easier for the instructor to identify the student to reflect on their experience in light of course content. (Gary Hesser, Augsberg College).

Thanks again to Terry Heick and TeachThought for the post that we have re-blogged here!!

 

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#becomingeducational The Assignments Post

Here in #becomingeducational we have encouraged you to follow this blog to revise the course and gather fresh insights. We have asked you to ‘write to learn’ in your own blogs – and to share those blogs with each other. We have wanted the various blog spaces to encourage learning dialogues between us and you – between you and us – and between you and each other.

 Blog it: In this final run in to the end of the course – we want to use this blog rather than emails to answer out-of-class questions about assignments. More importantly – we want you all to start answering each others’ questions rather than relying on us.

 You are Becoming Educationalists – and we are becoming obsolescent!

So here are our notes on the report; the logs; the essay… if you want more, we will be covering the writing in class – and you can help each other out here in this blog.

The Report

The Report part of your Research Project is where you report your findings – you discuss what the raw data might mean – you draw conclusions as to their relevance to *this* context (for you were analysing an aspect of HE study) – and where applicable you make Recommendation for Practice, that is, suggestions for how to improve the learning for University students, based on your analysis of your research data. This is the formal structure required:

Findings

Discussion

Conclusions

Recommendations for Practice

Bibliography

Tip: stop worrying about this as ACADEMIC WRITING; stop worrying about this as an ASSESSMENT: think about it as having something to SAY to REAL PEOPLE.

Of your RESEARCH PROPOSAL readers would have been asking:

So what are you going to investigate? – INTRODUCTION

Why are you interested in that topic? – BACKGROUND/CONTEXT

What have other academics already discovered about that topic? – LITERATURE REVIEW

How will you carry out your own research? – METHOD

Why have you chosen to carry out the research in that way? – METHOD

 

Of your RESEARCH REPORT readers will be asking:

So what happened when you conducted your research? What are the key highlights? – FINDINGS

What do your findings mean? – DISCUSSION

What overall conclusions do you draw about University teaching/learning? – CONCLUSION

What should we do differently because of what you have found out? – RECOMMENDATIONS

In a 1000 words – be concise and analytical.

TIPS:

  • Talk to other people in the class: what is baffling when we are alone with our worries becomes sensible and do-able when we work with other people!!
  • Read and Model: read the free online journal: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education covers exactly the sort of research that you are doing – and will offer excellent models for how you should write up your work: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe

The Learning Logs

The Learning Logs are worth 30% of the overall mark for the course as a whole – so STOPTHINK: what do you think you will have to do to get those marks? What do you think a great reflective log will have to look like?

Three half pages of notes won’t do it will they?

Show you know

The point of the learning log and the blog is to improve the quantity and quality of your learning by making the learning conscious. You do this by engaging in reflection and what we call meta-cognition: realising what we know – how we know it – and how we might apply it and so forth.

Good reviews should indicate an awareness both of the ‘point’ of a lesson – and the ‘point’ of the review process itself. Reflections should be crisp and clear – but relevant and useful. Some of you have already shown some brilliant, detailed and most important of all ENGAGED blog posts, submit those! For those of you who are less certain about what to do – at the very least your reflections should follow a trajectory like this:

What: what are all the different things that we did this week?

Why: for each activity – WHY did we do that – what was the purpose?

Reaction: how did engaging in those activities make me feel? Why did I react in that way? How can I harness my positive reactions? How can I harness my negative reactions?

Illustration: how would I illustrate this week’s learning to make it more memorable?

Learned: what have I learned or gained or become aware of – through ALL of the different activities that we did? How might I apply this learning in my practice now as a student? How might I apply this in the future in my professional practice as an educationalist?

Next steps: what reading, writing or other follow up activities will I do in the light of al these reflections? Then – evidence that you did do some of that follow up work…

Appendices: given that you will be submitting three pertinent log/blog extracts for assessment, add Appendices – where you demonstrate the application of the learning and the follow up activities that you did.

Tips: Appendices might contain notes of further reading that you did, pictures of further collages that you made, links to artefacts that you produced to illustrate your learning, short free write extracts …

The Essay

We have covered the essay generally and this essay in particular over several weeks already – check out https://becomingeducational.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/w22-becomingeducational-the-essay-our-essay/

Things to think about:

What is an educationalist? What is an inspiring and empowering educationalist? What sort of educationalist do you want to become?

Why have we designed the module the way that we did? Think about the module contents – and also the teaching and learning style – the different things we have wanted you to think about and do… the ways that we have wanted to you to act and interact… What was the point of all that?

Tip: Check out our Conference presentation – delivered in class in W26 – and delivered at the ALDinHE Conference over Easter – MOST IMPORTANTLY read our summary of how Etienne Wenger-Trayner describes education as becoming: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aldinhe-conference-2014-learning.html

What THREE things are you going to write about?

  • Did you enjoy the interactivity – all those discussions and presentations?
  • The research project – from participant observation to digital artefact?
  • What about the Developing Digital Me project – where we asked you to engage in #ds106 or a MOOC as part of your ‘reading’?
  • Were you engaged by the Visual practices (collage, drawing, illustrated notes) or the  role playing and simulation or that we wanted students in charge (peer mentoring, conference workshop, student workshops)?
  • Were you surprised by the free writing or the topic mediated dialogue?
  • Was the Music or the Dance workshop the thing that made a difference?
  • Was there anything that you thought was interesting – or well designed – or powerful – or effective…?

Tips: Do not DESCRIBE, ANALYSE; refer to the LITERATURE to justify your arguments; think about these questions: what was the point of that? Did it work? How and why did it work? How might you use yourself in the future?   

Help each other

From now on, we really do not want to be answering individual email queries about the assignments. We have designed all the assignments to promote active learning – they are assessment as and for learning – not just of learning (though do enjoy the opportunity to show what you have learned). We will be covering the assignments as part of our active learning in class over the last few weeks of the course.

BUT – if you have queries, comments, suggestions and examples – POST THEM HERE – so that your class mates could answer – and so that if we answer, that answer is going to every body in the class and not just one person!

All the best – enjoy these last few weeks – and enjoy helping each other in class and here in cyber space.