- Reflection empowers deeper thinking that can guide discussions and continuous improvement.
- Questions to guide reflection for teachers, students, and both teachers/students are shared.
Educators should be commended for empowering hope, optimism, courage, curiosity, and resilience during this unique school year. This continues to be one of the most complicated and challenging times for education, but also an exciting opportunity to enhance equity, compassion, relationships, reflection, differentiation, engagement, and feedback.
The pandemic has created challenges for educators, students, and families. However, we can embrace the negative challenges and find different ways to view them more optimistically. Reflection about these experiences and possibilities can guide appreciation about progress, while also inspiring changes that can improve teaching and learning moving forward.Reflection about these experiences and possibilities can guide appreciation about progress, while also inspiring changes that can improve teaching and learning moving forward. Click To Tweet
Reflection empowers deeper thinking that can guide discussions and continuous improvement.
It can help us create a routine that helps build a culture of reflection about short-term goals and accountability discussions with peers or educators about strengths, challenges, and progress. Reflection can also expand on creativity that we have already used this school year so we continue to strengthen this creativity and build on ideas in the future when we encounter new changes, challenges, and needs.
There are a variety of options regarding when and how reflection happens. Regarding when, reflection should happen this month and then again in August. Regarding how, reflection could be facilitated via paper and pencil, by asking students to complete the questions below on a Google Form, or by asking one question per slide on a Google Slides presentation.
An additional alternative is asking students one question a day via a written response at the beginning or end of class. Regardless of format, two additional parts of the process include discussing responses with someone else and revisiting answers in August to guide and assess follow-through on any action items.
Noted below are twenty questions that can guide reflection about this unique school year. Questions are separated into three categories. The questions are for teachers, students, and some for both.
Reflection questions for teachers:
- What were you surprised about this school year?
- This school year, what inspired you?
- What do you wish you would have done differently this school year?
- How have you inspired joy for learning this week?
- What grade level standards or skills could students focus on before next year?
- What surprised you regarding what students showed you they could do or benefitted from?
- During pandemic teaching, what were we able to do that you previously did not do?
- What adjustments will you make for the remainder of the school year?
- What thinking or actions changed this school year that could be used in the future?
Reflection questions for students:
- What assignment or learning topic was most interesting this year?
- What do you want to hear when you have a challenging day?
- How can I help you academically or emotionally?
- What feedback, resources, or supports were most helpful this school year?
- How did you help others?
Reflection questions for both students and teachers:
- What are you most proud of this school year?
- What questions should I or we be asking at this time?
- Explain a skill, strategy, or process that was effective for you.
- Explain a difficulty you had and potential solutions, strategies or questions.
- How are you growing in the pandemic so you are better in the future?
- What are you grateful for this school year?
Teaching and learning during a pandemic are difficult. However, the challenges forced everyone to think differently. Continue to create and share reflection questions that educators and students can use to inspire continuous improvement with a growth mindset.
What am I missing here? What reflection questions guide continuous improvement for educators and students in your school district? I would love to hear feedback and questions via Twitter (@Erik_Youngman) so we can continue this reflective conversation.
About Erik Youngman
Erik Youngman is an education leader who is passionate about topics such as homework, grading, leadership, and growth mindset. He recently completed his nineteenth year in educational leadership. Erik is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Libertyville District 70 in Libertyville, Illinois. Previous education experiences include being a principal in Libertyville as well as an assistant principal and teacher in Gurnee, Illinois.
Erik earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Education Specialist Degree, and Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College. Please follow and contact Erik via Twitter: @Erik_Youngman.