Episode 8 – Student Reflection

In this episode, I talk about the importance of students reflecting on their learning. I discuss how it helps to create life-long learners and some of the ways that you might include this practice in your regular daily teaching.

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Student Reflection by Daniel Jackson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

We all know that reflective practice as a teacher is one of the key activities to progress. As we reflect on our lessons, our units and how our students have learnt… or not, we identify areas for growth and begin to see the areas of our programs that need adjustment for the future.

Why should students reflect on their learning?

  • It helps students see the importance of their learning
  • It helps students to know WHY they needed to learn what they learnt
  • It helps students identify and develop how the learning occurred, which aspects made them think, how they found solutions to problems etc
  • It helps you to see how students are thinking, their thought processes and identify ways that you can help them in their learning.
  • It can be used to assist peer or teacher feedback to the student
  • It provides invaluable feedback to us as the teachers to then adjust our practice

This works really well if we already have established:

  • Learning goals and success criteria
  • Identified where the student began and where they are currently
  • What the next steps will be

How might you get students to reflect?

You could provide them with a scaffold of questions to guide a paired discussion.

Questions could include:

  • Was there anything that surprised you today? Why?
  • What did you learn today? What was the most important? Why do you think this? Is there anything you would like to learn more about Or that made you curious?
  • Is there anything from today that you can apply to everyday life?
  • What was difficult for you today? Why?
    • What did you do or could you do next time to overcome this or similar difficulties?
  • What are you going to do next to reach your learning goal or subgoal? Why?
  • How did you or could you help someone else with their learning? Etc
    • How did I help you today?
    • How did I hinder your learning?
    • What would you like me to do more of next time?

But it is always important to include the question why at the end of questions to help promote critical thinking and deeper reflection.

Mode of reflection

  • You could use similar questions to guide a student as they wrote a blog post, or made comments in a digital portfolio.
  • I often get my students to make a Video that they share with me where they answer provided questions. I love using Seesaw to do this, it is a very simple tool that provides a lot of insight. You could also use FlipGrid or something similar to have students work through this process.
  • You could have students send themselves an email with advice for their next lesson. This can be powerful if you then get them to read those emails at the beginning of the next lesson
  • You could have students respond to questions in a forum or in a Google hangouts chat, or
  • Record a podcast


  • Model reflections for them, including how you reflect on your practice
  • Make sure that you can see and take the time to learn from their reflections
  • Provide students with the time they need at the end of the lesson to reflect properly… remember this takes time to do well
  • Adjust what you do based on the student’s reflections

How it creates life-long learners

Reflecting on learning helps your students identify how they have learnt, what they have learnt and how they can improve their own and others learning. This will have a huge impact on their ability to teach themselves and help them become more skilled in problem-solving life issues. It can also help them identify their successful learning and how this learning can be applied to their life, which helps students to see the importance of learning but also begin to enjoy the learning process.

Give it a go

Save some time at the end of your lessons today and ask your students to do some form of reflection. Even if it is an exit ticket that they provide to you.

Then set aside some time to read through, listen or watch their reflections and learn from them.

Finally, adjust your practice based on their reflections, and let them know that this is why you have adapted what you are doing.

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