I’m a big believer in personal accountability when it comes to studying, at any level. This is very trendy at the moment with the new Junior Cycle, which is touting self-reflection as if no teacher ever did it before. Okay. So maybe the practice hasn’t been as widespread as it could have been.
The nice thing about the Spanish book we are trialling with our Form 1 groups ¿Qué Pasa? is that it has the self-reflection built into the book and that these students will be well-used – hopefully not inured – to this by the time it comes to high-stakes exams such as the Leaving Cert (if this even exists by the time they work their way through the system).
With my other groups, I’m trying to formalize the process a little more. In the past, we’ve had chats, graded effort/organization/participation/stress on a scale of 1-10, written down concerns on post-its etc. You know the kind of thing. But I haven’t made a point of weighing up and valuing what we have learned and achieved since a certain point of time, and that’s what I’m considering doing this year.
So this month’s reflection task is very rough. I’ve taken ideas from a few different places and given myself a skeleton to work from. I’ll probably adjust it depending on my different classes and what we need to work on. I’ll certainly preface it with an explanation and a chat. I’ll probably include a meditation too. I already did that with my Form 5 group on Friday afternoon, where we focused on things we wanted to shrug off/leave behind/that no longer served from September, in order to create space for new habits and ideas in October. It turned out we were all pretty damn happy to welcome a new month!
You can see my prompts for reflection this month are very basic. They’ll involve looking back over what’s in our hardbacks and folders, thinking about activities and then thinking about their own behaviour. I might add in something about personal study too, as I’m really trying to emphasise that it is an essential part of language learning and development. But this is what I’ve got so far. I’d love more suggestions and ideas so please leave a comment – I’m sure lots of people are farther along this road than I am.
I think that goal-setting and personal accountability are helpful to most of us, so I’ll be interested to see how the students respond. If they find it useful, I’ll follow up here and let you know. Are you doing anything like this with your students? What do you do and how does it work?
And if you’re a student reading this and you’re not doing reflection in class, why not make this a monthly habit to keep yourself on track?
HAPPY OCTOBER! Maybe do a little personal reflection yourself too, see where it takes you..
**Update** I added a slide with Objetivos para octubre and had students choose an area to improve and something they wanted to achieve. I did it with two groups so far, both really bought into it but of course some students reflected more deeply on it than others. And NOT the ones I expected, necessarily!