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Reflecting
The Reflective Student
Learners do not just receive information only at the time it is given; they absorb information in many different ways, often after the fact, through reflection. Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde (1993) believe that the most powerful learning happens when students self-monitor, or reflect.

Students may not always be aware of what they are learning and experiencing. Teachers must raise students' consciousness about underlying concepts and about their own reactions to these concepts. The ETE modules offer times for reflecture during and after the research process. Learners review the appropriateness of their actions and attitudes and evaluate what changes might be desirable in a similar problem-solving situation. They formulate concepts and generalizations and convert their individual and collective experience into education.

There are many ways to reflect. Reflection may occur individually, in groups, in teacher-led discussion, or during student-to-student dialogues. Reflection may occur at any time during the learning process; it does not have to wait until the end. Herbert (1995) offers some excellent advice:

To be an effective facilitator of this type of reflection and an analysis, the teacher must be a good observer of what is happening. He or she needs to observe not only the learners' actions and nonactions toward the activity, but also toward each other. Then, at appropriate times, observations could be offered, questions asked, feelings explored.

The teacher must also be able to vary his or her approach in helping the students analyze what has taken place. The methods are dependent on the personalities and situations involved. At times, it might be necessary to be blunt and honest with feedback.

At other times, questions, discussions, or a gentle approach help students discover for themselves what they have done and how they are perceived. Sometimes nothing needs to be said. It is difficult to know the approach to use with each individual in each situation. Experience is a good teacher (p. 206).

Reflection is critical to both learning and transfer! Reflection ends the active learning experience and begins the assessment by providing evaluation opportunities as learners apply concepts and skills to new and different situations (transfer).

The Reflective Teacher
Keeping Records: During time following a class period or after the school day, teachers can assess the interactions that occurred in their classes. Much valuable information is available from teacher-kept records of a pupil's behavior in the classroom. Teachers have always been interested in recording student performance on tests, assignments, homework, and other data from the "instructional domain." However, noticeably absent from most teachers' data gathering are records in the "management domain" other than attendance and tardiness records. Teachers don't trust their memory when it comes to instruction records, teachers would do well to keep records of students' behavior and do more than trust to memory the information dealing with student behavior. Keeping management records is a good habit for all those involved in teaching in the ETE cooperative classroom.

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References
Zemelman, S., Daniels, H., & Hyde, A. (1993). Best practice: New standards for teaching and learning in America's schools. Portsmouth, NH: Reed Publishing.
Herbert, T. (1995). Experiential learning: A teacher's perspective. In R.J. Kraft and J. Kielsmeier (Eds.), Experiential learning in schools and higher education (pp. 201-211). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

 

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Last updated April 28, 2005
   

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