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ictenglish - [ICTs in English] Weekly update – Quality Reflection in English, Nerd Style

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[ICTs in English] Weekly update – Quality Reflection in English, Nerd Style

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  • From: Hamish Chalmers <hchalmers AT>
  • To: "ictenglish AT" <ictenglish AT>
  • Subject: [ICTs in English] Weekly update – Quality Reflection in English, Nerd Style
  • Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2013 19:00:48 +1300

It seems pretty clear that reflection is an important part for us and our students consolidating and deepening our learning. Perhaps this is something many of us have done intuitively in the past as learners or if we were lucky it might have been modelled by a really good teacher. It may not have been a structured part of school as we experienced it however, and therefore we might find it difficult to scaffold it clearly for our students. Reflecting also looks different across subjects, areas of learning and works differently for different students.

One important part of quality reflection that links really well with our curriculum area (specifically the processes and strategies bit of it) is the need for a focus on process as well as content. A quality reflection can be one where students have been able to identify what the strategies they've learnt and how they can use later in similar contexts. Hopefully, we've pointed some of these out to them in the course of a lesson and their reflection, as well as containing facts and ideas about texts, has a component around how some process we’ve helped them learn might be useful in another context. We might combine some old and new tek here. To keep any process-based learning intentions and related success criteria easily accessible for students we could stick them up next to the screen for the e-presentation, put in the e-presentation directly if the students are working from paper resources, or anything to keep the process and strategy they’re covering right in their faces.

Structuring quality reflecting for students is also really important (and quite challenging) the last thing we want to experience is a full-class groan when we implement another thing that seemed like a good idea at the time but has sadly turned into a boring routine. This guy has a nice Bloom’s approach to structuring student reflection. To really nail the boring routine thing we also need to scaffold them into doing something with their reflection. Maybe they blog their next-steps that evening for homework when they’ve had a chance to process things a bit more. Maybe they do it right then and there and publish their own next-steps on a class facebook page or forum with their (or a friend’s) smart phone.

To add some more nerd ingredients - blogging has become increasingly popular for students as a way of processing and publishing their reflections. It’s easier for them to get an audience and seeing as reflecting works well cooperatively as well as individually, the feedback potential of blogs can be pretty awesome. Reflection needs to be regular and to be really dynamic it can involve an exchange of ideas with others so using ICTs that open up a wider audience here can take some load off us to be the sole habit builder and provider of feedback. And when they’re blogging, they’re writing too! Double points for an English teacher. Any social media will work here though if the audience size is the thing we’re looking for so give those students choices. Some might use tumblr, others might use facebook and some might even use an e-portfolio. Whichever social media or sharing technology provides them with easy access to the audience and ICT itself.

We don’t just want our students to be reflecting for the sake of it though. What actions are they taking as result of their reflection and how are we helping them refine and direct this? This is just a sample of ideas of course, what other fancy nerd devices and web tools are people using to maximise quality reflection and next steps? And what should students be reflecting on in English anyways? Some examples of particular questions and scaffolds would be great to share!

Hamish Chalmers
Facilitator: ICTs in English

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