In my last post, I detailed the types of non-reflective utterances my students made while presenting their portfolios to me last month. This post is all about the types of reflective utterances they made.
- Process – Reflective Type - The student reflects on his own personal process in completing the assignment. "This is my character sketch and this was a really difficult assignment for me. I had a lot of trouble starting and thinking about what I wanted my character to be like." This differs from its non-reflective counterpart in that it discusses the student’s own process and the student reflects on the positive and negative experiences he had with the piece of writing.
- Criterion-Based Assessment – The student compares his work to criteria discussed in class. "I did well on my character sketch because I was able to show how my character was mean instead of telling the reader he was mean." He may or may not point to evidence in the text; being able to point to specific examples in the text that correspond to the criteria is preferred and considered more reflective.
- Growth Over Time – The student compares two different pieces of work and shows how one is better by comparing it to a previous piece of work that was not as good. "You can see here that I did better with my freewriting because this first piece of freewriting in September I couldn't write nonstop, but in December you can see that I wrote non-stop for the entire 15 minutes."
Like I said in the last post, all students made
non-reflective utterances to some degree. But, the more reflective a student was during the presentation, the more
likely he made utterances that corresponded to the above.
My next step is to develop lesson plans that I can give my students in June in preparation for their second portfolio presentation. Here lies a conundrum – I can teach them to speak more reflectively, but can I make them more reflective learners? In other words, if a student isn’t thinking about his work and what he’s learning to begin with, will he ever be able to speak reflectively? One would assume not.
If that is the case, I can help the emerging reflective
learners (I’ll post later about types of reflective learners) talk more
reflectively and give words to what they see in their work. But, how do I help the non-reflective
learners do the thinking and reflecting in the first place. Is that something you can teach?
The issue seems related to making students more “student-y” (a word of my own creation). When they are teenagers, can a teacher reverse the pattern of resisting learning and school? What does it take to do so? Surely there is anecdotal evidence to say that we can. I can think of a couple of students who’ve turned it round and became more student-y. But, I have more stories of students who never did that. What conditions have to occur for it to happen and what obstacles are in place against those who never make that transition?
Will a student ever learn to be more reflective when he doesn’t care about school or learning? It seems like a prerequisite. Or, perhaps helping students to do more reflective thinking about their work will help them care more about school and learning. Perhaps the problem is that they are so detached from any kind of learning that occurs in the class that it’s no surprise they don’t care. Maybe teaching students to be more reflective and look at their learning can help the resistant students be more engaged in what’s going on.