Why Student Reflection?
Providing the opportunity and structure for high quality student reflection is a critical component of meaningful learning experiences that allow students to not only demonstrate their understanding of curriculum concepts, but to articulate their process and learning. In Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind, student reflection is referred to as the process where students, “construct meaning from the content learned and from the process of learning it.” The challenge here is to get students to shift their thinking when engaged in reflection to move away from simply describing the process or task they were engaged with, to critically evaluating their own learning, growth and shifts that took place as a result of the experience. While this shift can be difficult, it can reasonably be overcome with the use of structured thinking routines that emphasize reflection and growth over content.
There is an additional challenge and a potential barrier that exists when asking students to engage in reflection, the modality by which educators require the reflection to take place. Consider a student attempting to reflect on their learning with the barrier of writing or using text to express oneself as the single modality. This barrier is likened to the work of Grant Wiggins around the validity of assessment. Wiggins layed out a two part test for validity that is meant to help educators evaluate if unreasonable barriers are being added to an assessment process. He asks, “Could the students do a poor job on the task but still provide lots of evidence that they can otherwise meet the goal of the assessment?” This directly connects to the theme of asking students to reflect exclusively through a written or text interaction. Some students might find this to be an unreasonable barrier that does not allow them to effectively reflect on their learning.
Reflection via Thinking Routines & Mote
When considering the importance of student reflection and the need to remove any unnecessary barriers to student thinking, expression through audio reflection and the use of Mote by students to capture their reflection process is an ideal combination. With Mote, students can record their reflection as an audio comment in a Google Document, or they can add an audio reflection directly into a set of Google Slides that is acting as a personal reflection journal. Either of these digital environments, when combined with Mote remove any unnecessary barriers to student reflection and provide an outlet for student voice.
The last step in making this process meaningful is to address the original challenge, helping students shift their thinking from a description of their task to a reflection of their own learning. With the use of Project Zero’s Visible Thinking Routines, in conjunction with Mote, educators can create the perfect opportunity for audio reflection. Consider students engaging with the thinking routine, Connect, Extend, Challenge that is presented in Google Slide where each portion of the routine is answered with Mote audio. Or the powerful reflection routine, I used to think, but now I think, that is again presented in a Google Slide where students can record their voice directly into the slide and reply to each portion of the thinking prompt.
If you are interested in leveraging Mote audio to promote student reflection with Visible Thinking Routines from Project Zero, use the template below to make a copy of a set of Google Slides.