reflective learners


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One of the best gifts teachers can give students are the experiences that open their eyes to themselves as learners. Most students don’t think much about how they learn. Mine used to struggle to write a paragraph describing the study approaches they planned to use in my communication courses. However, to be fair, I’m not sure I had a lot of insights about my learning when I was a student. Did you?

Before the semester starts to wind down, now is an apt time for reflection. Here are some pithy (I hope) prompts that might motivate students to consider their beliefs about learning. The prompts ask about learning in a larger, more integrated sense, and also challenge students to analyze the effectiveness of their approach to learning. Some of these are course specific, others about collections of courses, and still others encourage a more holistic look at learning.

How could you use these prompts with your students? You could select a couple or let students pick one or two and write a short paper, which they get credit for doing, not for what they end up writing. You could then take selected quotes or themes that emerged from these papers and discuss (even briefly) in class. Or maybe one or two of the prompts simply show up on a PowerPoint at the beginning of class and a bit of silence follows for reflection. You also could post select prompts on the course website and encourage an online discussion around them. Or perhaps incorporate some reflections on learning into course evaluation activities.

If you’ve used prompts or have activities that encourage student reflection on learning, please take a moment to share. Y

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