Reflecting on Learning
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
Reflection is arguably the most important independent learning skill and one which we promote in our children and staff alike. As the quote above from Albert Einstein suggests, if we don’t think about what we are doing and others ways of doing things then we will never achieve different outcomes. Reflection is essential for learning. Metacognition (thinking about our thinking) is an embedded part of teaching and learning at Watton at Stone Primary School.
Staff are encouraged to be reflective practitioners, continually looking at what has gone well and what could be improved. This ‘growth mindset’ and desire for continual improvement and progress are key themes in all aspects of Watton at Stone primary school.
What does Reflection look like?
Self-reflection is like looking into a mirror and describing what you see. It is a way of assessing yourself, your ways of working and how you learn. To put it simply ‘reflection’ means to think about something.
Why is self-reflection important? Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.
Reflection is an important part of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish didn’t work the first time would you? You would either adjust the recipe or find a new and, hopefully, better one. When we learn we can become stuck in a routine that may not be working effectively. Thinking about your own skills can help you identify changes you might need to make.
In class ‘Reflection’ can be seen and is used in many different ways. For example, after working as a team, problem solving in Maths, pupils will be asked to consider how well they worked together, which aspects they found tricky, which skills did they use in order to work effectively and so on. After producing a great piece of writing children might be asked to self-reflect on their work and identify their areas of strength and areas they would like to work on. They may then follow this up with provide feedback for their peers. Basically reflection makes us think about what we have done well and hoe we could do it differently next time.
Reflection takes place on a social level too, when children are asked to think about ways in which they have worked well with others, or which things they find tricky. If there has been a disagreement or a fall out reflection on our own role in any situation can show maturity and helps to identify ways of moving forward and dealing with things in a better or more positive way in the future.