Student Reflection: New Year, New Classroom | Science in the City

Jan 8, 2017

Student Reflection: New Year, New Classroom

If you feel like you are working much harder than your students, here is a strategy to help them take responsibility for goals

My Classroom New Year's Resolution: Student Reflection

As teachers we often put a lot of time and effort into our student's learning, and lose a lot of sleep over them.  We may wish that our students put forth some reflection and responsibility (felt some of that urgency) on their own as well.  This year, starting mid-year, I am introducing my students to a tool to do just that. 

The New Year is the perfect time for students to reflect, along with you, and look forward to making some changes in the second half of the year. 

 We get frustrated when it seems like we care so much more than our students, or when our students don't seem to take the obvious (to us) steps to reach their goal.  However, they may need assistance to do so and this is where this tool comes in handy. 

This will change the dynamic in your classroom

We often struggle with how to get our students to do what we think they need to be doing.  In reality, there are many reasons why they don't.  For some students they have much larger issues going on outside of school and school is not a priority.  For some students, they don't know how to organize themselves and work towards a goal. For others, their goal is not the same as yours (65 compared to getting an A or B). 

Although we want to push our students, we will have more success if we are trying to achieve the same goals. 

Click to Tweet: Help give your students the tools to meet their goals, rather than trying to force them to meet YOUR goals.

Give your students choices

Here's how you implement this idea: 

  • Think of the task that you want them to undertake (make it manageable).  For example: the next unit test, the midterm, the next lab. 
  • Give some options of how they could be successful (get an A, B, C, complete it without help, etc).  Note: failure is not one of the options.
  • List some steps that they need to take to reach this goal.  List several and let them choose which they will follow. Even better, list them in categories and have them pick one from each category. 
  • Finalize it. This could be in the form a contract where both you and they sign, or in the form of a reflection space where you check back in a few days or a week and they write down their reflection after the fact. 
  • Here is an example of my preparation with my students for midterms. 

Hope it gives you some ideas. This technique could easily be modified to your particular needs. 

As you head into the new year with your students, I hope this was helpful. I would love to hear if you use it, or what goal setting/resolution tools you use with your students.

Feel free to check out my store and the freebies area of my blog for more teaching ideas and strategies.
Outlined here is a strategy and example to help your students set goals and achieve them, taking some responsibility.

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