Let’s talk about the importance of encouraging students’ self reflection during maths lessons. As a teacher, you understand how essential it is that your learners engage in classroom tasks with enthusiasm and curiosity towards learning new concepts. Research has shown that engaging your class in meaningful dialogue can help foster their understanding of mathematical principles. To take this one step further, encourage your learners to reflect at the end of each lesson; reflecting on what they learned, how they felt and how they approach problem solving. Doing so will not only offer valuable insights into their level of mastery but also allow them to think more deeply about mathematics as a subject! Read on to understand why self reflection offers invaluable benefits for student engagement and development.
Why Students Self Reflecting on Their Learning Is Important
Reflecting on their learning has been proven to be beneficial for your students. It encourages them to think more deeply about the concepts they have encountered, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the material and develop an appreciation for mathematics as a subject. Reflection also provides an opportunity for learners to reflect on their learning intention and success criteria. By reflecting on their successes and failures, students can identify areas of improvement which will help them to become more successful in the future!
How to Encourage Your Students to Self Reflect
Encouraging students self-reflecting on their learning may seem daunting at first but there are some simple strategies you can implement in your classroom that will make it easier. Firstly, create an environment in which students feel comfortable to express themselves with regards to their learning. This could involve offering praise and constructive criticism on an individual basis or even providing a forum where learners can share their reflections with you inidividually or with a peer. Reflections do not have to occur in front of the whole class. You can ask table groups to discuss and reflect, or turn and talk with a partner at their table. Secondly, provide a variety of activities that will stimulate your students’ minds and get them thinking about the material they learnt. Rob Vingerhoets has a fantastic list of ideas on his website.
Fun Way to Self-Reflect on your Maths Learning
One of the best ways to encourage student self-reflection is through the use of fun activities. I recently asked for some more ideas on my Instagram page and the most common response was that teachers are running out of time to do Maths Reflections. Let’s fix that with some easy ideas!
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down/Thumbs to the Side – Have students quickly reflect on their learning by showing a thumbs up (yes, I’ve got it), thumbs down (I am confused) or thumbs to the side (I am nearly there). I encourage them to hold it on their chest so I can see the answer, but not everyone can see.
Secrets of Success – Ask the students what their secrets of success were today? What did they learn that they are proud of?
What Mistake Did You Make? – Have students explain what mistake they made today and how they learnt from the mistake.
Sentence Starters – An easy way to have students to reflect on their learning is to provide them with a sentence starter.
- I learnt today…
- I am proud of…
- I know I was successful today because…
- I found out…
- I discovered…
- Something I now know is…
Exit Tickets – An exit ticket is a quick, direct question that immediately shows you what the students know about the concept. Teach Starter have some great exit tickets.
Reflect on Your Learning Intention and Success Criteria – Use Turn and Talk, who group discussion or have students say “check” if they meet their learning intention.
Encouraging student self reflection is an important part of the learning process and can be invaluable for ensuring that your class remain engaged and invested in maths lessons. Creating an environment where reflecting on learning is a daily part of learning will make it far less scary!