Student Micro-Reflections, inspired by Alex Grevett’s post ‘Student Micro-reflections & What I Learned From Them’

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January 10, 2013 by gemmalunn

This post is inspired by Alex’s (@breathyvowel) blog post on student micro-reflections where he got students ‘to submit very short reflections on their learning, the class atmosphere, a new teaching style or their personal goals’. He did this in a very simple and quick way by getting students to write on coloured post-its then stick these onto card on the wall.

I have just finished teaching a ten day winter camp (holiday lessons no tents or cold baked beans involved!) with twenty 12-14 year olds. I’m free to teach how and what I like at these camps and I like to get regular feedback from the students. In the past I got feedback by asking a few questions at the end of a lesson and then using feedback forms at the end of the camp but after reading Alex’s post I thought this would be a very easy yet effective way of getting student feedback.

At the beginning of the first day I started with students’ aims for the camp, I asked them to complete this sentence:

‘at camp I want to ___ and ____’

I asked for 2 reasons in all of the reflections just to get a little extra information from students and make them think a bit harder. I continued to ask for reflections on various activities throughout the camp. Here are some of the reflections:

Today....

Today….

Writing a story was...

Writing a story was…

Making a film was…

I think this particular method of student feedback is great to use with teens as they are often reluctant to show their true feelings in front of the class. When I ask ‘did you enjoy that activity?’ I’m often met with shoulder shrugs and little else! So these reflections gave me a much better idea of how students felt about activities. Hopefully, it helped students to reflect on their learning too, comments such as the one below makes me think that it did:

‘writing a story was fun and exciting and good for my English study’

‘making a film was difficult but it’s a good experience and funny’

Reading students’ reflections before I started making my own saved me a lot of time after class pondering questions such as:

‘hmm I wonder if they enjoyed that activity, Sumin was laughing so I guess she was having fun and Jin didn’t fall asleep so she must have been interested’

It also meant my reflections were based on facts rather than assumptions and judgements which is surely a good thing…?

Many thanks to Alex Grevett for this great idea, I’ll definitely be using it again in the future. You can check out Alex’s wonderful blog here: http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/

Here’s me with the class

Winter Camp 2013

Winter Camp 2013

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5 thoughts on “Student Micro-Reflections, inspired by Alex Grevett’s post ‘Student Micro-reflections & What I Learned From Them’

  1. Rose Bard says:

    Really a great idea and so visually interesting.

    I’m inspired to use it next month with my students. Tks Alex and Gemma!

  2. I find student feedbacks can be quite tricky. After all I’m yet to come across a student who said “I really didn’t like that lesson” [to my face at least]. Adding in “This could be better by…” is perhaps the best way to make this possible.

    When I did a summer camp I was determined to let my student really give me feedback on what they liked/didn’t like so I tried giving them a penny each and letting them put it on my desk face up if they thought it was good or face down if it was bad. An easy way to give feedback (and if they stole the penny it was only a penny) but they always put it face up.

    Part of me was happy that they all seemed to enjoy it but honestly I’d rather they found something to criticise.

    This is very personal experience and perhaps some cultures are more open than others but usually they seem to worried the teacher will be offended and the other students seem to act as a check.

    (having written all that I guess I wonder who the reflections are really for, me or the student. If it is the student then actually it doesn’t matter if it’s all positive. Maybe it’s good that they can all see some value!)

  3. JeroenRoot says:

    Great job posting your experience with this brilliant activity to encourage learner reflection. It’s also great that you included pictures of the results – I especially like that you had the students use thick markers so the notes are easier to read at a distance. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tom Randolph says:

    I know a guy who color-coded these – red for bad things and green for good things, Gave students one or two of each. I’ll be doing this embedded forms care of Drive on the class blog. Pretty sure they can be anonymous. I’ll be using the forms for other things as well.

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