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Build Your Own Reflection Exercise to Say Farewell to 2020

Build Your Own Reflection Exercise to Say Farewell to 2020

At this point, we’ve all likely done enough lamenting of the year 2020 to last a lifetime. And while you might not be interested in spending any more time recounting this particular trip around the sun, we know there is tremendous value in reflection. Personal reflection allows us to process and make meaning of the professional, interpersonal, and individual decisions and experiences that made up the last 365 days so that we can grow and evolve.

Whether you’re planning your own reflection exercise or wish to engage in one with your students or colleagues, consider how you can use these guiding questions from Graham Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, published in his 1988 book “Learning by Doing” and regularly used today. This six-step reflective process may be just what you all need to process the unprecedented academic year so far.

Description - What Happened?

  • What did school look like this year?
  • Where did learning take place?
  • Who was involved in the learning experience this year? How was that different from previous years?
  • What did teachers and students do to navigate this learning situation?
  • Why did learning look different this year?
  • What did you want learning to look like this year?

Feelings – What were you thinking and feeling?

  • How did this semester’s learning environment make you feel?
  • What were you feeling before the year started?
  • How do you feel now as it comes to a close?
  • How do you think others feel about the situation?

Evaluation – What was good and bad about the experience?

  • What was good about this experience?
  • What was bad about this experience?
  • How did you contribute positively to the situation?
  • How did you contribute negatively to the situation?

Analysis – What sense can you make of the situation?

  • Why did things go well?
  • Why didn’t it go well?
  • What knowledge helps me understand the situation?
  • What meaning can I make of this year?

Conclusion – What was learned?

  • What did I learn from this situation?
  • How could this have been a more positive situation for everyone involved?
  • What skills do I need to develop to handle this situation better?
  • What else could I have done?

Action Plan – How can you deal with situations in the future?

  • If I had to do it again, what would I do differently?
  • How will I develop the skills I need to be a better virtual/hybrid teacher or learner?
  • How will I make different choices going forward?
  • How can I check in with my own attitude and emotions for regularly?

We won’t grow if we first don’t try to understand what was. Make the most of these final weeks and days to carve out some time to do just that. Create a journaling activity, group discussion, or paired share out. No matter how it’s organized, give yourself and your students the opportunity to intentionally close this chapter and prepare for a new one. Cheers to the new year and all it brings!

Be sure to enter our 2020 Holiday Giveaway before it closes on December 31, for your chance to kick off 2021 with a $500 Target gift card. Thank you for all that you do for your students, schools, and communities – it certainly does not go unnoticed by us. We Wish you and your families all the best this holiday season and a happy New Year!

madison.michell's picture

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.