Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Power of Reflection

With 1-1 technology a "surprise" student reflection can produce a plethora of benefits.  Ironically, I was feeling some despair over one of my CBL team's group dynamic.  They were brainstorming guiding activities, but I was getting a bad vibe from the group.  These were seniors and and they were working on a difficult health care challenge.  I spent most of the period with this team and felt as those I was getting a "whatever" kind of attitude from a couple of the kids.

Anyway, a planned "reflection" with surprise prompts took place couple of days later.  First question: "What have you contributed to your team so far" (Kids reassured they would not be 'graded' on answer).  Second question: "Which guiding question has served your team best so far". 

Kids were then dispersed to private locations to their responses with admonition not to consult each other about what they might say.  They were told to email their files and be back within 20 minutes.  (Mission accomplished with time to spare).

Carolyn's reflection floored me.  Unbeknownst to any of us she had missed school and shadowed a hospital social worker as she made her rounds with breast cancer patients.  This included a support group session with stage 3/4 patients.  

I had no idea this plan was in her head when I met with the group.  With her permission I asked her to share the experience with the whole class.  You could have heard a pin drop. Needless, to say, no "whatever" vibe.  It's changed the entire tone of our mission.

I give my ADE friend, Katie Morrow, the last word:

"We all know that hands-on, experiential learning results in a high return rate in learning... But had you assigned every student the task of shadowing someone, I would propose the results would not be as authentic or powerful as Carolyn's... The difference in my mind is that she directed her own research, asked her own questions, sought answers in a more personalized way. This is what happens in CBL that doesn't happen in traditional teaching and this connection makes all the difference."

1 comment:

Mrs. Morrow said...

Blogger needs a "Like" button. :)

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