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Instructional Strategies

They say hindsight is 20/20. Through the process of reflection, individuals are able to view occurrences under a new, more comprehensive light. When applied to Physics 111, the same is true. Each day, students reflect upon the learning that occurs in the classroom both individually, on paper, and as a class, through discussion.

Fall 2009 Daily Reflections from the End of Class

Day 1 ReflectionsDay 2 ReflectionsDay 3 ReflectionsDay 5 ReflectionsDay 6 ReflectionsDay 7 ReflectionsDay 8 Reflections

Day 10 ReflectionsDay 11 ReflectionsDay 12 ReflectionsDay 13 ReflectionsDay 14 ReflectionsDay 15 Reflections

Day 16 ReflectionsDay 17 ReflectionsDay 19 Reflections

At the end of each class, students are asked to write down what they want to remember in respect to physics learning. The topics students typically write about include, but are not limited to: their initial ideas, the questions that they started out with, the activities they were involved with, what happened during those activities, what they learned in terms of powerful ideas, what evidence they have to support those ideas, and what they are still curious about. When students write reflections, they are connecting what happened with what and how they learned. By writing down their ideas, students are revisiting the subject at hand in a detailed and explanatory manner that requires them to process the learning that they have experienced.

After students have had the opportunity to provide written reflections, the class reflects as a whole. One by one, the students share with their peers and the instructor(s) what they learned and what they are still curious about. Although this may sound trivial, having class reflections is one of the most crucial aspects of the course. Students get to share their own ideas in front of a group, which emphasizes reflection through explanatory speaking. Students also get to hear the ideas of other students. Listening to other students can challenge one's own perceptions and it can stimulate further thought about particular ideas. In addition, having class reflections provides feedback for the instructor. By figuring out where students are at conceptually with the material at hand, the instructor can adjust future lessons accordingly. Lesson plans can also change if the instructor hears a student with a certain curiosity that could be explored in class. Beyond planning for future classes, class reflections foster enjoyment for the instructor, because they enrich the instructor's understanding of how students think.

“Reflections generate learning through conceptualizing what you've already experienced or know.” -Katie (Physics 111 peer instructor)

”…The reflection period at the end of each class taught us as future teachers to become comfortable with saying how we felt at the end of each day, and it was refreshing hearing the same worries or wonderings from others at the end of the day. This taught me that in my classroom, I should ask my students how each of them felt at the end of each experiment or each time we learn something new, this way, I can get a feel for where my students stand, and what I can teach more thoroughly if need be.” -Student Fall 2011

Examples of Student Reflections

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