So why is it so hard to do in our programs?
We fall into the trap of thinking of reflection as something that can only be done at the end of a program session, and we often run short of time to finish an activity, let alone reflection. Most of us are not taught to be reflective learners nor are young people offered much opportunity to pause and reflect as part of their typical day or out-of-school program schedule.
Let's rethink reflection
We want to see it not as that 'thing' that comes at the end of the activity, but something intentional we do throughout our program time to build critical thinking skills and create meaning, value and wonder in learning. Youth program quality research tells us it's essential to look at what actually happens when youth and adults are together in the program space--at the point-of-service. We can strengthen these opportunities and interactions in multiple ways.
Try a new tool!
- Building Your Programs 20 Minutes at a Time - Reflection & Leadership Activities You Can Use - 2 booklets of activities that have been used with thousands of young people and adult learners
- Questions for guiding experiential learning
- Quality Matters Toolkit: Reflection
- A Teachable Moment - offers an excellent overview of reflection and hundreds of debriefing activities.
- Active Reviewing - Roger Greenaway
Four questions to ask yourself
Below are four indicators of youth opportunity for reflection. How would you respond?
- Do I use 2 or more strategies to encourage youth to share what they have done and reflect on their experiences, challenges, accomplishments (e.g., drawing, debriefing activities, use of props, using technology)?
- Do I create strategies that have youth work together and talk in teams of two, small groups, and large group settings?
- Do I circulate and ask youth to talk about their activity or progress as they are working on a project? Do I encourage youth to explain their thinking? Do I ask mostly open-ended questions?
- How do I give opportunities for youth to demonstrate how he/she solved a problem?
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