Reflection is a key part of our learning design at The Village School. We like to think of it as a habit, embedded into the daily, weekly, and session-long arcs of the school year, rather than an event- something that happens just once or twice a year at student-led conferences or at end-of-year passage presentations.
Daily, our learners have the experience of making choices about their learning. which includes setting their own goals from a menu of options and managing their time. At the end of the day, learners are asked to reflect on their day in the closing discussion. What went well? What didn’t go well? What might you do differently tomorrow?
Weekly, learners check in with guides for formal and informal guide meetings. In these meetings, guides will ask learners a range of questions. How are things going? How are you feeling about your learning? Are you on track to meet your goals? What are some ways you could get unstuck? What could you try instead? What areas (academic, social, etc.) do you need support?
Then at the end of a session, learners complete a written reflection on the experiences and challenges they’ve engaged in over the past 4-6 weeks. As they do this individually, they can draw from all of the practice they’ve had reflecting- as a whole group, in their weekly small groups or “Headrush Huddles” as we call them in Discovery Studio, one-on-one with a guide, and hopefully, through at-home conversations with a parent/guardian.
Through this habit of reflection, we are helping young people process their learning, make connections, and set next steps in a safe, low-stakes way. More importantly, it increases one’s confidence in the ability to achieve a goal (i.e., self-efficacy), which in turn translates into higher rates of learning.
As educational reformer, John Dewey famously said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on that experience.”