On Friday I taught in the program I cannot talk about. After almost every event within a day, whether it be a panel, lecture, case, etc., we have a period of reflection and sharing. First students consider alone the theme and content of the event and then they share their thoughts with each other in a moderated discussion. A few observations on reflection and sharing:
- Students demonstrate the most understanding of the subject after reflection
- Students frequently offer more sophisticated points than raised by the teacher
- Students are more likely to show their weaknesses and real concerns about a subject
If you would like to try this in a learning setting, this article by two professors at HBS provides some research and findings to support the use of reflection and sharing. An abstract of the paper referenced is below.
"Research on learning has primarily focused on the role of doing (experience) in fostering progress over time. In this paper, we propose that one of the critical components of learning is reflection, or the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. Drawing on dual-process theory, we focus on the reflective dimension of the learning process and propose that learning can be augmented by deliberately focusing on thinking about what one has been doing. We test the resulting dual-process learning model experimentally, using a mixed-method design that combines two laboratory experiments with a field experiment conducted in a large business process outsourcing company in India. We find a performance differential when comparing learning-by-doing alone to learning-by-doing coupled with reflection. Further, we hypothesize and find that the effect of reflection on learning is mediated by greater perceived self-efficacy. Together, our results shed light on the role of reflection as a powerful mechanism behind learning."
I plan to continue to use reflection and sharing in my traditional classrooms starting in the fall.