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All’s well that ends well: three activities to encourage reflection.
It’s important that a lesson reaches a conclusion. I personally like to use the last five minutes or so to tie up any loose ends, set any homework and play a game. However, for me, one of the most important things that learners can do at the end of the lesson is reflect on what they have learnt and their own contribution to the lesson. Here are three simple ways this can be done.
• Students work in pairs or groups and discuss what they remember from the lesson. They make a list of the main points from the class. If you have time this can be displayed on sticky notes on the wall or done as a quick-fire verbal activity. In both cases, this can then be compared with the lesson aims from the beginning of the class and they tick off what they have done.
• The teacher displays the lesson aims and goes through each point and asks students to show how confident they are about each item by giving a signal (such as a thumbs-up). With self-conscious groups, this can be improved if students are asked to close their eyes. As the teacher, it helps me know what we might need to revisit.
• With young learners and younger teens, we use booklets to monitor student behaviour and participation. For example, the young learners are given a number of stars out of five, whereas teens are given a mark out of five for both behaviour and participation. Once this system, or any type of behaviour chart, is familiar to students, I believe they should be responsible for deciding their own mark. In this way, students are encouraged to think about how they performed. If I disagree with a score I ask the student to justify it and we negotiate a more realistic mark. The focus here is on behaviour and effort more than anything else.
Of course, while the students are doing any of the above activities, the teacher has a small window of opportunity to reflect on the lesson. If we’re asking them to do it, it makes sense to me that we do it too. Ending a lesson well is just as important as getting off to a good start, so I think it’s important to consider how your lesson will end when planning and to allow time for any end-of-lesson routines.