Reflection in a Virtual Classroom

Reflection in a Virtual Classroom

Reflection in a Virtual Classroom

This time last year, I published an article titled “Building a Positive Community Through Reflection.” The article began with excitement for the start of a new year and a new decade. Little did I know that the way we deliver education was about to change drastically just a few months later.

The month of December is always a good time to remind ourselves about the power of reflection. Since so many of us are teaching online in virtual classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I’d offer a few tips on using reflection with remote learning. 

Reflect often. Consider reflecting with students after an academic lesson and when students log back on from a snack or lunch break during the day. Reflecting with students at the end of each day can provide closure and insight into the learning that took place.

Keep it short and sweet. It takes just a few minutes to ask an open-ended question and have students respond. The more you reflect with your students, the smoother it will go. 

Ask an open-ended question. Ask students about their learning, feelings, successes, and challenges. In a virtual environment, keep the questions personal to individual students, rather than reflecting on how the class is doing as a whole. Some examples of reflective open-ended questions are:

  • How did that go for you?
  • What’s easy (or hard) about this for you? Why?
  • On a scale of zero to five, five being the best, how did you do?
  • What might you try differently next time?
  • How might you challenge yourself tomorrow?
  • I saw lots of smiles. What made that fun?

Use a visual signal. Ask students to answer a reflection question with a visual cue on screen with their hands and fingers. Try Fist to Five or Thumb Gauge. Use onscreen reactions, such as the thumbs up or clapping icon on Zoom. 

Use a virtual tool. Use the chatbox. Invite students to type in a short response, either to the whole group or to an assigned partner. 

I am going to close this blog post by quoting my own words written one year ago: “When students share what they liked or disliked, enjoyed or found frustrating, they find pathways to connect with each other. This is an important building block for developing empathy, an essential component of a strong, positive community.” Creating a positive community through reflection can happen in remote learning classrooms, too. Reflection can help create stronger connections as we continue to bring education to our students during these challenging times. 

Written by Kristen Vincent, Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher

Tags: Positive, Reflection, self-care