Near the end of a learning programme, no matter how long, it can be very helpful to review the learning process and identify approaches that helped. This process helps teachers to take learners’ reflections into account in future planning and builds students’ reflective skills about their own strengths and challenges within the learning context. I like using questions for this, to prompt reflection and discussion and I find it works best taken off the page as a process, away from the rather dry questionnaire or survey.
Here are a few questions that support that reflective process:
1. During this learning programme, who inspired you to improve your work/skills? What was it that inspired you? How did they do that? Think about people in college and outside.
2. Which practical skills have you developed during this programme? What about study skills? (for some groups I include a list here so they can select the ones that apply)
3. Where have you performed well on the programme?
4. What did you find challenging about the programme? Think about in class tasks and also the assignments or assessments you completed and describe what was challenging about it and how you tackled that.
5. Which piece of work are you most pleased with and why?
6. Did you surprise yourself at any point on the programme? How?
7. At home, which study habits helped you succeed on the programme?
8. In class, which habits and behaviours helped you get the most out of the lessons?
9. What will you take away from this programme into your next programme or job?
10. If you could give two tips for success to a new student on this programme, what would they be?
The questions can be used in a range of ways and here are a few suggestions:
1. Take your partner for a walk: questions are stuck on the walls individually and learners circulate in pairs discussing their personal responses, followed by a whole group plenary of key points. This works well with students who are confident in reflection activities and can access the questions without so much support from the teacher.
2. Speed carousel activity: one or two questions with some prompt key words on each table and the group is under time pressure to identify their key points before they move onto the next table. Teacher monitors to provide guidance and uses directed questions to pick up individual responses in the feedback slot. I have sometimes included a pre-session task for learners to read the questions at home beforehand so they have started their thinking process before we share ideas in the carousel.
3. Group discussion with flip chart summary: class is divided into groups and each group takes 3 questions and summarises their responses on the flip chart either in key words, pictures or quotes. With a few classes, they liked to create an end of course poster or cartoon strip to pull together their thoughts. The groups then complete a gallery walk to look at each others’ work and identify anything surprising, useful or thought-provoking their classmates have written.
4. Sound files or video clips: some students like making recordings of their reflections, almost Big Brother Diary Room style, or filming a class discussion of their points. This can be an engaging resource for other students to see on the next programme, if the students who made the clips are happy for you to share it.
If you have any good ideas for end of course activities to review learning, I would love to hear from you.