Classroom DEI Newsletter: April 2023 Issue
Written by CCAPS DEI Faculty/Instructor Subcommittee with contributions from Center for Educational Innovation
Rather than bring a course to a full and final stop with a last topic, study session, or exam, we might make room for a small class reflection activity that prompts everyone to pause and reflect on what was learned. This April edition of Classroom DEI focuses on reflection activities that can help students reflect on their learning and help faculty with timely feedback for future teaching and course development.
Reflection and self-assessment provide learners with opportunities to showcase how, where, when, and from whom they are learning. An open-ended assessment activity might provide students who don't perform well on other types of assessments with an opportunity to share what they have learned. It can also enable instructors to see whether their current assignments or course activities might unintentionally create disadvantageous barriers for some learners and thus highlight areas to consider changing in the future to make learning and assessment more equitable. Through these types of activities, instructors can learn from their students about what they notice and value in their classroom experiences.
A reflection or self-assessment activity could look like a structured and graded assignment, a question at the end of an exam, or an informal, ungraded free-write activity in the last five minutes of the final class session. Regardless of the format, a Cornell resource describes self-assessment as activities that help students to realistically judge their own performance and to improve their work. This can benefit students as they transition from this semester to next semester's coursework.
With practice, students can:
- practice reflection and self-monitor their learning.
- engage in academic integrity through self-reporting of learning progress.
- develop self-directed learning.
- feel increased motivation.
- develop a range of personal, transferable skills and future learning goals.
Likewise, a Brandeis resource recognizes self-reflection as important to understanding beliefs and perceptions by:
- identifying the ways that one perceives and processes differences.
- understanding how oneself has been shaped by the world and how others have been shaped by the world around them.
- making sense of the things one does, says, and believes.
- becoming more aware of one’s perceptions of and interactions with others.
- better understanding oneself, one's motivations and values, and how they affect engaging with others.
During reflection activities, instructors can gather insights for future teaching and course development. Designed with your teaching goals in mind, class reflection activities can bring a sense of completion to the classroom experience and help instructors to appraise progress on their goals.
- What Is the Purpose of Final Exams, Anyway? – Kevin Gannon
- Ending the Semester, Georgetown University
- National Council of Teachers of English: Ideas for the Last Day of Class
- University of Florida Center for Teaching Excellence: Class Wrap-Up Activities
Here are some things to consider to help you develop an effective reflection or self-assessment activity.
- Identify your goals for teaching this term. What goals are connected to valuing diversity in classrooms? Or creating more inclusive or equitable learning environments? How might you collect insight from students on your progress or efficacy with your goals?
- Identify opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and classroom experiences and debrief their classroom experiences with other students and instructors.
- Design a short course activity that invites students to reflect on their learning and classroom experiences and to share with other students or the instructor.
- In a brief writing reflection activity, consider asking students about their goals relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, access, or justice and if and how the course aided them to meet their goals.
Additional Ideas and Resources
- CEI Course Closure Activities
- UCLA: Strategies for Getting Feedback from Students
- Student Rating of Teaching – Evaluation Questions
- April 28: Planning Flexibility for Accessibility in your Teaching
- May 8–12 (five-day series): Take an Assessment Deep Dive—Creating an Assessment Plan for Your Course
- May 11–12 (two-day series): Teaching for Student Well-Being Program
- Ongoing: Pedagogical Innovations Journal Club