Reflecting with “Glow and Grow”! [Interactive]

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[0:02] Hey, everyone! Today on the PE Express podcast, I wanted to talk about an important word, reflection. Let’s explore the importance of this word within the learning cycle and see how setting time aside for students to reflect within our lessons can help them. Let’s get to it.

We Learn and Grow Through Reflection

[0:38] So as a teacher and a human, I’m a big believer in the power of experiential education and if you know anything about it, chances are you have probably seen or heard the famous quote, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on our experience.” This quote, which is often credited to John Dewey, is a pretty good encapsulation of what the philosophy behind experiential education is all about. So in other words, if we simply move from one event to the next in our lives, and don’t take the time to think and digest about what we just experienced, we are in fact, not really learning or growing or developing, but simply just existing. Sadly, sometimes within our subject area of P E as a whole, I think a case could be made for students simply existing within our class rather than learning, growing or developing.

Reflection Must Play a Key Role in Our Lessons

[1:31] So when we, as teachers within our profession simply go from one activity to the next, prepare lessons with no meaning or purpose, or are content with students being busy, happy and good, we are kind of perpetuating this existence rather than something more. The good news is that we as PE teachers can certainly provide our students with a lived experience that is the antithesis of what I just described. But to do this reflection must play a key role in the way we as teachers design our lessons and our instruction. So student reflection doesn’t just happen by osmosis. It is something that needs to be purposefully embedded into their experiences within our PE classes, and this could be done in a variety of ways, but one strategy that I have used in the past with my students in an attempt to get them to reflect a bit more is called “glow and grow.”

What Did You Do Well? (Glow)

[2:21] So in using this strategy, start by allowing your students to experience an activity in your class that is tied to the day’s objectives. Then after giving them some time to experience the activity, ask them to reflect on this experience with two purposeful prompts that again are tied back to the lesson’s objective. So the first one is, what is one thing that you thought you did well, and this is their glow. This is where they can identify something that they’re proud of themselves for doing and achieving during that experience within the activity they just participated in.

How Can You Improve (Grow)

[2:58] The other thing you’re gonna ask them and prompt them with is, “What is one thing that you thought you can try to do better”, and this is their grow. This is where they can identify something that they want to improve upon based upon their previous experience in the activity they just participated in. So you can have the students think about these things individually, or even if they’re doing small group work or larger group work, then kind of discuss these things with their team, or they can even write them down during this reflection time as a way to kind of make it more tangible for them to kind of look back on a little bit later in class.

[3:33] But before returning to the activity, prompt the students to keep their glow and their grow in mind while they participate and see if they can hold themselves accountable to continue to show their glow and do what is necessary in order to improve upon their grow. So after giving them some more time to participate in the activity, regroup with the students and ask them to reflect once more upon how they feel they did in relation to their glow and their growth. As a teacher, you can ask them to share specific examples from their experience that would support evidence of their demonstration of either their glow or improvement of their grow. So building in time to your lessons to allow your students to reflect on their experience is absolutely crucial to their ability to learn and develop.

[4:25] Try out that glow and grow strategy as a simple way to get started with incorporating more reflection time into your lessons. As always, thanks for listening, and I hope to see you next time on the PE Express podcast.

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