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Encourage students to reflect back on what they learned this semester.

Encourage Reflection / Ask for Feedback

 As the semester winds down, you might find it useful to add a discussion topic (open in Modules 14 & 15) to encourage students to reflect back on what they learned this semester and to provide you with feedback on your teaching. You might ask, for example:

  1. What are the two most important things (concepts, perspectives, strategies, skills, etc.) you will take away from this class? How do you think these will be useful to you in the future?
  2. What did I do this semester to help you be successful? How did that help you?    
  3. How could I do a better job in future semesters? What suggestions do you have for me?  
  4. Is there anything else you would like me to know?

Here's why you might want to do this...

  • Research shows that our feelings about a past experience hinge on two things: the most intense aspect of the experience (positive or negative) and the way that experience ends (source).

  • Encouraging students to take note of what they learned can reinforce their learning and make a bridge to future learning. In addition, this sort of reflection can encourage them to assess more realistically the value of your class.

  • An open discussion of your teaching can provide you with useful feedback — and help counterbalance the sometimes snarky comments that disgruntled students make in anonymous evaluations.


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  1. Do you do anything special in your classes to help bring the semester to a close? I'd love to know what has worked well for you...

  2. A further question on this idea of an end-of-term reflection topic: do you think it would work better as a public topic or as a private topic? What might be the pros and cons for each approach?