We have received some much needed and rare rain in Lake Tahoe this weekend. While I was running down the Tahoe Rim Trail in more than a drizzle/less than a downpour the other day, I reflected on how easily reflection comes to me as an adult. It is completely natural for me to look back on conversations, interactions, reactions that I’ve had and reflect on what went well and more naturally what I could do better next time. While I was running, I replayed and analyzed hundreds of moments, chats, and decisions from the past days and months.
Lately I have been thinking about how to help students fluently include reflection into their every day learning and especially their project based learning projects. Too many students I work with still believe that being done fast is desirable and being asked to go back and double check is akin to a torture chamber. There has to be a better way of asking them to think twice and 3 times and 6 times about their thinking and amend when needed.
This week when I was coaching Girls on the Run, we re-introduced a strategy to help the girls deal with gossip: Stop, Breathe, Listen, and Respond (SBLR). Without saying it explicitly, we were asking the girls to give themselves the space and time to reflect before confronting their friend who was spreading gossip. This same strategy was initially introduced as a way for them to deal with peer pressure safely and swiftly while holding onto their positive cord of energy and light. Giving them that express time to breathe and listen to themselves is exactly what they need to stay true to their values and keep growing into the joyful, confident girls we know they are.
How then to help students in a collaborative, project oriented classroom setting? When I asked this question during a Saturday morning #leadupchat on Twitter, my smart friend Ben suggested having students lead the inevitable discussion of What went well and What would you change. Smart Ben. I had coached a teacher through an informal critical friends protocol last week using the wonderful Austin’s Butterfly video, but hadn’t totally put together that this in itself would help foster the spirit of reflection in her classroom.
I needed to coach up on what I knew the teacher and her students were ready for. I needed to see the Girls on the Run role playing their SBLR strategies with each other. And I needed to go running in the rain to reflect on how students will naturally reflect and guide each other given the time and space within their hectic school days to do so.