On Reflection

I had student-run conferences this week. That means that the 11 and 12-year olds I teach each spent time over the last months going through their work from the year, creating a portfolio, reflecting on their chosen pieces and running the conference for their parents and teacher/advisor. The students were asked to create one social goal and one academic goal for themselves. Then, in the conference, they came up with a third goal together with their parents.

Most people aren’t sure that such a young person could do the kind of reflection needed to know their strengths and struggles. They question whether a child can be aware enough or honest enough to make such reflection productive. Truly, the depictions of teenagers gives one little cause to have faith in the depth of thought a young person is capable of “these days.”

However, my kids were honest about themselves. They spoke about confidence, time management, organization, motivation and inspiration. These are things that adults struggle with and continue to learn. I marvel at how open they were about their faults and fears, but that forthrightness allowed them to set clear, direct and useful goals.

At home, during a rough moment, I realized some of my own shortcomings. It struck me that most adults would never dare to dive as deeply into self-reflection. Most adults don’t set goals for improvement. We often just wander through life lamenting “the way things are.”

Teaching often makes me want to be a better person, but students reflecting on themselves and their learning is a special moment. Listening to children strive to understand who they are and work to be better people has to be one of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had as a teacher. I now have a lot of reflecting of my own to do, and I am interested to see what goals I might set for myself.

In fact, I might just do that: one goal for me socially, one for me mentally and one that I set with my husband. Hmm……….stay tuned. How about you? Upon reflection, what goals might you set for bettering yourself?

2 responses to this post.

  1. My goal is to relax and allow my life to unfold and at the same time get my but in gear and finish school and at the same time earn some money so I can finish school. All of these things are goals that seem contradictory and my goal is to stay centered.



  2. Posted by Lata Murti on April 3, 2011 at 1:40 am

    So well said and wise. My goals: get to bed earlier and get more rest. Stop procrastinating with my writing, and get my journal article published and a book contract by the end of the year. And have a full-time tenure-track job in academia by Summer 2012.


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