This evening I attended an extra University session for those of us interested in becoming ‘Maths Specialists’.
We ended the session by reflecting on what it was that we believed the William report to mean by ‘deep subject knowledge’ (Williams Report). Whilst our conclusions were fairly vague, a very valuable part of the discussion was based on the usefulness of having time to reflect.
During this hectic time of our final placement it is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of what we are doing rather than looking at the bigger picture. This evening was particularly useful, merely because it required us to set aside two hours to simply reflect on what we are doing, and the underlying issues. It also reminded me of the usefulness of verbalising this reflection with a group,when dealing with such cognitively challenging issues it really does help to develop and challenge your ideas in conversation with others.
Whilst there is a strong focus on straightforward tactics to encourage reflection and assessment for learning by children, I do wonder whether these short self evaluative tasks are really enough to allow children to truly engage with their own ideas of themselves and their work. This has made me think that such reflection time could be a hugely useful tool for children to really challenge their own learning, and something I will be working to develop with my own class. However, simply reviewing what they have done may not enough for this to be as truly useful as I think it could be, and I am keen to find ways for children to really engage and discuss what they have achieved and take it forward.
It strikes me that setting aside sufficient time for this to take place is a good first step. However, it is undoubtedly easy to talk about and much harder to achieve! So, I am looking for some practical ways to encourage true reflection with my pupils…