Non dominant hand reflecting: how critical am I?

Posted on 08.28.2012

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I really love learning.  I also like watching others, specifically students do this as well.  That moment where the rest of life seems to fall away because I am stuck in a magical moment of discovery.  It is even more special when you come up with something you didn’t even consider at first – a completely new perspective or approach.  That my friends is learning.  It takes practice.

I notice that my classroom often gets “stuck” in thinking the same way, learning in the same fashion; the reflection that is key to learning happens the same time and time again.  Are students really reflecting and learning if I have them reflecting from the same perspective.

At the end of every project I ask students to reflect on what they have done for the final product.  It’s a pretty good process, they think about the pros and cons, what went well and what went poorly.  They grade themselves using the same rubric I will use to grade them and they come to some sort of conclusion about what has been learned. But do they really consider a different point of view?

One solution is of course to share out our reflections and get a different perspective from someone else.  I think that’s what people call collaborating.  I’m going to try something new this year.

Throughout student projects and the learning process I am going to ask them to reflect from two perspectives: the first will be done from their dominant hand.  This hand represents their comfort zone, the space where they are confident and sure of themselves (or more sure).  The second piece of reflecting will come from their non-dominant hand – the place of less confidence.  If they are typing, then they have to use one hand, or maybe just one finger, or type in a different style.

As students work on their projects I will have them draw a line down their paper and answer the same reflection question(s) with both hands and see if there is any difference or new perspective.  It’s an experiment and it might not work, but I am excited to try.  I want to try this not just for the formal reflection that takes place at the end of projects, but for every check-in; even for exit slips out the door.  I wonder if two personas will come out for the students.

This year I’d like students to be a bit more critical and focus more on learning, not just what they have learned from the process.  I think we can surely learn from each other but wonder if there is more learning that can take place from ourselves.

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Posted in: Methods