Share & Reflect: Learning Cycle Series 5/5

by Laurie Gagnon & Rohan Menon

At reDesign, we encourage the adoption of a Learning Cycle that guides the learner through the habits and skills that support the development of competency with practice over time.

Let’s take a moment to revisit the two dimensions of the learning cycle. It represents the stages of meaningful learning that occur simultaneously during daily learning experiences (the “inner circle), and across multi-week units of study they constitute (the “outer circle”) that build toward authentic, competency-building work.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the Share & Reflect stage is through examples from students who have publicly shared and celebrated their work with others:

The All Eyez On Z Project Instagram Page

This visual project on Instagram, created by students at Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Chicago, and Young Women’s College Prep in Rochester, NY, presents their views and reactions to the question, “How do our individual and collective stories from Chicago and Rochester expose both resiliency and inequalities within our democracy right now?” Through this project, students have learned and explored community, government, democracy, and how to communicate with visual stories.

Alexies Benitez, Circulos High School (Santa Ana, CA) — reDesign Youth Advisory Council Member

At Circulos, during my junior year I worked on a research paper with two other friends Jade and Ana. Our research question was: How Has Family Separation Impacted Students in Santa Ana and how do they adapt to These Changes Over Time? We did a presentation where we pitched our prompt, following with a process of our research and interviews with a psychologist. At the end of the year, we present to community members and school. 

When we were in the process of sharing work it made it more meaningful because we were constantly getting feedback on how to improve with grammar and how to become better writers. I learned in the process the value of a person’s story. We came in contact with very emotional stories, and [experienced] how as people we tend to judge and believe what the media portrays. We learned to listen with compassion.

When it was time to reflect as part of the assignment, I was able to see that as students we are lucky because most of our peers have not dealt with family separation. I was able to reflect that as students we can be kind to each other and offer support to our peers no matter what they are dealing with.”

Ava Richardson, Crosstown High (Memphis, TN) — reDesign Youth Advisory Council Member

“One project that I did my freshman year of high school required me to take what I had learned from the past couple of months about refugees and immigration and translate that into a project…We took our final product and presented it at what we call an exhibition, which is where hundreds of people from our community come to see what projects that student body has made… Sharing not only the information we learned but going through the whole process allows us to reflect on what life skills we learned and how we can apply those outside of our project and even school, into real life… I completed reflection formally and informally. Since we are graded by competencies my teacher gave us a competency reflection sheet which asked us what competencies we feel like we grew in and how. This allowed me to reflect on what specific area I gained more knowledge on instead of just doing something and passing it along.”

In the Share & Reflect stage of the learning cycle, learners take what they’ve created and share it with an audience. It’s the culmination of their work from the earlier stages in the Learning Cycle – the end result after developing their ideas, conducting their research and working through their creative process. The first part of this stage, sharing work with others, gives learners the opportunity to develop their communications and presentation skills. In the Reflect portion, learners are invited to self-assess their own experiences and their creation process, a critical skill for learners to develop. 

Tips For Sharing Work with Others:

  • Practice or rehearse your work before the presentation or performance. Learners can develop and work on their presentation or performance skills during this stage. 
  • Present, publish, perform the project for an audience. The learner takes action on their project or work after its creation. 
  • Get creative in finding authentic audiences beyond the teacher and class. From other adults and students in your school to your local community and (in the age of zoom) beyond, there is value in the effort.  

Tips for End-of-Project Reflection 

  • Reflect on the full inquiry and creation experience – similar to the “inner circle” synthesis and reflection but with the frame of the full project. Learners have an opportunity to look back on the process and experience and think about what they’ve learned and how others have responded to their work when they’ve shared it. 
  • Connect reflection to the ideas of self-assessment, revision, and editing and use the process for setting goals for future work. 

Some questions for the learner to consider during the reflection process: 

  • What is the evidence of growth on competencies? 
  • What is next for me as a learner? 
  • What would you do differently if you could go back? 
  • What will you do differently the next time you create a product/performance like this? 
  • What did you learn that you can apply to other kinds of products?

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