The end of the school year has come, and rather quickly, it seems! The final days of a school year are often filled with many emotions. Joy, sorrow, regret, fulfillment, and more can mingle together in our hearts and minds. As students, teachers, and parents say goodbye to a school year, the way we reflect upon the year can be a powerful tool.
Recent research on the topic of reflection by Dr. Carol Dweck, Dr. David Yeager, and others has focused on how reflection affects our mindset and ability to change our thinking. When we intentionally reflect on an experience by thinking or talking about it and especially by writing about it, our ability to grow and learn from that experience increases significantly (Dweck, et al., 2014).
Our school year is an experience through which we can grow by reflecting. Perhaps there is a particular area in which a student has been struggling. How can we point him or her toward the growth they have achieved? How can we reflect upon the struggle in ways that demonstrate that change is possible? How can we remind students of their successes?
We can guide reflection in many powerful ways. Having a discussion during which we share our “roses and thorns” helps us to reflect on the good and the bad. Writing ourselves a letter to be opened in a number of years can be a fun way to think about how our growth will look in the future. Keeping a journal is another powerful reflection tool. Looking for more ideas? Here is a fun list of reflection questions that can be used with students in a classroom or at home, and it includes a link to another list of questions teachers can ask themselves, as well.
No matter what, let us not forget that we are reflecting on the blessings that the Lord has provided for us. Scripture tells us often not to forget, notably in Psalm 103:2, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” May we always do so!