A Time for Reflection
The end of term provides an important time for reflection. Term time is full with classes to attend, academic assignments to complete and exams. Busy days leave little time for quiet reflection and a thoughtful review of what happened and one’s performance during the term. Holidays are eagerly anticipated with plans for rest, relaxation and time with friends. Holiday periods can also be full of activities and also leave little time for reflection. The brief period of time between exams finishing, term ending and holidays beginning, provides the perfect time to reflect upon what happened during the term.
Before the relevant details are forgotten or glossed over, it is valuable to consider what goals were established at the start of term; whether appropriate action was taken to steadily work towards them and if the goals were achieved. What was accomplished during the term? What lessons were learnt from the experiences during the term? Is there a more efficient way of accomplishing tasks in future? Were specific habits (positive or negative) established and are these habits that should be maintained, improved or eliminated? Consider how time was utilized. Should the pattern of time usage be changed next term? Are there different strategies that could be used next term to improve the experience, performance and achievements? How do these questions apply to academic endeavours, social relationships and behaviour patterns at home?
Taking the time now (before the experiences of the term are lost in the midst of holiday activities) to reflect upon the term can be extremely valuable. Most change occurs incrementally and it is only through establishing the regular habit of reflecting upon the past term that progress can be made. High ability students have the capacity to remember details, to think abstractly and to analyse information. Sometimes this experience is uncomfortable, especially if it seems that things have not gone as well as initially hoped. Memory is strengthened by emotions connected to specific events but emotions can also change perceptions of what occurred. It can be useful for students to discuss perceptions with someone else: a parent, a teacher or an objective friend.
For any review to be effective, lessons should be learnt and this information be used to inform directions for the following term. Students who have achieved in a particular task, activity or assessment might look at what was done well in order to attain that level of performance. Students can think about how the knowledge gained might be used in other areas, transferring the skills developed (where appropriate) to other subjects and using the information to guide activities in the term ahead. Experiences that have not gone well during the term can also be valuable when used to inform decisions about goals and associated behaviours. Progress, whether academic, personal or professional, depends upon taking time to reflect upon what has happened and using this analysis to plan for the future.
© Michele Juratowitch