- Keywords: Reflection, elicitation, questioning
- Learner English Level: Intermediate and above
- Learner maturity: University and above
- Preparation time: 1 hour
- Activity Time: 30 minutes
- Materials: Reflective Question cards (Appendix A), and discussion contribution cards (ASK (?), ANSWER (A) and ADD (+)) (Appendix B)
This is a fun group activity to help students generate discussion and share individual reflections on course content. It involves groups of students asking and answering reflective questions. It is fun and interesting in that it has a competitive component and students can learn from one another through sharing their reflections. It can be used in any class as a reflection exercise at the end of a unit.
Step 1: Write 9-12 Reflective Questions based on the unit content you want students to reflect on (see Appendix A for an example focusing on an Argumentative Essay unit).
Step 2: Print, photocopy and cut up questions (one set for each group of three).
Step 3: Print, photocopy and cut up Discussion Contribution cards (see Appendix B) - six of each card for every student.
Step 1: Put students into groups of three. Tell them they are going to do an activity to help them reflect on the unit they have studied.
Step 2: Have students place the Reflective Question cards in a pile face down in the middle of the desk. Each student is then dealt 18 Discussion Contribution cards (six of each).
Step 3: Explain the overall goal of the activity is to get rid of all their Discussion Contribution cards. The first person in the group to do so is the winner.
Step 4: Model the activity by showing an example dialogue (see Appendix C) on the whiteboard. Teachers can ask students to model (read) the dialogue.
Step 5: Have group members take turns reading the Reflective Question cards from the pile. Anybody can answer the question. The person who answers the question discards an ANSWER (A) card. If another student then ADDS (+) additional information or comments to his group members’ response they can then discard an ADD (+) card. Explain that the ADD (+) response needs to be of a reasonable length. It can’t just be an “I think so too” type comment. Also, the ASK (?) card can be discarded after asking a follow up question at any time. When the conversation comes to an end, the next Reflective Question is asked and the above procedure is repeated.
Step 6: Monitor groups by giving feedback, advice or answering questions when necessary.
Have students come up with their own Reflective Questions for the next unit studied, and make their own cards.
This reflection activity is an effective alternative to individually writing responses to reflection questions, and has proved hugely popular with students. In feedback on the activity, students conveyed that sharing their reflection with others, and learning from other group members’ experiences was not only beneficial, but also enjoyable.
The appendices are available below: