Students Reflect

Students Reflect on Their Attitudes, Skills & Knowledge Relating to Science & Technology
This page provides teachers with suggestions and resources for the Students Reflect phase of the 3-phase STEPWISE pedagogy – including after one cycle, as necessary. Such reflections are considered important because – based on constructivist learning theory – helping students to express (e.g., in writing, speech & drawing) their pre-conceived attitudes, skills & knowlege can enable them to revise them, as necessary.

Rationale for Student Reflections

As elaborated in the video at right (below on phones) and below (with examples), based on constructivist learning theory, we recommend that teachers facilitate students’ expressions (e.g., verbally or in writing, etc.) of their reflections on their current (and ongoing) attitudes, skills & knowledge (ASK) that may apply to topics (e.g., plant biology) that the teacher plans to teach. Once students become more conscious of their existing ASK, they may be better prepared to possibly change them – as they see fit – when exposed to alternative ASK, such as those presented by the teacher (e.g., in Teacher Teaches phase of the 3-phase STEPWISE pedagogy). Reflections also may occur after each Students Practise phase; e.g., as ReActions to RiNA Projects.

See our Summary of the Students Reflect phase of the STEPWISE Pedagogy.

Stimulating Student Reflections/Expressions

The teacher can encourage students to reflect on and express their existing ASK by providing them with stimuli, such as pictures of STEM products, as at right/below, and then asking them to describe and evaluate them. To help ensure students feel free to express their ASK (and not try to guess what the teacher thinks is correct), teacher instructions & questions should be mostly student-directed & open-ended (see Lock (1990) model). Teacher instructions and questions should, in other words, err on the side of divergence – allowing for many different responses. Questions asked might include: ‘What do you like/dislike about the commodity, and why?,’ ‘What other people & groups might like/dislike the commodity, and why?,’ and, ‘For harms related to the commodity, what should be done to overcome them and explain what work might be necessary to do so?’ If done effectively, such questioning can promote divergent thinking. Such diversity can be encouraged by, for example, asking students to evaluate different people’s controversial positions relating to STEM processes & products – such as STSE Cartoons or from this list of possible STSE actions.

Students’ Reflections & Actions on Characteristics of RiNA Projects & STSE Relationships
After students have designed & conducted RiNA projects to help overcome particular STSE harms, they may (should be) asked to reflect on and express what they have learned about such projects so they may improve later ones.

Re-reflecting on Science & Technology

After a 3-phase set of ‘apprenticeship’ lessons and student activities as illustrated here, the STEPWISE schema suggests students return to the Students Reflect stage. In doing so, students’ attitudes, skills & knowledge (ASK) about phenomena they studied and, perhaps, tried to change, may have changed from ASK they expressed about them in the first Students Reflect phase. For example, if they investigated a commodity like coffee, they may have learned some ASK from their secondary research that led them to believe, unlike their original position, that coffee may have benefits, as well as harms. Meanwhile, students investigating chocolate products may have become more critical of them – concerned, for example, that children often are used to harvest cocoa beans to make it. Although these are specific cases, it is apparent that in all or most such cases, students’ ASK about STSE relationships will have changed through their education and RiNA projects.

As indicated in the video below, students researching shampoo learned about different STSE relationships, including roles of consumers, financiers and others.

Students’ RiNA Projects Analyses

After any 3-phase STEPWISE apprenticeship involving practice RiNA projects, besides reflecting on particular phenomena (e.g., commodities) in STSE relationships, it also seems very helpful for teachers to engage students in lessons & activities regarding ‘the nature’ (or characteristics) of STSE relationships and RiNA projects. For example, a teacher of science asked his students in grade 10 ‘academic’ (university-qualifying) class to reflect on the nature of STSE & RiNA by completing this reflection sheet, including by sharing their personal reflections with a few classmates. Shortly afterwards, he conducted – as illustrated in the video at right/below – a whole-class discussion on characteristics of STSE & RiNA.

Possible Supplementary 3-Phase Apprenticeship(s)

After experiencing lessons & activities based on the 3-phase STEPWISE pedagogy (as above), some students may need one or more sets of such ‘apprenticeship’ lessons/activities prior to being asked to self-direct RiNA projects to overcome STSE harms of their concern. Teachers typically organize such lessons & student activities around a new topic (e.g., about biology, rather than chemistry). Related to such supplementary lessons & activities, teachers also may engage students in lessons & activities to help deepen students’ ASK about the nature (or characteristics) of STSE relationships & RiNA projects. After students design & carry out their first practice RiNA project, for example, they could be asked questions like, ‘How well did your plans work out the first time? Explain,’ and ‘What, if anything, changed your project by working with a classmate? Explain.’ The teacher may then arrange a Socractic lesson – as here – in which the whole class brainstorms some characteristics of STSE/RiNA. Ideas from such lessons can help students plan better projects in future.

Students Applying their Reflections on the Nature of STSE Relationships & RiNA Projects

There is much educational research support for lessons & activities to help students to reflect on the nature of their thinking & acting; that is, metacognition – in this case, on the nature of their RiNA projects to overcome harms in STSE relationships. Such reflections represent, essentially, reflections on the nature of science (and STSE relationships, including RiNA projects). A common benefit of such metacognition are improvements in learners’ self-control of future cognition and learning. Regarding the schema at right/below, for example, sample student reflection on the nature of STSE Issues, Research & Actions from their experiences with previous RiNA projects (as World <–> Sign relationships) can be applied to design & implementation of their next RiNA projects. For example, students’ finding that experiments may be more time-consuming than studies may lead them to prioritize studies in their next RiNA projects.