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ATTENTION TEACHERS: Think about your process when planning instruction. Do you start by determining why the learning is important and how your students will continue to use it? Do you identify what your students will be learning and how they will demonstrate their learning? Do you select your instructional strategies and lesson sequence based on the learning and the students? Do you take time to reflect on the impact of each lesson?
When we work with teachers, we often ask these questions. And, while we hear affirmatives to most of these questions, the last one has more mixed responses. Sometimes, we are told that the issue is understanding the value of reflection. Sometimes, it’s finding the time to reflect. Sometimes, it’s the lack of having a routine process to reflect.
Yet, we know how important it is for students to develop the skills to reflect on and evaluate their own learning. This makes them active participants in their own education and guides them towards becoming lifelong learners. Why should it be any different for teachers?
The Critical Lever for Instructional Excellence
Researcher John Hattie tells us that the most effective teachers are the most reflective teachers. He feels that teachers who think about their practice, reflect on the impact of their practice, and evaluate their practice in terms of student understanding are the most effective at getting students to learn. In fact, he says, “Such passion for evaluating impact is the single most critical lever for instructional excellence—accompanied by understanding this impact, and doing something in light of the evidence and understanding.”
In other words, research bears out that teachers who make it a routine to reflect on their lessons, in turn, have a positive impact on teaching and learning for their students.
How to Reflect on the Impact of a Lesson
The purpose of a set of reflection questions is to support the teacher in assessing the success of a lesson and their own decisionmaking. This helps the teacher answer, “What did you decide to do?” and, more importantly, “How did you decide that?” This is the metacognitive side of instruction, and it supports teachers in becoming stronger decisionmakers.
The following set of reflection questions are specifically designed for Elevated Achievement’s Learning Model, but can be used to reflect on any type of lesson.
Begin by thinking about the following questions, as you reflect on the lesson as a whole.

 What were the students learning?
 What did the students do to show that they had learned?
 Was the lesson successful for you?
Now, reflect on the phases of the lesson.
Learning Context: Why is the learning important?
Think about the following questions to reflect upon how you supported your students to set the Learning Context.

 Why were they learning this skill?
 How does today’s learning connect to yesterday’s and tomorrow’s?
 How did you share this information with your students?
 How did you decide the answers to these questions?
Learning Outcome: What did the students learn?
Think about the following questions to reflect upon how you supported your students to state the Learning Outcome.

 What skill were the students learning?
 What did the students do to show that they learned this skill?
 How did the students know the learning outcome of the lesson?
 How did you share this information with your students?
 How did you decide the answers to these questions?
Learning Process: How did the students learn it?
Think about the following questions to reflect upon how you supported your students to engage in the Learning Process.

 What strategy did you select to teach the skill?
 How did you share this information with your students?
 Was the strategy effective? What is your evidence?
 Were you pleased with the instructional decisions you made?
 How did you decide the answers to these questions?
Learning Demonstration: How did the students show that they have learned it?
Think about the following questions to reflect upon how you supported your students to produce the Learning Demonstration.

 What did the students do to show that they learned the skill?
 What were the results?
 How did you check for understanding throughout the lesson?
 How did you share this information with your students?
 How did you decide the answers to these questions?
Learning Application: How will the students continue to use what they learned?
Think about the following questions to reflect upon how you supported your students to implement the Learning Application.

 How does today’s learning connect to subsequent learning?
 How will your students use this learning in the future?
 How will your students own this learning in the future?
 How did you share this information with your students?
 How did you decide the answers to these questions?
A Final Note on Collaboration – Don’t Do it Alone
Although reflection implies an individual practice, this is a process that requires and deserves support from the collective school community. This support includes providing opportunities for teachers to implement practices specific to their identified areas of growth. It includes an environment that promotes risktaking, collaboration, and time for guided reflection. And it includes exemplar models of practice and of reflection to develop the mindful habit of continual selfreflection and improvement. Our next article will provide this collegial support for reflection. So, watch this space.
The Learning Brief
In this article you learned…
 Teachers who make it a routine to reflect on their lessons, in turn, have a positive impact on teaching and learning for their students.
 Reflecting on lessons is the metacognitive side of instruction, and it supports teachers in becoming stronger decisionmakers.
 How to reflect on a lesson using Elevated Achievement’s Learning Model.
Can you imagine building an environment full of motivated, engaged, and eager students who own their learning?
We can.