This is a guest post by Angelita, if you would like to guest post as well, contact me!

Many students do everything right: they work ahead on big projects, they take notes dutifully in class, they participate in class discussion, they meet with their professors, and they seek help from other students. If you’re one of those students, then congratulations: you’re probably doing really well in school and earning a good education. And you’re probably interested in trying out new ways of learning; after all, you wouldn’t be reading this site otherwise. So here’s another thing you can do to help you connect each day’s lesson to the greater arc of the semester: practice self-reflection.

Self-reflection as a learning tool is used by many different people in order to help them get better at what they do, and as such, it is a valuable practice that students can use to help them in their studies. Think about it: sports teams debrief after big games; astronauts debrief after important space walks; and military units debrief after dangerous missions. Even teachers often keep a teaching journal in which they reflect on the day’s lessons, how they were successful, and how they could be improved. Self-reflection is practiced by the best of us.

If you’re interested in trying to use self-reflection in your own studies, then you should create a new file on your computer or get a fresh notebook and call it your Learning Journal or something like that. Make sure you have space for each class you’re taking, so that way you don’t have cross entries that get jumbled up. You should open this file or notebook after each class and give yourself five minutes of free-writing time. During this free-writing time, don’t stop writing at all. Force yourself to write whatever comes into your head, but make sure it in some way answers one of the following questions:

  • What did I learn in class today?
  • What was confusing about class today and why?
  • How did today’s class lesson connect to the learning objectives of the course?
  • How could today’s lesson apply to my goals as a college student?

These sorts of entries work in two ways. One, they force you to think critically about the day’s academic work some time after you leave the fresh discussion in the classroom. And two, they ask you to try to form a bigger picture understanding of your education and how it applies to you. Through self-reflection, you can become a better student.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. She welcomes your comments at her email: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.

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