After Class Reflections

franklinquoteBy Christie Hyland — “Let’s go around and everyone say one thing you are taking away from class today.”

Every time I hear this, I immediately feel anxious. Of course, I paid attention to the entire lecture, and I undoubtedly learned a lot. But when I am put on the spot, it is more difficult for me to pull out a piece of information from my now scattered brain.

This is a practice I have grown accustomed to since starting my education at Marquette. My professors love to have my classmates and me reflect on what we have learned. This is in no way a bad thing. I appreciate their efforts to have us reflect on the last two hours and forty minutes of class. What did we learn? What is an important take-away? In my classes as an undergrad, this was not a common practice. In fact, I’m not sure I ever remember a professor bringing a lecture full-circle by summarizing what was covered or by prompting their students to voice their thoughts.

When my professors ask me to reflect on what I have learned in lecture or readings, or ask me to say what I think about something, it does create some anxiety. But soon it subsides, because I realize that they are not calling on me and my classmates to stump us. They genuinely care about our learning and our ideas. I have never felt that more than I have at Marquette.

Their simple exercise of asking for our thoughts or having us reflect is something we should be doing outside of class as well. Reflection allows us to remain engaged with the material. When we reflect, we can better understand what we have learned and what curiosities remain. All too often, I leave class, drive home, and disengage from my courses for a while.

But what I should do every night is look back through my notes and through my readings and ask myself: What did I learn today? Through this simple reflection, I will remain involved with the material even after class is over.

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