Apologies for not being able to make this last week’s gathering, but I wanted to offer some thoughts concerning Dr. McGuire’s talk. I appreciated the emphasis that she put on reflective practices. It’s something that all students can use to get better control and personal investment in their own learning.
One thing that I have not done that she woke me up to was the idea of group reflective practices. Typically, when students work in groups and complete collaborative assignments, I have them evaluate themselves after the assignment, and, if the grade is tied to the effort of the group, I have them evaluate the effort of their group mates. I ask them, in their evaluation form, if they believe that their peers contributed an equal amount of effort to the overall task, and if they feel each member of the group deserves equal credit. Typically, students respond by saying that everyone should receive the same grade. Occasionally, they can be self critical and say that other members deserve more credit. This assessment practice typically works fine and it does have students assess and evaluate their own contributions. What they don’t do, however, is reflect on their work together as a group, and after listening to this gem from Professor McGuire, why shouldn’t they? I really like this idea and plan to use it with my collaborative assignments.