Reflecting on the School Year

Reflecting on the School Year

A warm congratulations to students (and their families) everywhere for making it through another school year! 

The end of the year is an ideal time for students to take a break, unwind, and give their brains a well-deserved rest. It’s also an excellent opportunity to engage in some much-needed personal reflection, which we encourage students to do at the end of every semester or school year all the way through 

Why Is It Important to Reflect on the Year? 

Reflection is an essential part of growth, and students reflect and grow all the time, whether or not they realize it. Here’s a simple explanation of how growth happens: 

  • Students do something
  • They take a look at their results and recognize where they were successful and where they could improve
  • They think about how to improve
  • They try a different approach 
  • Hopefully, they see a noticeable improvement 

 

The process repeats over and over again—as long as a student feels motivated to continue growing. 

Engaging in self-reflection is easy enough when a student is passionate about something, like mastering the drums or perfecting a jump shot. But students may find it challenging to implement this discipline for something like academics. 

Encouraging Your Student to Reflect on the Academic Year 

Sometimes, students need a little bit of encouragement from a parent or trusted adult to undergo essential self-reflection regarding their academic life. For this reason, we advise parents to help their teens perform a comprehensive self-assessment at the end of each school year: 

  • Plan a time. Thoughtful self-analysis demands a dedicated time and place. Select an evening or afternoon to sit down together in a comfortable setting and have an honest discussion about the school year.
  • Gather supporting documents. Grade reports, tests, essays, materials relating to extracurriculars, and other documents can help students frame their accomplishments in concrete terms.
  • Think back. Prompt your teen to remember and discuss honestly how they imagined the school year would play out.
  • Lead with strengths and zero in on weaknesses. Have your student first reflect on their accomplishments, areas where they showed improvement, and times they met or exceeded expectations. Then, shift gears to reflect on the things that didn’t go as well as planned.
  • Explain the shortcomings. Encourage your teen to explore why they fell short in certain areas. This part of the process is especially difficult for students, so be sure to remind them that you’re on the same team and you’re not there to simply point out what they didn’t do.
  • Return to the positive. It’s important for teens to end the self-assessment on a positive note. After leading with strengths and then zeroing in on weaknesses, return to something good—this technique is known as “the sandwich method.”
  • Create a plan of action. Now that a student knows where they are, they can begin figuring out where they want to be. Help them write down concrete, actionable steps that tie into the strengths and weaknesses discussed earlier in the process. 

 

At Signet, we facilitate healthy self-reflection throughout our engagements with each student and encourage students to carry on this process in college and beyond. Contact us today to learn how services like academic coaching or tutoring can help your student achieve their goals.

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