Reflection as a Learning Tool

If you’ve been in class recently, you’ve almost certainly heard me talking about the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. The book is a concise compilation of the last 3 decades of research in cognitive psychology around learning. In other words, the text examines what learning methods produce measurable results.
One of the methods that produces tangible results for students is reflection. Simply put, reflection is taking a moment after learning new material and trying to synthesize it for yourself. In the case of martial arts classes, this usually means talking to your fellow students or your teacher for a moment at the end of class and hashing out what you got out of the day’s session.
The process of reflection helps students put the material into their own words, making them more likely to be able to recall and use the information at a later date. This process of committing new material to memory will be even more successful if students can relate the new material to something they already know.
So, take the time after class to talk about what you learned. Sum up the important parts. Sum up what worked for you and what didn’t. Talk about how you might change things to make the strategies or techniques work better for you next time. Try and relate the material to something you already have a strong grasp of. Reflect.
If nobody has the time to chat, no worries! You can always grab a piece of paper, your phone, or your tablet and write down your thoughts.

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