Reflective Learning

Reflective thinking is a powerful learning tool. As we have seen throughout this course, proficient readers are reflective readers, constantly stepping back from the learning process to think about their reading. They understand that just as they need to activate prior knowledge at the beginning of a learning task and monitor their progress as they learn, they also need to make time during learning as well as at the end of learning to think about their learning process, to recognize what they have accomplished, how they have accomplished it, and set goals for future learning. This process of “thinking about thinking” is called metacognition. When we think about our thinking—articulating what we now know and how we came to know it—we close the loop in the learning process.

How do we engage in reflection? Educator Peter Pappas modified Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning to focus on reflection:

A Single Column Table Labeled "A Taxonomy on Reflection." From the bottom up, the cells read "Remembering: What did I do?", "Understanding: What was important about it?", '"Applying: Where could I use this again?", "Evaluating: How well did I do?", and "Creating: What should I do next?" An arrow points from the bottom cell up the list to the top cell.


This “taxonomy of reflection” provides a structure for metacognition. Educator Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has modified Pappas’s taxonomy into a pyramid and expanded upon his reflection questions:

Drawing of a blue pyramid. On each level of the pyramid, from bottom to top, are the labels "What did I do?", "What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?", "When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?", "Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?", "How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve on?", and "What should I do next? What's my plan/design?"


Use Pappas’s and Tolisano’s taxonomies of reflection to help you reflect on your learning, growth and development as a reader, writer, and thinker in this course.