You’ve had a great class. Your students seemed to listen intently while you told the Bible story. They loved the hands-on, meaningful, memorable activity you had planned for them. As the bell rings, your students are so engaged, their parents have to practically drag them out of your room. One important question though. What did they actually learn?
Teachers will tell you that even the best planned lessons can still leave some students with unanswered questions. Others may have totally missed something and leave the classroom with a serious misunderstanding. Many aren’t quite sure what they were supposed to have learned or remembered from the lesson.
Taking the last five minutes of class for a time of reflection will help all of your students with understanding and remembering your main points. If you look at any of our free activity ideas, you will notice a guiding question. This question asks students about something you want them to learn during your lesson and activity. It can help them listen more carefully, but it’s also a great starting point for your reflection time.
Although the details of the Bible story you taught are important, if you have limited reflection time, focus more on the application of your lesson. What does God want them to learn from the Bible story? What will that look like in their lives if they learn the lesson God wanted them to learn?
Find ways to ask the questions so more than one student will participate. Mixing it up will help you understand if your teaching is understandable to all of your students, not just the gifted child in your class. Don’t scold children for wrong answers. This time is for gentle correction of any misunderstandings.
It’s also a great time to ask students what additional questions they may have about the lesson. Don’t worry if you can’t answer one of their questions. Write it down and tell them you will do some research and give them an answer in the next class (make sure you do – even if the answer is God doesn’t tell us why).
Some classes are so intense, you don’t have time for reflection. That’s okay. Try to begin the next week with a review that includes some reflective questions or points. Or have several recurring themes for a period of time, so reflection is also a time for reinforcing long term memory of key ideas and principles.
It takes a little extra effort, but sacrificing five minutes of teaching time for reflection can actually improve learning and retention. This can mean the difference in whether or not your students are actually able to use the information you tried to teach them in their lives.