Phase 4: Review
Once the projects are over after two grueling weeks, our work as instructors continues. It's now time for Review, a process we always make sure to carve out ample time for (3 whole weeks!) because it is a critical part of the learning journey.
Learning, as I was once told, is a two part process.
The first part is experiential. You have to go through a process of doing and making and observing, which allows your brain to absorb the information.
The second part is reflective. You have to go back and look at all that you absorb and examine them, connect them, integrate them together.―Tony Chu '13 , Fail in Public
This reflection is especially not optional for transformative, experiential learning journeys like the ones we have just taken the students through.
Students who have "failed" their challenges are especially in need of guidance to place that experience into a context of ongoing learning. Achievement-oriented students need to be reminded to separate their egos from the work, and that success or failure is just a data point to build on.
In our course, we ask the students to go through four types of review: by themselves, with us, with each other, and in public.
First, we give the students space to reflect on their whole experience in the class in silence. Each student individually fills out a self-evaluation on Google Forms, the results of which are shared back to the whole class and discussed as a group. We have found that in this moment, students are often surprised to find that they were not alone in their struggles or emotions throughout the journey.
Next, we hold quick 1:1 (or technically in our case, 2:1) feedback sessions with each of the students, using their responses to the self-review as a springboard. As instructors, we use this time to point out things they did well (especially if they don't feel like obvious wins) and suggest areas that they can keep working on.
The students then have an opportunity to synthesize the most important lesson(s) they've learned into a tight 3 minute, 1 slide lightning talk, which they present to the rest of the class. This is a powerful moment for us to hear what the students really took away from the class, which never fails to surprise us in its range and depth.
Finally, we encourage the students to share their lessons learned, which they've now already synthesized in a low-stakes way, into a blogpost for public consumption. Many of the quotes shared throughout this site come from these posts.
Here are a few selected posts spanning the years.