In many ways, reflection in a media arts lesson is no different than reflection in a Language Arts or mathematics lesson—it’s a chance for students to self-assess by thinking about their work, the work of others, and what they’d like to do next.
Just as lessons typically start with a discussion, they typically end with a reflection. However, opportunities for reflection can take many forms and can happen at various or multiple points throughout a lesson. Importantly, reflection often leads to revision—a key part of the artistic process—and could take place midway through a lesson in order to allow students time to revisit their work. Similarly, you may start a lesson with a reflection on completed work, before students begin a new step. Here are a few ways reflection can take place in a media arts lesson:
• A daily journal entry or sketch about the process
• A production diary or photo documentation of the production process. At the end of the media arts unit, you can revisit these documents and discuss the learning process.
• An essay or report. Asking students to write a personal essay about their learning process, or an expository report to explain the filmmaking process to their peers, is a good way to incorporate summative assessment into a filmmaking lesson.
• A presentation to the whole group. Group presentation is a great way to encourage students to take ownership and pride in their films and their learning processes. If you have broken the class into small work groups to create films, you may encourage them to prepare a short presentation about their process to share with the larger class. They may also share their films as a part of their presentations. Encourage the class to ask questions.
• A production meeting. Throughout the production process, teams should meet to assess their progress and to adapt their strategies for moving forward. You may give students a structure for a production meeting that works like a check-in. Each group member will report the status of his or her primary responsibility (i.e. “we are halfway through the shot list”).
• A peer evaluation or critique. Another form of group presentation, a peer critique, is an excellent way to encourage the whole class to engage with each group’s film. Remind students to be respectful in critique. For more information about how to structure a classroom critique to avoid meanness and hurt feelings, see our article on Critique in the Classroom.
• A one-on-one debrief with the instructor
• A Q&A prompt that students respond to verbally or through writing
• An “on-the-fly” reflection, where an instructor asks a student to articulate a choice they made
During any reflection lesson, it is important to create a supportive environment for students to share their creative work and their feelings about the creative process. Encourage students to support one another in learning from their experiences.