Critical Reflection during COVID-19
What can students critically reflect on during this pandemic?
There is so much to reflect on during this time as communities around the world grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. Students could focus on the ways their courses and the needs of their partners have changed due to the pandemic. They could also look at the world directly in front of them, and reflect on the ways their neighbors and close ones are reacting and responding to the virus.
After checking in with students, you may find that they are overwhelmed and oversaturated by the pandemic and would prefer to reflect on another aspect of their engaged experience. The Office of Engagement Initiatives has a critical reflection packet, including guiding questions, a reflection framework and a rubric, to help students learn more about their communities and their place in those communities. The packet is adaptable to different contexts, issues and course material. Email Joy Das if you’d like a copy of the packet PDF.
In what ways does critical reflection help students connect the current crisis to my course material?
The COVID-19 pandemic challenges almost all aspects of civic life and disciplines to understand how, in a global health crisis, they play a role in society’s response, recovery and rebuilding. Leveraging the Learning Opportunity of a Global Health Situation by Susan Haarman of Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning provides reflection prompts for students to tie their own experience since March 2020 to what this pandemic means to their discipline.
Reflection frameworks such as the What-So What-Now What and DEAL models guide students through wrestling with their experience and coming out with ways they can constructively adapt their knowledge, behaviors and attitudes around the current crisis.
How can I plan for critical reflection throughout my remote or online course/project?
There are many resources coming out about lesson plans and activities that support remote and/or online critical reflection.
The Center for Civic Reflection fosters the practice of reflective discussion through the use of readings, images, and videos to “help people consider the values and beliefs that underlie their commitment leading to . . . more committed, effective action.” You can use one of their already developed discussion plans, facilitator summaries and other resources to engage students in reflective dialogue on a range of topics with the current crisis as the source of experience. Some examples are:
- Fear and leadership
- Is crisis a destructive force or an opportunity for renewal?
- What are our responsibilities as citizens? Who or what are we responsible for?
- How should we respond in a crisis?
How can I leverage technology to support critical reflection?
IUPUI’s Center for Service & Learning has many resources, facilitator agendas and lesson plans on how to support critical reflection virtually.
Learn about Cornell’s platforms that support critical reflection as an engaging and meaningful practice through the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI).
What learning outcomes will critical reflection allow you to achieve?
Critical reflection is both a student learning outcome and a process by which you can achieve other learning outcomes you’ve set for your course. Learn more about the other student learning outcomes that are embedded in community-engaged learning: civic engagement, intercultural competence, integrative learning and ethical practice.