When I started teaching Drama under the MYP Arts curriculum area, I had a few problems understanding what the IB-MYP meant when they wrote that reflection has to be ‘on-going’ in any MYP Arts course (refer to these excerpts from the IB-MYP Arts Guide to get what I mean). I felt very pressured to constantly come up with reflection questions for students. It took me a very long time to actually create a reflection structure and framework that satisfies the MYP requirements, is easy to explain to the students and is efficient to administer. Through careful reading, research and collaboration with MYP teachers in other schools, I came to understand that in the MYP Arts, Criterion C (Reflection and Evaluation) has three main strands:
1- the ability to reflect on progress, challenges and easies
2- the ability to evaluate own artwork (strengths and weaknesses)
3- the ability to receive feedback constructively
At first, I created a set of reflection questions that I would use with the students at the end of every lesson to prompt their reflection. But I wasn’t yet satisfied, as that required either writing up questions on the whiteboard and getting the students to copy them and answer, which is time-consuming; or printing worksheets with reflection questions, which is a waste of paper. Finally, I came across this wonderful website/blog by an IB Theatre/Drama teacher: The Black Box. I asked if I could borrow a reflection help-sheet that this teacher created, and I tweaked it so that it would better suit my class. This help-sheet includes sentence starters in four different categories: ‘strengths/easy/good/fun’, ‘weaknesses/hard/problems’, ‘improve’ and ‘feedback’. These four categories cover all the strands under Criterion C (Reflection and Evaluation). At the end of the lesson, I would allow the students some time to write their ‘four-sentence reflection’ on a piece of loose-leaf paper that they would keep in their portfolio. Here is a link to the reflection help-sheet and here is a photo of it:
Once the students practice writing their four-sentence reflection a few times, I then assess Criterion C (Reflection & Evaluation) using a task-sheet. This task sheet requires them to watch a video recording of their performance, write their four-sentence reflection, conduct a self-assessment of their work through a checklist, and then write up a performance evaluation:
The students are then also asked to self-assess themselves on their ability to reflect and evaluate using this modified rubric (they give themselves a mark out of 8 in the Student’s Self-Assessment column):
I also make use of reflection to help me assess other criterion, by allowing students to evaluate and self-assess themselves. For example, in this task below, the students create an improvised performance, watch a video recording of themselves performing, self-assess their skills and techniques using a checklist, and then give themselves a mark out of 10 for Criterion B (Application):
Student self-assessments and self-evaluations are a form of reflection, and I make use of them when gathering data to assess Criterion D (Personal Engagment). Here is a modified version of a group-work self-evaluation I found on this website: TeacherVision. I use this self-evaluation to assess ‘ability to work actively and supportively with peers’ which is one of the strands under Criterion D (Personal Engagement):
Another attitude I am often interested in assessing is ‘Audience Etiquette’ or ‘Audience Skills’. To gather data about this attitude, I also make use of the following self-evaluation:
These are all examples of how I use written reflections in my drama classroom. We also carry out a great deal of oral reflection and evaluation in the class. For example, after every drama game or warm-up, we reflect orally and debrief on what was the benefit of this game/warm-up and what skills do we practice by playing it. Additionally, after every performance, some students are selected to step into the ‘director’s shoes’ and give positive feedback or useful suggestions. Lastly, performers themselves are asked to deliver a short oral explanation of their performance and how they worked in the group, what they found challenging and what was easy.
I believe I have finally fulfilled the MYP requirement of having ongoing reflection. The students are constantly reflecting orally, in addition to carrying out at least one form of written reflection every lesson: four-sentence reflections, or self-assessment checklists, or performance self-evaluations, or self-assessments of attitudes, in addition to allowing them the opportunity to self-assess each of the MYP Arts Criteria of Assessment.