Reflection is a vital part of learning. It offers us the opportunity to look back and affirm what worked well, and look forward to what might need improving the next time around. This critical reflection is the process by which curiosity and experience can lead to deeper understanding, both of what we’ve learned and how we learned it.
A Kristin education fosters creativity and imagination. It offers students opportunities for considering the nature of human thought and for developing the skills necessary not only to remember, but also to analyse one’s own thinking and effort—as well as the products and performances that grow from them.
Term 4 presents the perfect opportunity for our students to reflect on recent challenges or achievements – even more so when the end of the school year marks the beginning of a new chapter in their schooling.
After stepping up as leaders in the Junior School and embracing the challenges presented by the PYP Exhibition, some of our Year 6 students were recently asked to reflect on their journey with a piece of creative writing. The results were insightful and stand as a lesson to us all in how to approach new challenges.
Zack Roberston’s work, Finding Diamonds in Minecraft, employs the analogy of a computer game for his journey through the Junior School and on to the Middle School, and I’m sure you’ll agree that his reflections have wider application.
Finding Diamonds in Minecraft, by Zack Roberston
Finally. After years of waiting, I have entered a new world. A world of green and grey and blue. A world full of blocks and materials and yet I have nothing. A few days later I have something. It may not be the best material, but I still have a sense of accomplishment. I can now have access to new ores, to new blocks and to new materials. Time passes and in that time I collect, I store, I use. I get hurt but it does not kill me because I regenerate over time. I gain new armour and new weapons and I stand up to the mobs that once pushed me around.
I am near completion in this world, but I am yet to find one thing. Diamonds. I will not cheat to obtain diamonds, like some people will. I will mine for them. In my last month of mining, I struck them. I was so overjoyed and they seemed to smile at me in their blue, twinkly way. But then it struck me. The game is turning up to the next level of difficulty. Hard mode.
Jacob Cordeiro, the 16 year-old author of Minecraft for Dummies, says “It’s an appropriate game for all ages, because there are so many ways to regulate difficulty to your personal skill level. In some modes there is a way to win, but beating the Ender dragon isn’t that big of a deal. In fact, most players prefer Creative Mode where they can build structures using Lego-like blocks and collaborate with friends on new projects.”
Minecraft is a game that allows players to explore and discover freely, unencumbered by restrictive rules or the pressure of fabricated competition. This creative freedom makes Zack’s comparison an interesting one.
Consider, for a moment, what life would be like if it came with a difficulty level. In computer games the levels provide structure. They create purpose and goals; you must achieve ‘A’ before you can progress to ‘B’; you must collect one resource in order to produce another. In sports you have grades to match comparable teams against each other, or a handicap to enable individuals to compete on a level playing field. In life, however, challenges are unpredictable and we must become resilient, learning skills to adapt while still moving forward towards our goals.
So, as our students prepare for the summer break, we encourage them to reflect on their accomplishments this year and to carry the lessons learned with them as they take the next step in their learning journey. Through inquiry, action and reflection, Kristin students are encouraged to ‘find diamonds’, to develop a range of thinking, self-management, social communication and research skills that will take them ‘to the next level’.
Follow this link to read six more remarkable student reflections.
by Soraya Melsness
Into the Wild
by Tallulah Rainger
Finding Your Feathers
by Jennifer Wu
by Ethan Field
Learning from Doves
By Eeshan Bhatia
Learning to Play Tennis
By Larry Lambourne