What is the importance of a reflective anaylsis on a student?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the purest of forms, it is vital for teachers to engage in reflective analysis of particular students.  In multiple way, almost in formative and summative manifestations, reflective analysis on student/ teacher interactions is vital for success.  When teachers engage on a reflective analysis of a student, they ask the probing questions that are often uncomfortable because of the dilemmas for change the questions pose.  Questions such as why something worked or why something failed, how could the teacher have better served the student, and how were the students' needs met are examples of the type of reflective analysis of a student that can transform teaching and learning.  Reflection must take place in both student success and teacher shortcomings.  Reflection cannot be effective if it is simply to gladhand teacher endeavors and it cannot be effective if it has no hope of redemption.  The importance of a reflective analysis of a student allows the teacher to find ways to be more effective the following year and in the future.  If teachers openly reflect, causing the often disturbing questions and answers to emerge, greater effectiveness in the classroom is evident.  Dewey suggested that reflection "begins with a dilemma."  Reflective analysis about a student might be a good starting point in this process.

Another layer of important to the reflective analysis in a student is what lessons we hope to impart to our students.  In embracing reflection in all of its forms, teachers are able to foster this condition in their students.  Teachers who actively engage in reflective analysis about students can transmit these same skills to their students.  In turn, they become their own agents of reflection.  In an education system that is driven largely by "what students need to know," the ability to teach them "how" something is known or understood is not as present as it can be.  Teaching students how to reflect about themselves, their worlds of learning and being as well as their place in both can help develop better thinkers.  This process can be accomplished if teachers are able to demonstrate the tenets of reflective analysis in their own professional beings with their students in mind.  Put another way, if teachers can demonstrate to students that there is nothing to fear about dilemmas raised by reflection, such as engaging in the reflective analysis of a student, then students are more likely to embrace it themselves as part of their own mode of thinking.