At the end of my sessions, I usually try to ask students what insights they’re taking away from our work together. I love hearing their answers, plus it’s a great way to concretize what they’ve learned.
Recently, I worked with a student who had difficulty saying enough in the essay he was writing on Of Mice and Men. I helped him find a quote and then figure out how to find enough to say to analyze that quote. When I asked Blaine at the end of the session what he learned by our work today, he said he gets now that he needs to “go deep into it” when analyzing a quote. I like the way he worded that! 🙂
Sometimes I’ll ask students to assign a number value to our session. “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most useful experience you’ve ever had in your life, and 1 being the biggest waste of your time, what number would you give our session today?” Usually teens will answer between 6 and 8. I’ll then ask them for more information about “What specific activity/skill/discussion made it a 6 for you?”
Asking clients to name their take away is important for a number of reasons:
First, kids are often going with my flow through the session. I think sometimes they are just following instructions and answering questions, and don’t realize that they’ve actually received something of value, something that they can use in the rest of their life.
Also, taking a moment to reflect helps clients move from being focused on me (and the tasks I am asking of them) to being focused on their own learning.
Finally, naming what has been most valuable is a little flag/bookmark to their brains. “Remember this! We want to do this again!”
I’m curious how often tutors and academic coaches ask reflective questions at the end of their sessions with students. If you are a tutor, coach, or teacher, please comment below! I’d love to hear what questions you ask, and why you think they’re useful.
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