One of the most valuable things you can do as an educator is to have your students complete “reflection” assignments at the end of each quarter. Every 3 months, ask your student to write down answers to the following three things before coming to their next lesson:
#1 - Create a list of all exercises, books, and concepts we've worked on together in lessons this past quarter:
By taking a minute to look back through lesson notebooks/assignments, the student will often be impressed to see how much they’ve accomplished with you in a short period of time. They’ll also get a “big-picture” glance of the most important concepts addressed that quarter.
#2 - Looking at the list above, what specific areas of your playing have you improved on the MOST this quarter?
Because you and the student spend the majority of your time focusing on areas of improvement, often times the student may feel like they are "stuck in the weeds". When students are asked to clearly identify their own strengths, it empowers them, gives them a major confidence boost, and allows them to realize that they ARE making real progress in lessons and on their instrument.
#3 - What specific goals would you like to accomplish by the end of this next quarter?
Placing the student in the driver's seat is mutually beneficial for you both! You should use this information to cater part of your lesson plan towards the student’s interests so that they stay inspired while still learning the fundamentals. Meanwhile, the student also learns the value of effective goal-setting, a skill that will help them far beyond their instrument. (Help them determine if their goals are not challenging enough, not specific enough, etc.).
Want a simple template that you can print and give to your students? A PDF template of this reflection assignment can be downloaded by clicking below: