Personal reflections are one of the most powerful tools we can use to cement our learning. They compel us to quietly consider all aspects of our learning process and challenge us to clarify and personalize our experiences. In so doing, we transfer ephemeral insights to our long-term memory, and this leads to the kind of substantive growth that powers mindful action and positive change.
After nearly two months of exploring the US cultural values represented in our nation’s capital, the 8th graders came up with some profound insights and “Democracy in Action” plans in their final reflections. Here are a few excerpts…
on the WWII, Korean & Vietnam War Memorials:
“I will now make sure everyone gets an equal chance to have their voice heard. I will also stand up for what I believe in, so my voice can be heard.” – Lauren A.-C.
on the National Museum of Women in the Arts:
“I will go to more rallies to help fight for equal rights for women.” – Kyle Y.
on the National Museums of the American Indian, Women in the Arts & African American History & Culture:
“I will use what I have learned to be more respectful and politically correct by seeing past stereotypes and thinking for myself.” – Roan K.
“I will never let myself get caught up in old habits, and I will continue to look through different lenses. I will also listen to all different voices to get a full picture.” – Lily M.
on the Lincoln & Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials:
“Hope contributes to a functional democracy by allowing people to believe and have faith in the future.” – Maile M.
“I will not allow myself to be oppressed. I will listen to others in my group (unity) and have positivity as it can only help (hope). I will have the courage to stand up for my beliefs and support those who I agree with. I will not allow myself to be weighed down but will become a better human being.” – Isabel D.
on the value of experiential learning in Washington, DC:
“I now know that you cannot judge a place by what you’ve read online.” – Juliet P.