Reflection Toolkit

Simple reflective activity

Outline of a simple reflective activity that can be used at the end of lectures/tutorials to ensure engagement with the material but only takes 5 minutes.

Reflective activities can take many forms and can take as much or as little time as you want them to. An example simple reflective activity is described below.  To gain further inspiration, review ‘Reflection for self-awareness’ in the Reflectors’ Toolkit for a range of reflective activities or questions you can ask.

Reflection for self-awareness (within the Reflectors’ Toolkit)


The activity

Outlined below is an easy reflective activity to do as tutor/lecturer that ensures students engage with material from the tutorial/workshop/lecture. It requires the last 5 minutes of the class/lecture/workshop and it will give students protected time for reflection.


  • Decide whether students should do the activity in writing, in pairs, or just think about the questions.  It can be helpful to choose just one, and then potentially after a different lecture/tutorial choose another.
  • Ask them to answer:
    • What are their main learning points from the lecture?
      • How can they use this learning?
      • What excites them about the learning?
      • What does that make them want to go and learn more about?
    • What was unclear or the hardest to understand?
      • Why was it unclear or why was it challenging to understand?
      • What can they do to increase their understanding?
    • If they had to come up with one question to ask about the material, what would it be?
      • How can they find the answer?
  • Be around for any questions that students may have
  • Set a timer (3-5 minutes, or as long as you want) and do not finish the lecture before that time is used up – this avoids students leaving early.


The first time you run the activity you will likely require a few more minutes to set it up. On the first occasion:

  • Introduce the students to why you are doing the activity by talking to them about the values that come from engaging with it properly:

    • they get to revisit their learning from the lecture and restructure it in their own words (or writing) – revisiting learning makes it stronger
    • they get to identify areas that were not clear to them and/or why it was challenging to understand, as well as a chance to identify strategies for making it clearer
    • they get to ask a question either to clarify their understanding or to challenge the ideas presented in the lecture/workshop/tutorial – the first helps better learning, and the latter may help develop critical thinking
  • The last consideration is to be sure you set up the boundaries and expectation of the activity. This is still a part of the learning experience and you expect people to be engaged.


If this activity is done in tutorial/workshop groups or in a smaller lecture, it can be valuable to make students write down their answers and hand them in (anonymised) to you. This will give you an excellent feedback mechanism for your own teaching and where your students’ understanding is at. In the next tutorial/lecture/workshop, address the most common confusions or answer some of the most interesting questions.



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