The reflection worksheet below is a representative element of a cooperative learning structure that I use in my choral classrooms. Each student is assigned to a a cooperative base group, called a "rehearsal group," that remains constant throughout the school year. Each rehearsal group is a cross-section of the choir, comprised of the smallest ensemble of singers that represents the ratio of voice parts in the larger choir. Each group, then, can stand alone and sing the pieces the choir is rehearsing as a "mini-choir."
Periodically, the students take time to reflect on their experiences in these cooperative base groups. This gives them the opportunity to assess their individual contributions to the success of their base group and to the choir as a larger ensemble. This self-assessment time is very important, as it helps the students develop a deeper understanding of their own learning processes, as well as their individual importance to the success of the rehearsal groups and the choir. The reflection also gives the students the opportunity to be emotionally expressive, which is an integral part of musicianship.
Through the development of this learning structure and the reflection sheet, I have certainly become a more effective teacher. I have intentionally communicated the value I place on my students' thoughts, emotions, and ideas. I have also been more intentional about using writing as a form of self-expression and reflection. I realize how challenging it is for my students to sing in small groups, even if the only audience members are their peers in the larger ensemble. This reflection gives the students a chance to analyze the performance process, and it creates a more complete learning experience.