Guidelines for Reflection

Why do we write reflection pieces in English 101?  Students in my classes write a good many reflection pieces because writing is a tool to understanding and learning.  Also, this is often how students show me what they have learned and, ultimately, what they know.

Reflective writing makes sure you are in tune with what we are doing in class and what we are reading outside of the classroom walls.   These writings hold you accountable to your learning goals for this semester.

Reflective writing will help you to develop your own thinking, your own ideas and thoughts on topics we explore in class discussion, activities and in our reading.  This process will help you to develop good critical thinking skills.

What is a reflective writing?

The reflective writing you will be composing this semester are opportunities for you to add your own thoughts and analysis to what you have read.  Your ideas are important and these ideas count.  A reflective writing is not merely a summary of your reading and learning experience.  The readings and learning experiences you are reflecting upon should be used as a jumping off place to compose your own thoughts and ideas about the experience or the reading.

How to succeed with your reflective writing:

  • Go into detail in explaining yourself and your ideas.  I am looking for depth of thought in your writing.  Show me you truly understand the concepts in the reading and/or experience.
  • Don’t summarize the readings.  You may refer to something in the reading, but I don’t want the entire reflection paper to be a summarization of the reading and/or experience.  Instead, comment on your thoughts regarding the reading – do you agree or disagree with what was written?  Why or why not?  Did the reading make you question or think about something else?  What questions were you left with after doing the reading?  Can you relate the reading to something going on in the media today?  Does the author of a given reading have a valid and logical argument?  If an article details a study that was done, was the study done in a manner that is valid?
  • For example, when reflecting upon your Jung Typology results you might write a bit about your test experience and your thoughts on the test before moving onto your results and your reflection and response to those results.  In order to dig deep and really reflect, it is not likely you will be able to cover every aspect of your resulting typology, but you may want to focus on one element to bring about a full understanding of your experience and your reflection.
  • Grammar and clean writing counts.  MLA format is required unless your writing is posted to the discussion board or your blog.
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