what is not a type of reflective writing assignments

what is not a type of reflective writing assignments

Types of Reflective Writing Assignments

1. Critical Reflections

This form of reflective paper is written to aid in critical thought and introspection. It’s a deliberate and sometimes uncomfortable attempt to deeply access questions that cause many areas of disequilibrium, as well as complex problems which do not have solutions. The thought is deep and often there is no conclusion, rather an ongoing process of questioning, exploring, and testing perceptions and assumptions. The writing that results is more formal, with a clear sense of audience, purpose, and means of assessment. This means the writer should discuss their experience in a way that is relatable to a specific audience, reflecting in depth and with a clear sense of purpose. This may be a discussion on the merits and pitfalls of the experience, how it did or did not meet the writers’ expectations, a consideration of what knowledge was or can be gleaned from the experience, or an analysis of how future experiences can be improved through the application of new knowledge and understandings. The style of writing should also be varied: some critical reflection is discursive with a focus on a logical argument, and some will be an evaluative summary of events. This means language use will be explicit, with an evaluative and sometimes subjective tone. It should also be supported with evidence and theory, often comparing or contrasting the experience with the current knowledge and understandings on the subject. Any generalizations should be supported with examples and context, and all opinions will need to be justified. This form of writing truly enables an in-depth assessment of the experience at all levels.

2. Personal Journals

Students can create a private space for their thoughts where they can freely write without the fear of evaluation. In this space, the writing should not be evaluated in terms of grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Teachers should provide feedback on the content only. The purpose of the personal journal is just that, to express and explore thoughts and ideas. Teachers can also use various strategies for monitoring journal writing to involve the students in the process. For example, the teacher can participate in the process and write a journal for professional persons or for personal self. This can show the students how the writing is done. Another strategy is to have peer response groups that will share their journals with one another. This can take the form of interviews, dictation, or talking about entries. Developing a blog for the students to express opinions with the teacher as administrator and the ability to filter who can view the blog is also a modern way of creating a personal journal. Many students do not understand the difference between public blog writing and a personal journal and may be hesitant to write an opinion in fear of evaluation. The teacher should clearly explain that personal journal writing is not for public eyes and class discussions should be held on what is appropriate for the public blog. This type of digital writing is also beneficial to students now as fluency with computer literacy is becoming as important as literacy with pen and paper.

3. Self-Evaluations

Evaluations, in a sense, are reflective. When we stop to consider what we have done in order to make a judgment about it, we are engaging in reflection. Self-assessment has been proven to be very useful because it shifts the focus from what the teacher has done to what the student has learned. Student self-assessment occurs when learners assess their own performance. When we, as adults, engage in self-reflection, we move beyond the planning stage and direct our thoughts to an evaluation of what took place – either during a learning and activity, or following it. Often self-reflections are linked with goal setting and the development of a personal development plan. The benefits of self-reflection and self-evaluation can prove to be phenomenally more beneficial than the previously mentioned reflective practice tools and techniques because they are imbued with a far deeper personal meaning. Self-reflection and evaluation serve to bring together the learning from the experience and cement it – in the mind and in practice. This in turn helps to inform and shape a person’s future actions and improve goal achievement.

4. Analytical Essays

Most often, reflective writing assignments will require an assessment to be made of the validity or truth of an experience, event, or concerning a piece of literature. The aim is for the reader to feel that they have gained insight which is directly relevant to their own experience. This then is the basis for the development of critical analysis in a given situation. There are a variety of approaches to the development of critical analysis. It can be achieved through integrating the analysis with other academic tasks, following a sequence of predetermined questions drawing out the critical analysis, working with a learning set where the reflective activity forms the basis for group discussion, or writing an account that reflects and fulfills its primary intention through the detailed portrayal of a situation and evaluation of it. Having identified that the intention of critical analysis is the conscious attempt to work through an issue or decision in an attempt to make a sound judgment, Barrett and her colleagues provide some useful starting points using reflective writing as a way to develop this.

5. Research Papers

A research paper combines multiple writing tasks and skills, each serving a different purpose. The content and scope of the paper are usually determined by the chosen topic and the type of paper to be written. The first task is to define the topic, which can be either general or very specific. Then, the student must gather information on the topic, which can be a complex process involving library sessions, internet research, and contact with knowledgeable individuals in the field. The paper should then present a comprehensive and well-informed synthesis of the collected information. The student must also interpret this information, which may involve explaining data or an event. Finally, the paper aims to persuade the reader that the student’s argument or hypothesis is valid.

The characteristics of a research paper vary depending on the discipline. It may focus on analyzing existing literature, conducting a formal experiment, or providing an original analysis of a specific issue. At the secondary and post-secondary levels, this type of assignment is often used to help students learn how to conduct original research using library resources, clarify events, develop historical or scientific hypotheses, design experiments to test them, or analyze complex sets of data from research projects in order to explain their meaning.

Research papers are often assigned to students, especially student teachers. It is an opportunity for them to demonstrate their understanding of a topic by synthesizing knowledge from various sources. Students can show that they are capable of breaking down an issue or topic into its individual components and critically analyzing the information they have gathered in written form. While writing, students will also practice citing information and distinguishing their own ideas from those of others. This is a great chance for students to practice higher-order thinking.

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