Reflection On Writing Assignment

Types of reflective writing assignments

Journal: requires you to write weekly entries throughout a semester. May require you to base your reflection on course content.

Learning diary: similar to a journal, but may require group participation. The diary then becomes a place for you to communicate in writing with other group members.

Log book: often used in disciplines based on experimental work, such as science. You note down or 'log' what you have done. A log gives you an accurate record of a process and helps you reflect on past actions and make better decisions for future actions.

Reflective note: often used in law. A reflective note encourages you to think about your personal reaction to a legal issue raised in a course.

Essay diary: can take the form of an annotated bibliography (where you examine sources of evidence you might include in your essay) and a critique (where you reflect on your own writing and research processes).

Peer review: usually involves students showing their work to their peers for feedback.

Self-assessment: requires you to to comment on your own work.

Some examples of reflective writing

Social Science fieldwork report (methods section)

The field notes were written by hand on lined paper. They consisted of jotted notes and mental triggers (personal notes that would remind me of specific things when it came to writing the notes up). I took some direct observational notes recording what I saw where this was relevant to the research questions and, as I was aiming to get a sense of the culture and working environment, I also made researcher inference notes  [1]  [2] .

 [3]  I found the notetaking process itself helpful, as it ensured that I listened carefully and decoded information. Not all the information I recorded was relevant, but noting what I found informative contributed to my ability to form an overview on re-reading. However, the reliability of jotted notes alone can be questionable. For example, the notes were not a direct transcription of what the subjects said but consisted of pertinent or interesting information.

Rarely did I have time to transcribe a direct quotation, so relied on my own fairly rapid paraphrasing, which risks changing the meaning. Some technical information was difficult to note down accurately  [3] . A tape recorder would have been a better, more accurate method. However, one student brought a tape recorder and was asked to switch it off by a participant who was uneasy about her comments being directly recorded. It seems that subjects feel differently about being recorded or photographed (as opposed to observers taking notes), so specific consent should be sought before using these technologies  [4] .

 1.  Description/ explanation of method.

 

 2.  Includes discipline-specific language

 

 3.  Critical evaluation of method

 

 4.  Conclusion and recommendation based on the writer's experience

Engineering Design Report

Question: Discuss at least two things you learnt or discovered – for example about design, or working in groups or the physical world – through participating in the Impromptu Design activities.

Firstly, the most obvious thing that I discovered was the advantage of working as part of a group  [1] . I learned that good teamwork is the key to success in design activities when time and resources are limited. As everyone had their own point of view, many different ideas could be produced and I found the energy of group participation made me feel more energetic about contributing something  [2] .

Secondly I discovered that even the simplest things on earth could be turned into something amazing if we put enough creativity and effort into working on them  [1] . With the Impromptu Design activities  [3]  we used some simple materials such as straws, string, and balloons, but were still able to create some 'cool stuff'  [4] . I learned that every design has its weaknesses and strengths and working with a group can help discover what they are. We challenged each other's preconceptions about what would and would not work. We could also see the reality of the way changing a design actually affected its performance.

 1.  Addresses the assignment question

 2.  Reflects on direct experiences

 3.  Direct reference to the course activity

 4.  The style is relatively informal, yet still uses full sentences.

 5.  Relating what was learnt.

Learning Journal (weekly reflection)

Last week's lecture presented the idea that science is the most powerful form of evidence  [1] . My position as a student studying both physics and law makes this an important issue for me  [2]  and one I was thinking about while watching the 'The New Inventors' television program last Tuesday  [3] . The two 'inventors' (an odd name considering that, as Smith (2002) says, nobody thinks of things in a vacuum) were accompanied by their marketing people. The conversations were quite contrived, but also funny and enlightening. I realised that the marketing people used a certain form of evidence to persuade the viewers (us?) of the value of the inventions  [4] . To them, this value was determined solely by whether something could be bought or sold—in other words, whether something was 'marketable'. In contrast, the inventors seemed quite shy and reluctant to use anything more than technical language, almost as if this was the only evidence required – as if no further explanation was needed.

 

This difference forced me to reflect on the aims of this course—how communication skills are not generic, but differ according to time and place. Like in the 'Research Methodology' textbook discussed in the first lecture, these communication skills are the result of a form of triangulation,  [5]  which I have made into the following diagram:

...

 1.  Description of topic encountered in the course

 2.  The author's voice is clear

 3.  Introduces 'everyday' life experience

 4.  The style is relatively informal, yet still uses full sentences

 5.  Makes an explicit link between 'everyday' life and the topic

References

Brookfield, S 1987, Developing critical thinkers: challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting, Open University Press, Milton Keynes.

Mezirow, J 1990, Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: a guide to transformative and emancipatory learning, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Schön, DA 1987, Educating the reflective practitioner, Jossey-Bass. San Francisco.

The Learning Centre thanks the students who permitted us to feature examples of their writing.

Prepared by The Learning Centre, The University of New South Wales © 2008. This guide may be distributed or adapted for educational purposes. Full and proper acknowledgement is required. Email: learningcentre@unsw.edu.au

 

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Sample Reflection

For each chapter write an informal 200-300 word reflection focusing on what you learned and a 25 word reflection on each visited Web site. Do not summarize the chapter, instead discuss new ideas and significant insights and how the information can be used to support classroom integration of technology. Also reflect on your personal reaction to reading the chapter and the supplemental information provided with this module.

Type your reflections single space with an extra line between paragraphs. Send this reflection in the body of an e-mail message (not as an e-mail attachment ) to your instructor on or before of the module's due date. Please type, Chapter 1 Reflection, in the subject line of your e-mail message.

In Chapter One:  Introduction to Using Computers in Education I have been refreshed on much computer terminology.  I also have come to understand that in order to keep up with the computer world I must have this computer literacy or understanding of computers and their uses.  Throughout my college experience and buying a car and other high priced items, have been using information literacy.  I know how to find and use information.  For example, it is much easier and more efficient to search at home before heading out from dealership to dealership unsure of what you are looking for in a car.  With information literacy, you can search right at home with the internet to locate potential features you might want in a car and then go to a dealership with a more focused approach. 

I believe as an educator, integration literacy is essential for the children and can save a teacher time, energy, and make them able to incorporate more real authentic learning.  When a teacher can find appropriate technology to go along or match objectives being taught, then they are using their integration literacy.  I have done some integration, mainly in the language arts and social studies areas.  For example, I had found an online student unit on a book we read together as a class.  After every 3 chapters there was an assignment for the students.  The students used a mobile lab of laptops and were paired up with partners.  They worked on the assignment together after each of the chapter selections.  The assignments ranged from writing assignments to using the Kid’s Almanac on the Internet.  This allowed the students to learn not only how to browse the Internet, but to become familiar with the many sources of information they can also find.  They also learned of the many fun student activities that go along with what we are learning in class.  They learned to bookmark favorite websites, and got to practice their writing skills in word processing, and tested out how to insert data to make graphs.  I found that by integrating technology, the students became more motivated about their schoolwork and were able to connect what they were learning with their own personal lives. 

As I learn more about integrating technology into the classroom I have learned that I must continuously reflect on how I can use my new knowledge in three ways:  For my own professional development, using technology as a productivity tool in my classroom and extensively integrating technology in my teaching, lessons, student-based projects, and student assessments to improve student learning.  Engaging in this is called curriculum-specific or discipline-specific learning.  I look forward to finding more about curriculum specific content that I can use in my classroom.  Being a 4th grade classroom teacher, sometimes I get nervous that I am not spending enough time on proficiency practice or proficiency objectives.  But if I could find curriculum specific information and ideas on how to use it in the classroom, then I could be focusing in on proficiency objectives at the same time motivating students by using technology. 

By knowing and understanding what a computer is, what it does, and the components of a computer I am/will be more able to teach to the students in my class.  I will also be able to order the appropriate software, be more apt to problem solve when there are computer errors, and know of the many different tasks a computer is able to perform. 

Teaching Today:  In this section I went to #4.  which featured a discussion regarding   K-12 textbook publishers who have begun to enhance their books with content-related Internet and World Wide Web products and services. .I visited the websites of several publishers: (Pearson Education , McGraw-Hill ,  and Prentice-Hall. I know that I will want to go back to these publisher’s sites when I find out which textbooks I will be using as a teacher.

 Education Issues:  I went to #1 School Violence.  Here I went to various links http://www.juvjus.state.nc.us/cpsv/     and explored the site for the Center for the Prevention of School Violence.  This site told about early warning signs of students who may become violent.  There is counseling available and many organizations that are fighting for the limited counseling at schools to become more readily available. 

Integration Corner:  I loved this!  I went to the elementary corner and discovered this incredible Crayola site at http://www.crayola.com/educators/index.cfm

There were so many sections on crafts and coloring activities. This site also has lesson plans!! I kept exploring the links for other sites in the elementary area. I think I will have no trouble finding my 50 websites to use for my Technology ToolKit. This textbook web site is going to be an incredible resource.

 

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