Reflective Essay

Overview: A reflective essay is one that collects your thoughts on a subject — writing the essay is just a way of thinking back on what you learned. This essay will be a reflective essay on your learning and writing process throughout the semester. This is designed to help you reflect on your work as a student to identify areas of success and areas for improvement. This should be a very personal piece of writing: it is more about you and what you learned. It should highlight the problems you faced, how you feel you improved, and factors that went into the choices you made in your essays. You should provide specific examples of your experiences, learning, and process as part of this essay.

With this reflective essay, you will account for and evaluate the choices made in your essays by

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considering your own composing and design strategies given the purpose, context, medium, and audience.
explaining how writing your essay positions you as the writer in relation to other people, their ideas, and their writing.
identifying what you have learned about your own rhetorical situation in general based on activities centered on humanity and community?

Writing your reflective essay will help you pull together what you’ve learned so it isn’t just a jumble of unrelated techniques or facts. You know more than you think you do, and a little bit of critical thinking about it all will help you realize how much you do know. This essay of your reflections should draw on what we have covered in class, but it should be centered primarily on how you have seen yourself change (or not change) throughout the semester. While your essay should discuss specific skills, concepts, and changes in thinking related to your own writing and writing process, you need not limit yourself to a consideration of your growth as a writer.

Think About:

Reviewing the course description and competencies for English 102:

Official Course Description: Emphasis on rhetoric and composition with a focus on persuasive, research-based writing and understanding writing as a process. Developing advanced college-level writing strategies through three or more writing projects comprising at least 4,000 words in total.

Course Competencies:

Write for specific rhetorical contexts, including circumstance, purpose, topic, audience and writer, as well as the writing`s ethical, political, and cultural implications.
Organize writing to support a central idea through unity, coherence and logical development appropriate to a specific writing context.
Use appropriate conventions in writing, including consistent voice, tone, diction, grammar, and mechanics.
Find, evaluate, select, and synthesize both online and print sources that examine a topic from multiple perspectives.
Integrate sources through summarizing, paraphrasing, and quotation from sources to develop and support one`s own ideas.
Identify, select and use an appropriate documentation style to maintain academic integrity.
Use feedback obtained through peer review, instructor comments, and/or other sources to revise writing.
Assess one`s own writing strengths and identify strategies for improvement through instructor conference, portfolio review, written evaluation, and/or other methods.
Generate, format, and edit writing using appropriate technologies.

How you have met these goals? Which competencies do you think you excelled in and which could use improvement? Feel free to review the Module and Unit overview to help you as well.

What was your writing like when you began the course?
Is it better now?
Are you more confident?
Do you know where to look stuff up?
What do you consider the single most important insight this course has given you – the idea that had the strongest impact, or will stay with you for a long time?
Do you have any ideas for improving this course?
Which assignments did you enjoy the most and why?
Which assignments did you struggle with the most and why?
What would you do differently if you could take this course over again?
Be specific. What specific strategies, techniques or skills have you learned? It never hurts to be specific.

Essay Organization:

Given the number of possible items you could address, it’s important to have a clear controlling purpose (AKA a THESIS) in your reflective essay so that your writing does not sound like a long list of points in paragraph form.

A successful reflective essay includes:

a interesting title
a thesis statement that makes an overall claim about your learning this semester+
discussion of what you have learned as a result of your work in our writing course
discussion of what you would like to learn more about

You can and should discuss things like:

important revisions you made in the process of writing
decisions you made in building your essay, and rationale for these decisions
challenges with specific parts of the assignments
what you learned from the authors you read
how you look at writing differently than when the semester began
how your writing has changed
how your writing process has changed

You should avoid comments like:

“I learned a lot this semester.”
“My teacher was so great” or “My teacher was horrible because…”
“Thank heavens this class is over”
“I hope you were impressed with my essays. I worked so hard on them.”
“Clearly, I am ready for another English Course

Overall Requirements:

Introduction with thesis statement
3-5 Body Paragraphs
750 word Minimum
Proper MLA Formatting

Final note: This is an essay about you and your writing. Do not interpret or EXTENSIVELY summarize other authors in your reflective essay. Some summary is OK, but just for the purpose of getting to your reflective point.

Criteria for grading will be: How well organized is your essay? Does it flow smoothly and logically from one point to the next? Do you back up your points with specific examples? Do you identify your sources (no sources are required, but if you use one you must cite it)? Do you understand the concepts I’m asking about? How thoughtful is your essay?

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