Reflective writing is a component of every FYW course and should be identified in the course syllabus. The reflective portion of the course includes any time spent on characterizing, reconsidering, or qualifying one’s work. Often less evaluative than descriptive, reflective writing turns the critical, analytical activity that typifies academic writing back on the writing project itself, addressing questions such as:
- How does this project work?
- What characterizes the approach of this project and the “moves” that it makes?
- What work was entailed in getting to this point?
Reflective writing (and reflective work more generally) happens throughout the semester, usually in ways that complement formal writing projects by providing opportunities for a writer to imagine alternatives or trace lines of thought or activity. Indeed, much academic writing includes writing that we might describe as reflective in origin (e.g., “with this example, I intend to show that….”).
Essentially, reflective writing features the metacognitive elements of academic writing, often in genres that facilitate this self-awareness.