Types of Reflective Writing

The FYW program recommends two ways of pursuing reflective writing:

  • Low-Stakes Self-Reflection (Ungraded)
    This is writing about one’s own writing, the process and the product, in precise and local ways. Such writing is best as low-stakes, ungraded writing. One common approach is assigning cover letters for drafts or final projects, either turned in with the assignment, or written upon arrival in class on the day an assignment is due. Other examples include process notes (which might explicitly examine the writer’s process for producing the draft), in-class reflections on (or presentations of) one’s project, other kinds of metatexts, or even a placing of one’s work within the context of others’ work.
  • “Textualizing” Student Writing (Graded)
    This is using the students’ own writing projects as “texts” in a later writing assignment. This allows students to use a framework or critical vocabulary they have been working with throughout the semester to animate a discussion of their own writing texts. This can only work within some course contexts, such as those that raise issues associated with education, writing, subjectivity, language, etc. For example, if other assignments have been examining education through the lens of Paulo Freire, a reflective assignment might ask students to turn that lens on their own writing, examining it through Freire’s concepts and questions.

Note: We strongly recommend that graded reflective work not happen at the very end of the semester.

See also our Best Practices for Graded Reflective Writing.