Reflective assignments: you either love them or loathe them. I fall into the second category. When I received my first reflective assignment, I couldn’t help but wonder if the law school had gone crazy. Was I really going to receive marks for talking about my feelings? The thought kind of made me shudder.
Having recently survived three reflective journal assignments, here are some tips for you other non-reflecting types to get you through!
I know this is a pretty standard tip, but if you must reflect on a particular day or event, write down all the key things that happened straight after they happened! Your memory will be more vivid and you will be better able to capture the setting around you by noting these details. Ideally, you want the reader to be put into the room, and see things from your perspective. Then expand these key points in prose as soon as you get the chance.
Read over your reflective piece, and examine it critically. Why did you say that particular thing, why did you act that particular way? What implications did your actions have, how were your actions or comments received? These are things that make a difference in terms of grades; even asking the people around you who are having some experiences about how they perceive them. You will be surprised at how people can have a completely different view of a shared experience. Also look out for any non-verbal cues people may be giving off!
If your reflective assignment allows you to add in your own research, do the research early on so you can add it into your reflective piece succinctly and seamlessly. Don’t just refer to it to support your opinion, but examine it critically. Are they making different arguments? Or did they reach the same conclusion but arrived at it in a different way to you?
At the start of my semester, I thought I was extremely lucky to receive an assignment that did not have a word limit! No need to do the standard culling of words before I submitted the journal. It turns out that that process is important in clearly representing your views. Just because this is not a standard academic assignment, it does not mean that trimming your assignment down and deleting waffle is unnecessary.
My reflective assignments have all been different in terms of what the subject coordinators were looking for. Some wanted greater analysis of the law, others wanted me to critically reflect on my experiences. Previous reflective assignment sceptics told me that this would be a beneficial experience. Honestly, I think you get what you put into these assignments in, and since you are getting graded you may as well put everything you can into it!
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