We’re now halfway through the term and it’s an ideal time to look back over my reflections of the past five weeks and reflect on my voice, writing, and how successful I’ve been reflecting on my readings, what I’ve learnt, and our discussions in class. It’s that point in the game where the players stop for water and the fans line up for beer; I’m not sure what crowd I belong in.
Our instructor has asked the question, what makes us uncomfortable about this type of writing? and my answer is that I’m uncomfortable about how comfortable it is. I struggle with the ingrained idea that academic writing should be a struggle and should require a lot of editing and research. To borrow the opening metaphor from Watton, Collings, and Moon’s Reflective Writing: Guidance Notes for Students, I feel like I’m in a Pensieve when I should be hooked up to that machine from The Cell. I’m made even more nervous after reading some of the resources for reflective writing and learning journals provided by my instructor because they all focus on the academic requirements, the Grading Rubric for Reflective Assignments even has a suggestion for page length. As much as I focus on making my assignments readable with an engaging voice and good ‘flow’ it’s always been a comfort to me that if I follow the requirements for font size, paragraph style, length, and references then I’ll meet some expectations. In university, the arts is always the hardest area to achieve 100% in because unlike maths or sciences there is no right answer.
In Jennifer Moon’s document on Learning Journals and Logs from UCD’s Teaching and Learning Department, she discusses deep reflection and a phrase jumped out at me that made me think of VARK, “familiar forms of learning” (Moon, pp. 8). She writes,
together, when we are trying to relate new ideas to what we already know or when new
ideas challenge what we already know” (Moon, pp. 8)
and I immediately thought of what I wrote about my Kinesthetic result from my VARK test a few weeks ago. I interjected myself and added the following note,
Note: I would say that I prefer Kinesthetic because I have trouble grasping abstract concepts and I learn something faster if I can relate it to an experience.
So even though I’m uncomfortable with mixing the academic concept of reflective writing with the personal nature of reflection and the blogging format it’s perfectly suited to my learning style. And I find that what I enjoy most is being able to include asides about humourous aspects and connections to popular culture.
For example, in another class last week I used Jim Carrey’s famous Self-Defense skit to describe the pitfalls of controlled experimentation in usability testing.
Albert-Peacock, Betsy. (2007). Grading Rubric for Reflection Assignments. Educ 1100 Human Diversity. Retrieved from http://www.d.umn.edu/~balbert/humandiversity/grading_rubric.html.
Moon, Jennifer. (2010). Learning Journals and Logs. UCD Teaching and Learning: Resources. Retrieved from https://elearning.ucd.ie/bbcswebdav/pid-870447-dt-content-rid-60191_1/courses/IS40370/Learning%20Journals.pdf.
Watton, Pete, Collings, Jane, and Moon Jennifer. (2001). Reflective writing: guidance notes for students. Retrieved from https://elearning.ucd.ie/bbcswebdav/pid-872987-dt-content-rid-2101328_1/courses/IS40370/reflective-writing-guidance.pdf.