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How To Write A Reflection Paper On A Class

How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Class

A reflection paper reflects your understanding, your interpretation, your learning, and everything else about you. A reflection paper on a class is given as an assignment to students to see whether and what they understand about the lesson or course done in class. Let me give you some more details on what is a reflection paper before I tell you how to write a reflection paper on a class.

What is a reflection paper?

A reflection paper is:

  • Your response to opinions, experiences, new information, or events

  • Your response to feelings and thoughts

  • A way to explore your learning capabilities

  • A chance to understand yourself

  • A method to know more clearly and have a better understanding of what was taught in class

  • A chance to improve and hone your writing skills

  • A chance to make your learning meaningful

A reflection paper is definitely not:

  • Merely giving of information, argument, or instruction

  • A pure descriptive essay although some amount of descriptive parts may be there

  • A judgment or decision that has been arrived at in a very straightforward manner

  • Mere problem-solving

  • Just a summary of class material and/or notes

  • A regular university standard essay

Writing reflection papers on a class help the students in the following ways:

Helps students to make connections – Reflective writing helps you build on what you already know including the knowledge that either you gained formally or through experience. These kinds of assignments facilitate your learning in connecting what you already know and what is currently being taught. It helps you make that connection between theory and practice. It helps you understand what you are learning and how and why you are learning it.

Helps you examine and understand your learning process – Reflective writing exhorts you to consider what you are learning in great detail and compels you to comment on the learning experience including what and how you have learned.

Helps you clarify your learning process – Writing a reflective paper on a class helps you integrate your previous knowledge with the new knowledge. Through this, new questions will arise in your mind and you will get clarity on the direction you wish to take in your learning process.

Helps you reflect on the successes and failures – This is a great aspect of learning. Writing a reflective essay makes you ponder on what you have learned and understood thus far, and you could realize that the interpretation you had till now was not the right one. On the contrary, there could be aspects in your new lesson that reinforces what you already know and have interpreted. When you included the new learning with your existing knowledge, your earlier successes and failures could take new shape and make your learning a deeper and a more enriching experience.

Helps you become an active and an aware student – Since reflective writing calls for more than simply regurgitating what you have learned in class, it compels you to become more active and more aware of your learning process. Your heart and mind are kept aligned to the learning.

Helps you get into a lifelong habit of reflecting about things before making any decisions – This life skill is extremely useful in both your professional and personal life as you move out of college and meet the real world. Reflecting on something before taking any decisions empowers you to make sensible choices that sustain for a long time in your life. This habit prevents you from taking hasty and impulsive decisions that could hamper the quality of your life.

Things you can discuss in your reflection paper on a class

You can discuss the following things in your reflection paper:

  • Your views of the course and content

  • Observations, ideas, and experiences that you have had and how these connect to the topic on hand

  • What part of the class inspired, confused, or interested you and why?

  • Which part was difficult for you to understand or accept and why?

  • The conclusions you have reached and any questions you have

  • Did the lesson help you solve a problem, reached a point of view that is different from what you had till then, or improved your understanding of a point?

  • Your essay can discuss solutions, possibilities, hypotheses or speculations

  • Alternate or different perspectives read from another source

  • Comparisons between your prior knowledge and experience and what was taught in class.

Steps to follow for writing a reflection paper on a class

Brainstorming – This step entails you to jot down all ideas and thoughts that have about the class. Make a note of the various quotations, your class teacher's opinions, the opinions of your classmates, and points from whatever else was discussed in the class

For more ideas jot down your responses to the following questions:

  • Does the class or course challenge your social, cultural, emotional, and theological stand? Jot down the challenges it is posing to your present stand.

  • Has the class altered your way of thinking? Jot down the ways the class changed how you perceived or thought the subject in question

  • Has the class left you with any answered questions? Are the questions new or were they the same that you had even before the class? Jot these down too.

  • How do the contents of the class integrate and/or mesh up your previous experiences? Are the ideas clashing or reinforcing older ideas and perceptions?

The responses to these questions will be you ample material for you reflective essay on the class.

Organizing your reflection paper – Follow the word count that you teacher has given you. If the word count has not been specified, then a reflective essay should ideally be about 400-700 words long.

Introduction - In the introduction, state with what expectations you started the class. Your expectation could be based on the title or the synopsis of the class. The last sentence of your introduction should be how the class affected your expectations. A classic thesis statement could begin like, "From this class, I realized that ………"

Body of the reflective essay – Consisting of about 3-4 paragraphs, the body should contain points, learning, and ideas that support your thesis statement. Each idea should be dedicated a separate paragraph and each paragraph should have a powerful transition statement that connects all the ideas together.

Conclusion – The concluding paragraph of the reflective essay should have a succinct summary of all the points discussed in the body of the essay followed by a sentence that reiterates your thesis statement. A final, personal thought could be used to end the essay.

This thought could include an idea given to the reader as to your onward path in the learning process of the particular topic discussed. An example of a final thought statement could read as, "Now, that I am clearer on the subject of ……' I hope to continue reading more to see if there are any contradictions coming up."

Final Notes

Remember to keep a formal and academic tone to your reflective essay even though it is based on your personal interpretations and learning experience. Avoid use of slang language and do not attempt to bring down a classmate who might have disagreed with you during the discussions in class.

Even if you have to put down something unpleasant, avoid names and stick to a formal tone of writing. So, instead of saying, "John called me an idiot during the class and that made my really angry," you can say, "during the class discussions, one of the classmates used a derogatory term against me which affected my state of mind negatively."

Do not forget to review your reflective essay after completing it. Do not allow avoidable mistakes such as spelling and grammar errors to knock off some of the power from your efforts. Read every sentence and make sure that it is clear and unambiguous in its representation of facts and feelings.

Vary the length of your sentences throughout the essay; make some of them simple and straight and some of them a little more complex. This will add some nice variety to the tone of your writing. Keeping all sentences in the same format makes you writing uninteresting and boring.

Even with the above tips and ideas or due to some other pressures, you are unable to complete your reflective essay, do contact Prescott Papers and we will help you complete it.

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