Now to me, this list is more like a general rubric for what students would look at after they wrote a reflective essay. So let’s move backwards a bit and figure out first what makes a reflective essay just that. First, let’s look at the second word of the genre: essay. Essay connotes the form of writing in which it appears. What is the history of the essay? What are its characteristics?
3. The memoir, unlike the reflective essay, is written as a narrative, that is, “a story written in prose or perhaps verse, involving events, characters, and what the characters say and do” (Abrams 173).
Difference between essay writing and reflective writing.
There is no minimum or maximum length requirement; the essay
should be whatever length you need to convey to the faculty what you want them to know, both generally about your experiences as a writer at Simpson and specifically about the writing contained in your portfolio.
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5. Contains one or two unexpected insights into the subject. The writer, through reflection, will come to realize at least one insight that the subject had on into her life.
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Pursuing a Genre Study on the Reflective Essay
In order to be most effective in teaching writing through a genre approach, it is most beneficial to follow a logical series of steps in doing so. The following steps are derived from Cooper as an effective method for instruction in the classroom.
1. Introducing the Genre
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The last step in the introductory phase, which reinforces for both teacher and student that the genre is understood, is to have the students locate examples of reflective essays on their own. Bomer is a strong advocate for this process enforcing the importance of the students being actively involved. He notes an important distinction between a behaviorist approach and a constructivist approach writing that,
“learning from models does not have to mean that the teacher is the only one bringing the models into the community.
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Now that the students understand the components and criteria of a reflective essay, they are prepared to begin writing their own. Of course, the first step is deciding on a topic. There are a number of ways that the teacher may assist students in making this process easier. Ideally, students will already be brainstorming on possible topics because of the time spent on the introductory phase, in particular, reading touchstone texts of reflective essays.
In a classroom of my own, I would lead a topic brainstorming activity where I would participate with the class. A variety of prompts would be used in order to stir their minds and emotions. A great way to run this activity is to have the students bring in the touchstone texts that they have found themselves, and share them with the rest of the class.