Reflecting on Self-Reflection – Wed 25th Oct.

This post provides the hub for the English Department’s discussion of the Self-Reflective assignment required of all majors. In attendance are [TK].

We will
– compile in-class activities that allow students to link course work to their Wiki page
– devise questions that link advising meetings to the self-reflective advisement criteria
– brainstorm alternative spaces to host the self-reflective advisement
– share effective examples of self-reflective advisement
– troubleshoot pedagogic/practical/ideological problems with self-reflective advisement so we can stress test and improve the system

7 Replies to “Reflecting on Self-Reflection – Wed 25th Oct.”

  1. From Beth McCoy: Two self-reflective templates

    Context: A four-step reflective framework that Jen Rogalsky (Geography), Joe Cope (History/CIDD), Aaron Steinhauer (Physics and Astronomy), and I developed for Suann Yang (Biology), Susan Muench (Biology), and Melanie Medeiros (Anthropology), the team attending AAC&U’s Transforming STEM conference. Intended to support the team in generating an action plan to present to the CDWG, the framework received immediate positive feedback; team members said it clarified their purpose, both for themselves and for the College.

    After the election, the Twitter user formerly known as @fucktheory reoriented my head and heart in really generative, challenging ways. And so I’d like to credit them with spurring me to change some reflective questions in certain contexts from What did you learn…? to Did you learn anything…? The freedom and space to say, “nope, didn’t learn anything” has not yet resulted in “nope, didn’t learn anything…” but appears to have shifted students’ relationship to end-of-process self-reflective questions.

    To make things easier, I offer this template:

    Why did you want to go to the conference in the first place?
    Did you learn anything that you can apply to your individual work as a faculty member in your program/discipline, particularly at a time of curricular transformation?
    Did you learn anything that you can recommend as action for your program/discipline, particularly at a time of curricular transformation?
    What concrete things can we begin doing as an institution to promote/support this type of work in ways that are both relevant to your home program and that generate creativity across disciplines and divisions?

    This is especially important for the CDWG and CIDD, for Geneseo’s Mission Statement claims that the “entire College community works together to advance knowledge and inspire students to be socially responsible and globally aware citizens who are prepared for an enriched life and success in the world.” Despite these dedications, our institutional structures and culture can hinder collaboration and curricular development across different departments, programs, and divisions. Chicago AAC&U facilitator Hazel Symonette introduced the concept of crosswalks as a response to this common problem across colleges and universities. In the built environment, of course, crosswalks provide an intentional, more secure way to travel between discrete spaces and buildings. As Symonette adapts the metaphor for higher education, crosswalks become paths of interconnection that honor the discrete spaces of academic areas and programs while facilitating communication, collaboration, and creative development across them.

    Context: Here’s a midterm self-reflection template from ENGL 101. I used “What is/are” rather than “did you”/“are there” language purposefully. The responses were really thoughtful and honest. (Sabrina Bramwell, Cameron Rustay, and Francesca Barlowe are the course TAs)

    Midterm self-reflection ENGL 101

    1. What is a challenge that you find yourself grappling with in this course?
    2. What steps are you taking to meet this challenge?
    3. What strength in yourself have you discovered/affirmed through your work in this course?

    May Sabrina, Cam, Francesca read what you have written? Circle one: YES NO

  2. A list of questions generated:

    What are the tangible things I’ve produced?
    What are the changes I’ve undergone?
    What differs now compared to my expectations of the major/English/myself?
    How do we express/access a meta- element to this? That is, how do I articulate WHAT I understand, rather than just THAT I understand?
    What have you learned about yourself and your habits, your own and others theoretical biases?
    Where are we taught to think about these things (the meta-cognition of larger thinking about why we’re taking classes, what the mean – doing more than checking boxes)? One answer: the blog.
    Given that this is a skill that needs to be taught, how do we embed it throughout the major?
    The feedback element is fragile at present; how do we solve that?
    How do we establish it at the beginning in order to help us meet one another?
    How does this connect to other questions of advisement?
    We need to communicate what it is we do as a discipline; how do we do that in a meta-cognition way?
    In what ways can this be about preparing students to go to grad school and how does self-reflection work with that?
    How do we reach students who are not already engaged in meta-cognition?

    Practical Questions:
    How do I do it?
    When and where do I? (Before first advisement, before Junior grad check, before Senior grad check)
    What spaces would be good for doing it (end of the semester not ideal?)?
    How many students don’t know the process?
    Why can’t we do it in ENGL 203? As opposed to upper-level classes?
    What is the end goal? [Pulled quotes on a board?]
    Where do we get to practice this rhetorical skill?
    What are the ideas that drive this and how to we communicate it (esp. in relation to the less structured nature of the new 4-credit major)?
    How can we have a display element as an element of aspiration? Or some other method of feed-forward, private or public?
    What other spaces of advisement exist for this to be alongside, e.g. Advisement mixer?

  3. An idea: what if we were to do an event for the 320 students (more than one session) – a symposium or town hall devoted to educating new majors about the English major and giving “old” majors a chance to reflect on and share their experience. We could bring in alumni speakers. A showcase of what’s been published by students. What connections could we establish to the graduation check element?

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