Discovering Ideas

English Composition Spring 2009 Palomar College

Reflection Papers

For some of the reading assignments that we all do I will ask you to prepare a reflection paper.  (I will use the abbreviation RP in the Syllabus.)  This is not an essay. It will not be something that you will revise later on and improve or that will be evaluated for quality at the end of the semester in determining your semester grade. It is, however, required work. It is a relatively painless way for you to show me that you have done the assigned reading and also to prepare for the class discussion.

A reflection paper should be between 300 and 500 words long, sometimes longer, and should report some of your thoughts about the reading in question.  It may include questions about the reading, arguments on the issue raised by the author, and relevant point not raised by the author.  Sometimes I will give you specific questions to address in a reflection paper on a particular reading assignment.  You'll notice that the questions are open-ended so as to allow you maximum flexibility.

Feel free to write down questions you have about the reading or issues it raises. Feel free to disagree with the reading and criticize the writer's point of view. By this I mean feel free to argue about what the writer says, not to complain at length about the fact that he or she says it. Stick to specifics. Criticism is fine; vague whining is not. Write about what the writer says, not just how you feel about having to read it. But feel completely free to criticize or disagree with what he or she says.  Feel free to raise other issues suggested by the reading. When you refer to the text, if it has page numbers, cite the page number you are referring to (just the number in parentheses) so that you can find it later.

If I don't give you a specific question to write on, reflect on these questions: What are the issues this reading raises? That is, what questions does the writer set out to answer?  What are her answers? How would you evaluate the evidence she presents to support her position?  Where do you think the author is right?  Where wrong?   Why?  What points need further exploration?

This does not have to be typed; it can be handwritten, if legible. But you do need to bring two copies to class with you: one to give to me and one to use during the discussion. You can use photocopies or even carbon copies, if they're legible. Don't worry about spelling and grammar very much. This is more like notes than an essay, so write quickly and comfortably. I will not accept these late. If you don't have it on the day it is due, you don't get credit for it. I will not read them in detail but will review them quickly. If it looks to me as if you made a serious effort and have shown that you did in fact do the reading, I'll give you credit. If it looks like you faked it and could have written what you did without doing the reading, I won't.

On-line Discovering Ideas Table of Contents
On-line Syllabus

On-Campus Discovering Ideas Table of Contents
On-Campus Syllabus

Discovering Ideas
Palomar College
This page was last edited: 01/05/09