In this article, Ash and Clayton describe a learning process commonly used at NCSU called “service-learning.” This process does away with traditional student/teacher relationships in a typical classroom setting and introduces a system involving engagement and inquiry so that students not only see their studies in a real world context, but also absorb and understand the content better through collaboration and reflection. Ash and Clayton break down this process to reveal it as the most optimal way for students to learn and for them to eventually become competent and critically thinking citizens.
I have found that the best ways for me to absorb and understand the content in texts like Ash and Clayton’s is to start by realizing the basic structure of academic writing. In informative or argumentative articles or essays the first paragraph should contain a type of thesis statement and most all other paragraphs start with some sort of topic sentence. In this particular text the ideas are broken into subheadings, so at the very least I can get content information from the very beginning of a subheading (topic/ intro) and the very end (summation/conclusion). Once I go through and identify the general outline of the text and have a pretty good idea of what each section will discuss, I then go back through to find what the content actually is for each section. In this way I like to read the way I write: a general but informative outline, and then the specific details.
I have used reflective writing in several other classes including English classes in both high school and college as well as in a psychology class I took in my freshman year of college. My psychology class in particular utilized the concept of reflective writing. We often wrote small papers on different labs we would do involving surveys and naturalistic observations. After we submitted the papers we would reflect on our findings and how we wrote our reports. In this class our reflection papers consumed a higher percentage of our final grades. The idea of placing so much importance on our reflections was to emphasize the constant room for improvement. If we changed our approach, our organization, or even some of the content and examples we used we might have been able to be more successful in presenting our experiments. I believe this concept can apply to more than just academic writing but to all aspects of our lives