317 Poverty and Inequality
Reflective Essay Guidelines
What do we mean by “reflexive” or “reflection”?
“reflexive” adj. – Chiefly Philos. and Psychol. Of a mental action, process, etc.: turned or
directed back upon the mind itself; involving intelligent self-awareness or self- examination;
introspective. Cf. reflection n. 7c.
Philos. and Psychol. The process or faculty by which the mind observes and examines its own
experiences and emotions; intelligent self-awareness, introspection. Also called internal also inner
senseSource: Oxford English Dictionary Online
Reflexive writing provides an opportunity for students to think deeply about what they are
experiencing, rather than simply providing an account of the phenomenal world. More
particularly, reflexivity requires students to critically assess their own perceptions, responses and
reactions to the world around them: to consider the specific relationships they are observing in
light of their life experience and knowledge gained through their academic studies. This cognitive
process contributes to our integration of knowledge, as well as our capacity for understanding.
It is often the case that “teachable” or pedagogical moments arise when reflection explores the ways by which
what is being experience or observed conflicts with ones pre-conceptions, assumptions, and/or knowledge. Your
community engagement this past term will provide opportunities for insights arising from such reflections.
Thinking about Learning1