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English Department’s Guidelines for the Reflective Paper

 

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Reflective Essay—ENG 112

 

Length: 2 double-spaced pages.  The Works Cited page is optional.  The paper will use Times New Roman style, 12 point font.  Both margins should be set at one inch.

 

Worth: 50 points.

 

 

Congratulations!! You made it to the final essay of English 112.  Here is your chance to think back to the last couple of semesters and reflect on the experiences you have had as a writer thus far in your college career.  This is your chance to show how you’ve grown and evolved as a writer—it is sure to make your parents, boy/girlfriend, spouse, children, etc. proud!!  In fact, perhaps even little tears will spring from their eyes as they realize how far you’ve come.

 

The Assignment

In this essay, you will be examining your progress as a writer from the beginning of your writing courses to the present.  Think back to the first essay you wrote at the college level.  How has your approach to writing changed?  What kind of progress have you made since that time?  In order to effectively write a reflective essay, you will need to:

 

Make a claim about your body of work and argue for it

Take a position on your body of writing and defend that position

Cite your own work (including any essays you have written in this class or the previous writing class you took)

Consider citing other sources, such as those discussing writing pedagogy

Approach the assignment from an evaluative standpoint

 

Audience and Purpose

The purpose of this essay is to evaluate your own development as a writer.  It is the opportunity to discuss, in writing, just how far you have come.  You might also consider this an opportunity to show, one final time, that you have the skills needed to exit this writing course.  

 

As for audience, keep in mind that you are writing an academic, college-level essay.  Your approach should be appropriate to a collegiate body of readers.  Please keep in mind that your instructor, though included in a collegiate body of readers, is not your primary focus here.  Though the instructor will read the paper, this is not the place to mention how the instruction you received made you who you are as a writer.  Instead, you should focus on evaluating your own abilities in relation to the components listed below.  

 

What to Include

Here are some components you should discuss in your essay:

 

Your ability to coordinate your purpose with your audience

Your ability to adhere to a main idea

Your ability to logically organize your work

Your ability to fully develop your ideas

Your ability to apply the rules of Standard American English

Your ability to find and select relevant and reliable sources

Your ability to synthesize your ideas with sources

Your ability to cite and document sources correctly

 

Remember, in order to prove you have these capabilities, you will need to cite your own essays.  Please be sure to do so in correct MLA format.

 

Other Requirements

To complete this essay effectively:

Be sure to cite your own essays as sources

Use correct MLA format (refer to the LBH for help if needed)

Adequately address the above components

Write at least 2-3 pages 

Submit your essay on time  (Due Date__________________)

 

Tips for Success

 

Write to an appropriate academic audience

Keep your purpose in mind throughout the writing process

Create a focused thesis statement that guides your paper

Create clear and effective topic sentences

Support your claims with clear evidence (most likely from your own work)

Avoid mentioning your instructor in this essay

Use proper MLA format

Use proper syntax/grammar/mechanics

Approach the assignment from an evaluative stance

 

Citing Your Sources for the Reflective Paper:

 

In-Text  Citations: 

 

In your Reflective Paper, cite your essays that you will use to support your thesis statement.   For example, an in-text citation can appear as follows:

 

In my critique paper that is entitled “Charter Schools are Effective,” I was able to formulate a good thesis statement that clearly critiques the author’s argument, which argues against charter schools.  I literally said, “The author’s argument against charter schools is not valid because it is not supported with reliable evidence or logical reasoning that would convince the reader to take a stance against charter schools.”

 

Works Cited Page:

After you cited your Critique Essay in your Reflective Paper, you will need to create a Works Cited page that lists you as the author (let us say that your name is Michael Smith) of the Critique Essay in the following way: 

 

Works Cited

 

 

 Smith, Michael. “Charter Schools are Effective.”  A  Critique Essay Written to Prof. Elnahal, 

 

Owens Community College, fall 2011.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

Please remember that in writing this reflective paper, your main purpose is not to evaluate this current course, current instructor, your previous writing course, or your previous writing instructor, but your goal is to evaluate how you have developed as a writer in your two or more than two writing courses.   For example, how your first essay in your ENG 111 course would compare to your final essay in your ENG 112 course.  How you have acquired the writing skills that enabled you to surmount difficulties in such areas as grammar, mechanics, and the MLA style.  Finally, I would look at this paper as a “journey” through your writing experience.  As in any journey, there are three chronological points that you will need to focus on: the beginning, the middle, and the end.  

 

 

Remember .  . .

Please keep in mind that I am here to help.  If you run into any troubles along the way, be sure to contact me immediately.  

 

Also, as always, the Writing Center is available to help you as well.  Remember to take this assignment sheet with you if you visit, along with any prewriting and former essays you plan to reference.  Again, don’t approach the Writing Center at the last minute.  Reflection is a skill that takes some time.

 

 

Good luck with your final essay!  I look forward to reading your perspective on how you have developed as writer in your college career.  

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