Reflection Paper Guidelines

Just as the name implies, the reflection paper is a chance for you to turn inward and reflect upon the presented material. Your writing is not about “getting it right” or “making the grade.” Reflective writing is an act of listening—of paying attention to see how the lessons relate directly to your own experience.

Reflection is intentional. It’s a way to deeply understand and embody the lessons. Reflective writing is a powerful shift from learning and listening to a teacher to learning and listening to your own inner wisdom.

There are reflection prompts at the end of each class to help guide your inquiry. Choose one that speaks to you and use that to focus your writing using a journal-style approach. If neither appeals to you, find another intriguing thread from the lecture or reading and follow that lead.

The reflection papers are designed to take the material from the theoretical, academic level to the practical, experiential level. Here are some guidelines to help:

1. Use a freestyle approach to writing. Don’t worry about grammar, sentence structure, or your inner critic. Instead, pay attention to what’s coming through your writing.

2. Support your writing style. Some people like to type, others like to use script in a fancy journal. Do what works best for you.

3. Keep your initial writing. No matter where you write (in a journal, on your laptop, on the class worksheets) consider keeping all of it in one place. Print out your document or place your journal in your class binder, for example.

4. Stop when it feels complete. Some reflection papers might be quite long. Others might be done after only a few, heartfelt sentences. You be the judge of when the essay is done.

5. Share with others. The discussion forum is where reflection papers are posted. You have complete control as to how much you would like to share in the forum. Even sharing a sentence or two, telling your truth for others to see, can be empowering to you, as well as helping others.

6. Avoid the need for approval. You are writing so that you can hear yourself, as opposed to receiving comments, advice, or feedback.

7. Read what others have written. If you choose to respond, refrain from giving advice. The reflection papers are not an invitation to a therapeutic intervention or a coaching session. Respond only from your direct experience—for example, noticing what lifts, intrigues, or confuses you.

8. Ask for help when needed. Simply go to the Help section and fill in a request for assistance from our adjunct faculty.