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 two reflection prompts at the end of each class to help guide your inquiry. Choose one that speaks to you (or do both if you feel inspired) 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 and to the practical experiential level. Here are some guidelines to help:

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

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

    Keep your initial writing. No matter how you write–electronically or hardcopy–consider keeping all of it in one place. Your digital notebook in the virtual classroom does that for you, organizing your notes by subject. If you use a journal, use the same one so your notes are easily accessible.

    Stop when it feels complete. Some reflection papers may be quite long. Others may be done after only a few, heartfelt sentences. You are the judge as to when the essay is done.