What We’re Reading: Rigorous Reflection

illustration by Clare Reid

In “Legitimating Reflective Writing in SoTL” (Sept. 2019, Teaching and Learning Inquiry), authors Alison Cook-Sather, Sophia Abbot, and Peter Felten argue that reflection—a powerful teaching and learning tool—is discounted by many teachers because of “dysfunctional illusions of rigor.”

In other words, reflective writing is seen as less academically serious and productive than more traditional “scholarly” writing. And yet, as their research demonstrates, reflection is actually central to learning, because it enables students to connect theory and practice, as well as the personal and the academic; it’s better equipped than highly-directed, thesis- or hypothesis-driven scholarly writing to capture the messiness of the learning process; and it’s accessible to a wider range of writers and readers.