After reading the three different versions of the presentation, I was really surprised by the commentary for each of the descriptions. After reading the first version I thought ‘Ok, they’ve shown us how to do it now they’re going to show what not to do’. The second version didn’t flow well and I felt it was difficult to read because it was so disjointed. The third version was so casual and rambling that I gave up reading it halfway through and skipped ahead to the commentary. I couldn’t believe version one was the worst and version three was the best (for “quality of reflection”). I went back, started reading the third version again and still found it hard to read. I find the reflection is so emotionally driven and in a stream of consciousness style that it really doesn’t get to a point. Maybe I am just a descriptive person by nature and not a reflective one? Or, is it just challenging my beliefs of academic writing in a university context?
I think that I get a better sense of who the person writing the reflection in the third version because of the style. But that doesn’t ring true. There is personality in the first version but, to me, it is just written with a professional voice. This reflective style of writing reads like something that I tried to leave behind in personal diaries from high school (you know, the one with the little locks that might have been a bit weak to hold such dear thoughts). Even now, Dear Diary, I am wondering how much of this I should go back and edit and “professionalise” and, for lack of a better word, censor.
This train of thought leads me to the next section of the reading, in particular, the first three subheadings, ‘Investigate metaphors and images’ (Moon 2004, p. 223), ‘Recognize assumptions that we have made’ (Moon 2004, p. 224) and ‘Question and challenge familiar situations’ (Moon 2004, p. 224). The image that the reflective writing brought up for me was of a high school diary, and that response probably deserves more questioning than the validity of the ideas and concepts outlined by Moon (2004). Because, I went in search of other research that might provide a counter-argument and instead I found a lot of support for the reflective writing, across a number of academic fields, including in an article by Kessler & Lund (2004). As I read this article, I saw the phrase ‘reflective journal’ repeated and realised, I have done this before, in an academic context, as a journal, and found that the journalling was really helpful for me to work through ideas that I was getting stuck on. It just wasn’t the core material for assessment. And, what really challenged me in the third version of the reflective writing wasn’t the reflective form or ideas but the voice of the writing. In hindsight, my journals from previous studies were, actually, mostly descriptive (especially if I got behind on them). This quick judgement is something that I really need to be aware of, I need to be careful that I don’t dismiss things at first glance because of the style or expression that presented on the surface.
Kessler, Penny D. & Lund, Carole H. 2004, ‘Reflective Journaling: Developing an Online Journal for Distance Education’, Nurse Educator, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 20-24.
Moon, Jennifer A. 2004, A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory & Practice, Routledge, New York, USA.