A reflection component is required for most of the experiences
that appear on the Cocurricular Record. Aldous Huxley once said:
"Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what
happened to him." Learning is a combination of active and reflective
processes. The many activities and experiences that occur as a part of the
cocurriculum at Truman State University can become even more valuable learning
experiences when opportunities for reflection are included. Reflection
uses a wide variety of higher order thinking skills such as critical analysis,
synthesis, problem-solving, reflective judgment, evaluation and identification
of themes and patterns, and creation of meaning. The purpose of this
website is to help you develop reflection experiences that will enhance the
learning potential of the cocurricular experiences of students for which you
serve as a mentor.
Six principles can help mentors create quality reflection
Connected: Reflection should connect the cocurricular
activity with the student's curricular experiences.
Continuous: Opportunities to reflect should occur
before, during and after the cocurricular experience.
Challenging: Reflection should challenge students to
think in new ways, explore issues more deeply and gain insight into their
own behavior and learning.
Coaching: Through reflection, mentors should provide
a balance of challenge and support. Knowing the mentor is available to
provide necessary coaching and support creates a safe environment within
which the student can excel.
Contextualized: Reflection should be appropriate for
the context and setting of the cocurricular experience, the student's level
of development, the learning objectives of the experience, and the needs of
the various constituencies served by the particular cocurricular activity.
Communication: Reflection should provide
opportunities for communication with peers, mentors, faculty, staff, and/or
members of the community whenever possible. Reflection is enhanced
when the student is exposed to multiple perspectives. (adapted from:
Sample reflection activities include the following: case
studies, journals (i.e. structured, critical incidents, team journals),
portfolios, papers, discussions, focus groups, presentations, and interviews (http://www.compact.org/disciplines/reflection/types.html).
In designing questions to encourage reflection, it may be useful
to think of viewing cocurricular experiences through the following three lenses:
The Mirror (a
clear reflection of the self)
Who am I?
What are my values? What have I learned about myself through this
experience? How have I changed?
(makes the small experience large)
experience. What would I change? What have I learned? Do
my actions make an impact? What more needs to be done? What have
I learned in my classes that helped me in this experience? What have I
learned in this experience that will help me in my classes?
(makes what appears distant, appear closer)
did I encounter in this experience? What factors contributed to the
problem? Did I contribute to the problem? How did we attempt to
solve the problem? What were the results of this intervention?