Reflection Statements…sigh

OK, we all accept that reflection statements blow. Unless you’re into some serious navel-gazing it’s impossible to reflect genuinely on something you’ve a) only just written and b) would never have done if you hadn’t absolutely had to.

Most reflection statements require you to explain creative choices you made in a piece of writing, and assess how well your choices worked out. Most people’s honest answers would look like this:

I chose this because the clock is ticking, you want to see some five-dollar words, flashbacks have always worked for me before, and this worked for my friend who did the HSC last year. How well have I done it? Pretty damn well considering I’d rather eat my own feet than be doing any of it.

Le Me

Unfortunately, this will get you precisely nowhere (except a place in your teacher’s grudging secret esteem because they’re people too).

Reflection statements can be dealt with in four steps:

  1. JUSTIFY/EXPLAIN: Why did you interpret the stimulus that way (i.e. with that setting, that character, that starting point, that plot)
  2. Why did you use that tense and grammatical person
  3. Why did you use any sustained figurative devices (if you didn’t, explain why you wrote plainly)
  4. ASSESS: Assess your work with a PMI – give one thing you think you did well (finishing it completely, or shaping it as a story), one thing you’d change, and one thing you’d add if you’d had time

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