Reflective Statement and its relation to the Written Assignment: a puzzle

Because there are just so many confusions and questions about completing the assessment for Part 1, it would seem useful to have a posting here that addresses some of these.

1. The Reflective Statement.  This is a one-time exercise, one that is very much like a journal entry.

What should it NOT be:

-It is not meant to be an evaluation of how well-prepared, interesting or clever Jaime and Samir were in their presentation of an Interactive Oral.

-It is not an abstract or pre-writing exercise of the Written Assignment.

-It does not have as its primary focus  the literary features of the text, though these may sometimes be addressed as a secondary consideration.

What SHOULD  it be:

-Essentially a demonstration by students of “how their understanding of cultural and contextual elements” of the text “was developed” through the [attending to and participation in] an Interactive Oral.  The Interactive Oral should focus on the culture and context of the writer —who was writing, [eg.,dates, ethnicity, place, literary history, connections to literary movements and other writers,] and what is the culture and context of the text [where is it set, when, what cultural practices and traditions might be relevant, political and social history surrounding it?].

When these matters are reported, the RS is usually successful and the exercise really should be a fairly-easy-to -achieve mark of 3.  Naturally, the student needs to employ a little rhetorical sophistication to make clear that “what I may not have understood when first reading the text has been clarified or amplified as a consequence of being present for the Interactive Oral.”  (And a note here regarding student absences: it’s becoming clear that it probably makes sense to film all of your IOs so that absent students can access them –absences are going to occur and you need to have on file a RS for each of the 2 or 3 texts you include in Part 1).

The question of revising/editing the Reflective Statement.  From the first the RS was designed to be on one-time, immediate response to the IO.  The word from the office is that the RS is not required to be revised; it should be done as soon as possible after each IO and kept on file.  The RS is clearly not intended to be amplified with internet and other personal research. Whether revision is allowed is a vexed question.  It would seem that some editing of the writing–the expression–would be legitimate, but students should be clearly informed of the central question, given some models of how to respond, and required to maintain the content of their original response.

Finally, there has been some confusion about the materials of the IO and RS and their relation to the Written Assignment.  Because candidates submit the RS on the text they use in the Written Assignment (WA), some have inferred that these materials must be linked.  The submission of the RS is chiefly to assure that IOs which address culture and context have occurred so that students are well informed of the culture and context of the work studied. The IO/RS process was intended as a corrective to often poor and distorted assumptions that students often made in the past when encountering world literature.

The matter and approach of the Written Assignment are NOT culture and context, but the literary aspects of the text studied.  It’s perhaps best to think of the four step process in two loosely linked stages:

Stage 1: The IO/RS to ensure a clear sense of the culture and context of the work studied

Stage 2: The Supervised Writing exercise to ensure that the candidate is pointed in the direction of literary (not cultural and contextual) examination of the text.  Therefore the SW prompts should provide such direction, with fairly open possibilities.  And yes, there will be repetitions of topics, but  with individual angles, opinions and evidence. The purpose of the Supervised Writing prompts was to eliminate the many, many inappropriate topics of the past which seldom led to success for students.  Teachers are best qualified to articulate such literary directions.

 

 

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