Puzzle on a white surface
Assessment and Feedback, News

Crafting our student’s reflective voice: how to improve the art of writing reflectively.

Implementing the Patchwork Text

Many of our programmes in the university use written assignments for summative assessments, and students are required to demonstrate reflective learning and critical engagement within their writing. Students from both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes must join this unfamiliar discourse in their education, and consequently, students’ reflective ‘voice’ in the written assignments is often weak and underdeveloped. Currently, students are taught how to reflect, but this can prove ineffective when they are required to translate reflection into reflective academic writing for summative assessments. The implementation of a patchwork text-writing approach is a way to address this difficulty for our students across the university.

Reflection and reflective writing are critical skills for students to develop and are essential for future employability. The Patchwork Text process aims to engage students fully in reflective writing and provide opportunities for them to gain insights into their learning journey as students. The Patchwork Text is a deliberate attempt to introduce a more accessible and practical way of writing reflectively.

Take home messages

  • The essence of the patchwork text approach is that it consists of a variety of small written sections (patchworks), each of which is completed, and that the overall unity of these component sections is finalised when they are ‘stitched together’ to create the final e-portfolio.
  • It is vital that the concept is introduced clearly to your students, the relevance of this approach is explained, and the expectations of the students are clearly outlined to avoid any lack of clarity and understanding.
  • Students dislike reflective writing experienced as inflexible and prescriptive. Providing a more flexible framework for patchwork writing (avoid a word count!) may help build understanding and more authentic reflective writing.
  • Discussion is an essential component of reflective practice, peer feedback should be considered as part of the innovation, and it may be worth considering whether patchwork writing pieces could be completed post study-day discussions.

If you would like advice or guidance on this teaching innovation for your programme, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Annie Noble-Denny

BRMS School Education Director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.