In ARTS3330, you are asked to submit a reflection together with your assignments. This brief guide will help you understand what to aim for when submitting your reflections to make sure you benefit the most from this task.
Reflection: An efficient learning tool
In a number of educational and professional settings, reflections are regarded as a very useful tool for efficient learning that will allow us to develop analytical and critical thinking skills and creative problem solving skills. As you may know, these are part of the generic skills required for university graduates in Australia. Reflective writing is also proven to promote our capacity to engage in independent and reflective learning while communicating our learning processes with our peers and teachers. At the same time, such reflection also enriches the discussions we have in our weekly tutorials.
As part of being prepared for the professional work place, we should be able to reflect on our work critically and analytically – marrying our passion for language with professional objectivity. In writing reflections on a regular basis, we are able to develop our linguistic, translation, and interpreting skills, and identify the challenges we encounter quickly and justify our solutions in a professional and transparent manner.
In your reflection, you can record your thoughts on the problems you encountered, describe what they were and why you thought they were challenging. In this way, you will deepen your understanding of translation and interpreting issues and be able to identify and justify the solutions and alternatives you’ve found. As part of this process, you may also uncover areas for further investigation and even develop a strategy in order to resolve recurring problems in the future. At this stage of your learning, it is important to engage deeply with the process, and to do so you need to make this process as explicit as possible to yourself, to your tutors, and to your peers – the more you invest in the process of reflection, the more you will gain from it!
You may also use your reflections to discuss problems you were not able to solve. Simple statements like “this was too difficult and I couldn’t find a solution” are a good starting point but they are not considered as reflective. You will at least need to describe what you thought made the problem difficult, and which steps you took as you tried to solve the problem. The format and tips on below will help you to delve deeper into the analysis of such problems.
You will have the opportunity to ask questions based on your reflections in the fortnightly tutorials. If you identify any areas that you have not yet sufficiently understood (for example due to the lack of background or linguistic knowledge), you can also think about how to deal with this in the future (e.g. additional research and readings or discussions with peers). Your tutors will be happy to support you in such endeavors!
Levels of reflection and critical thinking
As you may have gathered from the above, reflective writing involves several levels, from superficial to deep. At the most fundamental level, reflections are a record of fundamental observation and response (e.g., I struggled with x, but I was able to solve y, etc.). However, merely recording such observations does not demonstrate deep reflection and you will therefore need to go further; beyond the superficial level.
At the next level, there is an expansion on fundamental observation and response on a practical level (e.g. I found x was a problem because this concept does not exist in the target language so I had to take another approach by doing y). In other word, there is relevant additional information provided which shows a logical pathway to find a practical solution to the problem. You are encouraged to draw on your previous studies of languages and/or linguistics, and use the appropriate terminology you have acquired through other courses.
At an even higher level, you can explore potential solutions and add a theoretical dimension. This will draw upon your knowledge from lectures, videos, and readings. Ask yourself, for instance, some of the following questions: Which solutions did you try and why, and how did you arrive at your final decision? Are you satisfied with your solutions, and if not, why not? What would be necessary to make the solutions better, and what lessons can you learn for the future? Can you find sufficient evidence to support your choices