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Berea College
General Studies
GSTR 203 US Traditions E Pluribus Unum, Spring 2006
Students will write critically reflective journals based on readings in the class reader, but are
encouraged to connect such readings with related texts (videos, other electronic, print, convoys,
etc.) and submit them at the conclusion of each major theme—Foundational, The Berea Story,
African Americans, Women, and Appalachian History. Thus, a total of 5 journals will be
required. At the core of GSTR 203 is the further development of writing skills; thus, in addition
to formal, expository written essays, journal writing is required in the form of critical reflections
to also sharpen inductive thinking/reasoning skills. Two or more pages are required for each
journal . The first reflection is due on Tuesday, February 14, 2006. Specific due dates for all
reflections are as follows:
Journal # 1
February 14
Journal # 2
March 7
Journal # 3
March 28
Journal # 4
April 20
Journal # 5
May 11
What will be done in the reflections?
Critical reflection for the journals involves the articulation of multiple means to explain an issue,
idea, etc, but with some “logical” communication. It requires going beyond objective analysis
and superficial arguments to a level of thinking that goes to the far depths of the human
experience. Therefore, if a reflection is submitted that simply describes an issue(s)/idea(s), etc.
very little credit will be gained. Literal description is not really about learning! It is merely
repeating what is already apparent.
As students read, they will identify and connect themes, ideas, issues, etc., and show how they
affect what they are writing about and what relevance they have to their lives and to today’s
culture and society. Do not select a “laundry” list of different things on which to write; it leads to
literal description and not reflective thinking nor writing. Be focused!
USER FRIENDLY FORMAT: Basic Guidelines for all Reflective Journals
Type all Journals
Name, date, and title/topic of Journal must be clearly written at the top of your work
[Each reflection must bear a title/topic, i.e. select a title for each journal.].
Select specific themes/ideas or one theme/idea to write on for each journal .
In addition to some description, CRITICAL reflection is required in all responses.
Two or more pages are required for each journal.
Use size 10, 11, or 12 font.
Space Between Lines: 1.5 or double—no single space because I need enough room to
write comments.
Relevant short quotes and paraphrases from class readings are to be used in each journal.
Use MLA referencing and its use of English (See St Martin’s handbook).
A hardcopy of each journal is to be submitted unless otherwise instructed.
PS: Journals can be revised any number of times desired until satisfactory versions are attained.
Student learning is the key in my calsses!
Dr. Winston T. Gittens