What does it mean to “respond” or “reflect”?

So, you’re bound to get assignments from professors asking you to “respond to” or “reflect on” a text or event. But, what does that really mean? They’re some of those vague, academic-sounding terms that don’t really describe a specific course of action.

Here’s what I expect from a response or reflection: writing about what interests, confuses, perplexes, or even annoys you about a reading. Write about your thoughts, your culture, your race, your gender, or something the reading reminds you of. Responding is different than reacting. Reaction involves little or no choice. A response to a situation or reading involves a conscious decision to write about something instead of something else. Everyone will take away different messages or details from reading the exact same text.

I don’t want you to use words like “good,” “bad,” “dumb,” “pointless” or other such vague and non-descriptive language. I want you to respond in a way that helps me to see things from your perspective. No blanket claims to common sense” because we don’t all share the same world view.

4 Responses to “What does it mean to “respond” or “reflect”?”

  1. Kamel Ali Says:

    To me when a teacher tells me to reflect on the reading I think it means to write down what you took from the reading, like how it made you feel and how you interpret what was written. Reflect on the things that interested you when you read it or what stuck in your mind after reading it.

  2. Yasol Jeong Says:

    The annoything when I read is vocabularies that I don’t know. I’m not a native English speaker. Some vocabularies can be difficult for me. Although I tried to guess what a difficult thing really means by reading other sentences. In the case of the international students, they tried to guess by reading other sentences. However, it doesn’t always work as well. In the situation, I usaully become annoyed from reading.

  3. Frank Conrad-Waggoner Says:

    I just saw this particular post…

    When a teacher or professor asks me to reflect on something, I believe they are asking for my opinion on the subject read. They are asking for me to compare my thoughts and ideas with the subject and to share my feelings about it. It may be emotional, psychological, or intellectual. Whichever of those it may be, they are asking for a response.

  4. Elijah Says:

    Reflection is an odd thing, the sum of ideas or circumstances looked opon in from the rear view. Although nessasary for humans to a view of things with as many degrees as possible. Often I find myself thinking one thing going a situation and thinking another opon leaving. I can deduce from this that maybe we don’t grapse the whole picture until we are in a point of X activity. Secondly it is the prosses of refining our thinking making every point we have clearer. Simply because you can understand something does not mean others will. Your thoughts are nothing unless one can convey them in a way sutible buy others.

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