Reflecting on writing a reflective piece

January 2019 marked one year since the beginning of the wrap project. Naturally, the start of a new year was a good time to take stock and reflect on the wrap team’s experiences in the past year. Not only has the team grown in terms of numbers – we welcomed PG Researcher Shane to the team in December 2018 – but there has also been growth in terms of our learning and skills.

In light of this, I have been working on bringing together the team’s reflections in a reflective essay, which we intend to submit for publication. Witing this reflective post is a bit of a meta exercise: I’m reflecting on the experience of writing up our reflections. But this post is representative of, and contributes to, the whole reflective process that is core to the wrap project.

I took on the task of coordinating and writing the reflective essay because I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice my (reflective) writing and editing skills, by bringing our thoughts and experiences together and hopefully getting part of our work published.

My aim throughout the process has been to convey the real-life experience of our partnership. I had initially planned to bring the essay together by asking the team members to write up their reflections, giving them a section each, then bringing it all together with a conclusion at the end. I approached it this way at first because it allowed each member’s voice to be heard; each of our experiences would be represented. However, I was given some constructive feedback on this idea, which suggested that I think about writing a thematic essay. I took this on board and I really think it has led to a much more interesting approach, of showing how our reflections interconnect under themes such as Motivations and Expectations, and Learning. I think writing in this way has also made the piece more interesting to read and my hope is that readers can get real feel for out interweavedexperiences and learning through the essay.

Bringing the team members’ individual reflections together has felt like collaborative story-telling. It has been an engaging task and it has definitely pushed me a bit further, in terms of my synthesis and lateral thinking skills. Even receiving feedback on the essay has been an additional learning point for me. I think that there will naturally be things that I miss about my own writing, but having others look at it with their perspective and expertise has raised my awareness of aspects I hadn’t previously considered. From this, I want to work on using feedback processes to sharpen my writing and editing skills, and to broaden my own perspective/understanding.

Overall, writing a reflective piece on the first year of the wrap project experience has been a highly worthwhile task. Seeing the synergy between our reflections affirms that we are learning and making progress, and I look forward to hopefully sharing our example of a student-staff partnership and the Students as Partners principle (if it is accepted for submission!).

Anoshamisa

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