Russ Hamer from the Illinois State University Department of Philosophy will be speaking at a colloquium at 5 p.m. Thursday, November 29, in Stevenson Hall, room 401A. The title of his talk is “On Improving Reflection and Reflective Writing In Philosophy Classes.” The abstract of the talk is below.

This talk discusses how to enable deep, meaningful learning experiences through reflective writing exercises in introductory philosophy classes. Hamer will present findings from a study involving reflection data. His analysis provides several specific recommendations for improving reflective assignments and activities.

First, reflective exercises should be intentionally designed along with intended learning outcomes and activities. Reflection is not as effective as a supplemental activity without forethought. Second, instructors should provide strong guidance on avoiding summarizing to cultivate more sophisticated and philosophical reflections. Third, once students learn how to reflect—they can then learn to reflect philosophically. Instructors can do this by guiding students to specific claims over general ones and personally modeling reflection. Designing for reflection, teaching students how to reflect, and then modeling philosophical reflection may enable the transformative learning experiences many philosophy instructors seek.