The Reflective Portfolio (Length: 1500 words maximum)
Part 1: (approx. 300 – 500 words): Briefly summarise your chosen article or chapter.
Chosen paper:
This should
include the key conclusions of the article or chapter, and the reasons offered for those conclusions.
Tips for Part 1:
1. Be sure to accurately communicate the author’s ideas – this will involve being attentive to their
choice of words.
2. Do not read into the author’s words what you think they want to or ought to say.
3. Do not attempt to psychologise the author by getting ‘behind’ the text to their hidden motives.
4. The goal here is accurately and fairly to communicate the arguments (premises and conclusions) of
the other person.
5. This section should avoid the use of evaluative language.
Part 2: (approx. 1000 – 1200 words):
How has this content confirmed, challenged or deepened your previous ideas and beliefs about the topic?
Give reasons to support your response. Refer to at least two other academic sources to help understand
concepts in the chosen article or chapter, explain other relevant concepts which are introduced or
demonstrate wider reading.
An academic source is a peer-reviewed piece of writing, written by an expert in the field, and made
available by a recognised publishing house.
Some Sources I have previously used if you want to use them
Katharina Westerhorstmann. ‘Pre-existence and self-realization: Edith Stein’s Essays on Womanhood’. See especially 1.2 ‘Education as the formation of man’.
Catechism of the Catholic Church. Article 7. The Human Virtues. Also available online.
Begin by briefly giving the reasons for and conclusions of your previous/current beliefs about the
topic. These may not be very systematic or clear, but in that case, an important part of reflecting is
to acknowledge that.
————– previous beliefs: Education is very important, I am a Christian although not very religious, in times of need and disaster I connect with God more. My beliefs are not very clear. Please elaborate on this. ———————-
1. Be sure to regularly refer back to the author’s reasons and conclusions when evaluating and
2. When reflecting on whether or how the article has deepened your understanding, consider
questions like, ‘Has the author raised points I had not considered?’, ‘Do I have hidden
presuppositions which need more thought?’, ‘Even though this is a conclusion I agree with, are
these reasons valid?’, ‘Even though I disagree with the conclusion, does it actually follow from these
reasons?’, etc.
3. Remember the goal is to arrive at the truth, therefore avoid politicising the issue (e.g., reducing it to
party lines or jumping to political consequences), ad hominem attacks (e.g., ‘She is only saying that
because she is a…’) and flights into relativism or scepticism (e.g., ‘It is different for everyone,’ or,
‘No-one knows’).
4. Do not give some piece of autobiographical information as a substitute for presenting your ideas.
For example, telling the reader something about your family or school background, and then
proceeding as if your conclusions, and your reasons for them, are self-evident. A good reflection
involves taking responsibility for one’s own ideas and communicating them clearly along with one’s
own supporting reasons.
5. Remember this is about engaging your ideas with those in the chosen reading. To the degree you
get involved in analysing ideas that are neither your own nor the authors, it is missing the point of
the task.
The criteria for assessing the Reflective Portfolio will be:
(i) Summary:
– Inclusion of all key concepts from the article.
– Identification of reasons for conclusions from the article.
(ii) Analysis:
– Concise inclusion of one’s own previous/current reasons and conclusions.
– Identification of the article’s arguments that confirm, challenge or deepen one’s own
– Attempt to resolve conflicting claims or come to a new synthesis.
(iii) References
– At least two academic sources (in addition to the chosen article).
– Inclusion of relevant academic sources to define key terms, add clarity, acknowledge sources of
ideas, etc.
– Consistency of referencing style.
(iv) Language and Grammar:
– Clarity of sentences.
– Paragraph structure and flow of argument.
– Avoidance of repetition.
– American Psychological Association 7th edition (APA)

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