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Using Personal Narrative as a Source for Self-Development and Reflection

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Alexis Pegram

on 1 May 2010

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Transcript of Using Personal Narrative as a Source for Self-Development and Reflection

The Stories They Tell: Using Personal Narrative as a Source for Self-Development and Reflection Alexis Pegram A Place to Start: The Why: Assumptions about the Reflective Essay What do I mean by “Personal Narrative”? Narrating the Choices Students Have Made in their Interpretative Essays How I Have Used Personal Narrative this Semester The reflective essay is hard. How can personal narrative help?
Exploration of truth , self-awareness, personal and political situatedness, meaning making, and self development-- taping into the potential of personal narrative. Like Wendy Bishop, I am using personal narrative “to refer to the ways in which writers make sense of their lives by organizing their experience into first-person stories” (269).

Philip Gerard defines the essence of the personal narrative genre as, “stories that carry both literal truthfulness and a larger Truth, told in a clear voice, with grace, and out of a passionate curiosity about the world” (208). The majority of personal narratives explore some specific change, a particular aspect or moment of self-awareness and/or self-development.
Students taking first-year composition are often uniquely positioned amidst a transitional, destabalizing period in which they are being asked to become an active, writing member of the academic discourse community. Let's help them narrate it! Through personal narrative writing, we can move towards encouraging students to narrate the choices they made in the interpretative essays in the reflective essay.
"Why did you choose to write about that particular essay?"
"I don't know. I like lobsters and I guess I'd like to consider them."

Choice of essay based on personal connection+ narrating choice and connections in personal narrative= experience and proficiency at exploring and reflecting on writing choices and higher quality reflective papers.

Even though I am still rough and uncomfortable in using personal insights on academic essays, the personal narrative assignment gives the audience a chance to relate to something or compare it to their own experiences. For example, “I still hold the values of most Asian communities, which is honor and respect,” comes from my personal narrative, if the reader is Asian he can probably relate to it. If he was not of Asian descent, he might hold different values at a different level.
After writing my personal narrative and reading a few sample essays, from other classmates, I found it was useful to include personal insights. [Such and such student's] essay included personal insights throughout its entirety. In assignment 3.3 (reflecting on ethical and political positioning), I didn’t use any personal insights, and I alienated myself from society practically with this one statement, “Humans have taken these conveniences and adapted so quickly with these luxuries, it’s hard to break away from.” Was that the impression I was trying to give off? No, because I am also part of society and I contribute to it so I should not alienate myself. Taking into consideration that I am not almighty and infallible I shouldn’t alienate myself from society but include myself also.
Personal Narrative, Students, and Developmental Moves Personal Narrative as a Source for Self-Development Personal narrative as a means by which students can reflect on their self-development, their development as a writer, and as a source for their final reflective paper. By Way of Conclusion: A Student Sample that uses their Personal Narrative in the Reflective Piece and Explores Self-Development
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