Reflective Writing Can Help Students Link Course Content to their Lives

Make It Stick

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, co-authored by Peter C. Brown and Washington University Psychology department professors Mark McDaniel and Henry “Roddy” Roediger, helped to kick-start a teaching experiment with surprising outcomes.

With the intention of helping students  to consolidate learning and clarify misconceptions, Professor Allison Vaillancourt of the University of Arizona applied McDaniel and Roediger’s suggestion to use the final five minutes of class for reflective writing. As she describes in The Chronicle of Higher Education, her “effort to help learning ‘stick’” went beyond the classroom as students’ reflective writing linked course material to their lives, asked advice on careers and campus resources, and applied concepts discussed in her class to challenges in their workplaces.