GUIDED WEEKLY REFLECTION PAPERS: A STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING ACADEMIC GOALS

The social and educational changes that have taken place over the last few years, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the role of teachers, students and new technologies in the construction of knowledge have promoted a new vision of the whole educational system. For that reason, it is necessary that teachers rethink their own practice and construct new expectations about student outcomes.
Considering that the current educational context calls for an active and reflective student-centred learning a group of professors of diverse areas of knowledge at the University of Alcalá started-up, some years ago, an innovative teaching experience based on “reflective diaries”.
One of our priorities has been the use of this pooling of ideas, ways of teaching and knowledge from different areas to diversify the initial methodology (Weekly Reflection Papers-2010) and design a more flexible and valuable tool for improving academic results. In this line, the last modification introduced, called “Guided Weekly Reflection Papers” (GWRP), gives us the opportunity to introduce the students in a process of more active and participative learning, which motivates and encourages them to achieve more significant and reflective knowledge and generates interest in emergent topics.
In the GWRP activity the professors suggest the fundamental points and guide the student´s work through a series of questions on which the students must apply the most significant concepts studied each week, to prove the acquisition of the selected aptitudes and skills. This point provides the information about the level of comprehension of the knowledge reached by the students. Lecturers could gradually check progress in the teaching-learning process and therefore focus it appropriately (“feedback process”).
The activity allowed the students to correct mistakes and to distinguish clearly what they had understood and what they had not along the learning process, without having to wait for the eve of the exam.
Due to the temporisation of the subjects of our innovation group, the implementation of method by the different lecturers is in different levels of progress.
The aim of this paper is to discuss the effectiveness of this strategy as a continuous and formative method of assessment, as well as its contribution to the integral formation of the students.