News from the Research Commons

February 8, 2017

Spotlight on: Roger Chao and the Pool of Knowledge


Reflection – how do we make it meaningful? As students and people, we are often reflecting and responding in our daily lives. Roger Chao looks at how to make reflection mean something.

Roger has spent the last five years gaining a PhD in English and teaching. Roger is an instructor for English composition classes, but Roger assigns no ordinary composition; he incorporates service learning into curriculum and asks his students to write about the work. While learning about the structure and mechanics of writing, Roger’s students simultaneously write and reflect on their experience working and engaging with the community. Roger explains that when his students bring their service learning experience triumphs and failures into the classroom, they write to, “integrate and synthesize it with theory and concepts that you read about – it enriches the overall learning process.”

Through his research and teaching, Roger has found that reflection can serve as a socially constructed act; when students share their challenges and the solutions they have found, it builds a communal pool of knowledge. Meaningful reflection becomes tangible when stored together as an archive of shared experience.