Reflective Journal Insights from a First-Year Undergraduate Class Exercise

Edgar Burns


First-year student reflective journals showed a range of learning responses to a first week undergraduate class exercise. The exercise, about usually invisible bathroom rules, asked the question: “Which way should toilet paper hang?” with the underlying objective of demonstrating how “big-picture” sociological themes such as class, culture, and gender function at private and personal micro-levels of behaviour. This often proves surprising to students. However, what is the contribution to tertiary learning beyond a fun class session introducing them to university? The initial goal in reporting student journal reflections about this teaching exercise was to enable teacher reflection on student learning. Closer inspection of students’ journaling efforts reveals the complexity of what can be counted as learning even within the differentiated responses made.


Reflecting on teaching exercises; student learning; scholarship of teaching and learning; teaching sociology; undergraduate journal writing

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v21i1.264


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015