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Autobiography Reflection

Formal and Informal Experiences

Student’s Name
Ottawa University
Course ID (LAS 30012: Writing and Critical Thinking)
Professor’s Name
Due Date

Formal and Informal Experiences
Most of the papers you write at the college level should begin with an introduction. The introduction is much like a movie preview, in that it gives the reader a glimpse into what your paper is about, its purpose, and how it is organized. Instead of simply listing the things you will discuss in the paper, think creatively about how you could engage the reader and motivate him or her to want to read what you have written. The introduction section for both Learning Autobiographies should be one-quarter to one-half page in length.
Formal Educational Experiences
(Notice that the main headings of the paper are centered, boldface, and main words are capitalized. Also note that the heading immediately follows the end of the previous section with no additional line spaces.)
In this section of the paper, reflect on the formal educational experiences you have had in the past. An educational experience is “formal” if it is associated with an educational institution that gives grades and grants diplomas and/or degrees. This would include elementary school, junior and senior high, classes taken in the military, colleges and universities. It would not include classes offered by organizations like the YWCA or YMCA, workshops taken as part of job training, etc.
Significant Experience (Notice that sub-heading is boldface and at left margin.)
As part of the section on your formal educational experiences, discuss at least one experience that had a significant impact on your development as a learner. Describe the experience. Analyze its meaning and reflect on its impact on you as a learner. It is important to examine one or two experiences in depth, rather than to cover the complete breadth of your experiences. The impact may have had negative, positive, or mixed effects on you.
Significant Teacher, Role Model, Mentor, or Coach
    In all likelihood, there was at least one particular teacher, role model, mentor, or coach, who played a special role in your development as a young person and as a learner. Identify at least one of these individuals and discuss how that person influenced your sense of direction, values, and/or sense of self. 
Self as a Life-Long Learner
This section should also discuss what you have learned about yourself with regard to the type of learner you are. In what types of situations or subjects do you learn most easily? In what types of situations or subjects do you struggle with learning? After reviewing your scores on the Multiple Intelligences Assessment and the Jung Typology test, reflect on what you learned about yourself and how the findings on the assessments correlate with your own self-assessment. What are some examples from your life experience that illustrate your “intelligences”? How do your intelligences relate to classroom learning? What does your typology indicate about who you are and the types of courses and careers in which you might be interested? What types of courses or assignments will be more difficult for you? How can you build on your strengths to enhance your success as a student?
What will you need to learn and/or focus on to succeed in completing your college degree? For example, will you need to take a mini-course or workshop in using a computer? Will you need to get extra help (for example, tutoring) in writing or in math-related courses? Will you need to shuffle your priorities? Will you need to eat well before classes begin or bring some healthy snacks you can eat during the break?
Informal Educational Experiences
In this section of the paper, reflect on your informal learning experiences. Informal experiences include those that take place in such situations as on-the-job training, parenting, homemaking, and volunteering. They also include learning associated with recreational activities (e.g. learning to play golf), youth groups, clubs (e.g., Girls Scouts), and hobbies.
Significant Life Event
    As part of discussing your informal educational experiences, reflect on at least one critical life event that changed you in some way. This could be either a positive event, for example the birth of a child, or a negative event, such as an accident. Some of life’s most painful experiences or unexpected experiences result in deeply meaningful learning. For example, a near drowning accident can result in one learning how to swim or never setting a toe in water again.  In addition to identifying the event, explain the changes that resulted. Again, the depth of reflection on the meaning of the life event is key to this assignment.
The last section of the paper is entitled Conclusion. Think of the Introduction as one “book end” to your paper and the Conclusion as the second “book end.” It should review the main points or contents of the paper and leave the reader with a last thought. As with the Introduction section, you should strive to creatively end the essay in a way that will leave an impression on the reader. 

These guidelines are meant to give you ideas and guidance about what to put in your essay. They are not meant to restrict you or define for you what to do. Use your creativity and your unique thinking skills to create a personally meaningful essay.
Remember that spell check’s intelligence is actually quite limited. Rumor has it that spell check never graduated from high school. Using spell check and grammar check is not sufficient for writing a college paper. Proofreading is essential.
Use double spacing throughout the entire paper. Use the Paragraph function to set spacing before and after paragraphs at 0 pt. This will eliminate additional line spacing between paragraphs. Notice that the margins all the way around the page are set at 1 inch. Remember to use Times New Roman font, size 12.
One final guideline—your essay should be approximately 5 to 7 pages long—title page, 3 to 5 pages for introduction, body, and conclusion, and references page. If it is shorter than 5 pages, it may mean you have not thought deeply enough or extensively enough about your formal and informal educational experiences and how they have shaped your identity as a life-long learner.
•    Cover Page
    •    Page numbers in the upper right corner of each page
    •    At least 2 in-text citations to the content contained in the weekly materials
    •    APA citations and Reference Page
    •    3-5 pages in length, not counting the title or reference pages
    •    Double-spaced
    •    1″ margins on all sides
    •    12 point Times New Roman font
This assignment should be in APA format. Grammar, spelling, and quality will influence your grade. Review The Gangwish Library’s guide to APA formatting ( for more information on writing an APA paper.
Check your work against the grading rubric before submitting it. The rubric is viewable by clicking the assignment link; you will click the sa
me link to submit your assignment.

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