For the last structured critical reflection paper, please watch PBS Frontline’s Two American Families. The video can be accessed online for free at

This reflection paper is designed to help you develop and articulate your critical thinking abilities, which are inclusive of your feelings, beliefs, values, self-awareness, and related claims as supported by peer-reviewed literature. Be mindful that critical thinking is defined as, “the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it” (Paul & Elder, 2006, p. 4). Gibbs and Gambrill, (2005) who are social work faculty, define critical thinking as “a unique kind of purposeful thinking in which we use standards such as clarity and fairness. It involves the careful examination and evaluation of beliefs and actions in order to arrive at well-reasoned decisions” (p. 11). It is thinking about our thinking processes and being explicit as well as transparent about those processes in order to facilitate improved thinking for learning. Many good ideas are not communicated because authors fail to think about the purpose of the assignment. Good writing is a reflection of good thinking.

Your paper should take the above definitions into consideration as you reflect and write the intellectual standards for critical thinking ( The paper is worth a total of 15% of your total grade and must be submitted in Sakai in Microsoft Word by 9:30am on Thursday, April 9th. You must use APA 6th Edition for the appropriate format, citations, and referencing of materials used. Purdue Owl ( can assist you with APA style. The reflection paper should be between two to four pages in length (not including the cover page and references – an abstract is not necessary). You will need to be concise –– you may assume that the reader has also seen the video! You may write in first person (“I”), however, this is to be a scholarly work with citations to support claims. Please use a minimum of three peer-reviewed articles to support your ideas. A grading rubric is provided.

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The format for this paper uses the DEAL (Ash & Clayton, 2004) Model of critical reflection. DEAL stands for Describe, Examine and Articulate Learning. The paper should have three distinct sections (primary headings) as well as three sub-sections within the Articulate Learning section (be sure to use APA levels for sub-headings) as delineated below. Papers that do not address the entire model, inclusive of all sections and questions, will not be viewed as a completed assignment. The paper should include the three sections below:

1. Describe: This section is to be an overview of discussion, lecture, academic content, and focus on what stood out for you as a learning experience from the video. This section should include three areas of focus: First, begin the paper by using the following prompt: “In preparation for this reflection paper I watched _____ (name the video) and anything else you may have done (discussions with others, reviewed peer-reviewed research, etc.…). Then, talk about your personal and professional feelings/reactions about the readings. End this section by identifying several important social welfare themes that stood out to you from the video.

2. Examine: Choose one social issue from the video you identified in the previous section and discuss it in depth, integrating your own thoughts and other scholarly source material. You are expected to cite specific passages, use quotes, or relate personal experiences, as appropriate and relevant, that illustrate the concept you have chosen in the context of scholarly reflection. Additionally, in this section you are required to cite at least three peer-reviewed articles that examine the social issue with contrasting or alternative lens with which to view the social issue. End this section by stating which lens resonates more with you.

3. Articulate Learning: This 3-part section is critical to the entire process. Simplistic and reductionistic answers are inadequate. For example, it is not enough to say, I learned about race-based discrimination by watching the video and reviewing academic literature and that matters because it is important to social work and in the future I will be more empathic of others. These examples do not exhibit critical thinking—these statements merely report and poorly at that. Use APA sub-headings for this section of the paper as well. The 3-part structure for this section includes:
A. What I Learned (What knowledge or new insights did you glean from this assignment? What specifically helped you make these new connections? State your current opinion about the social issue you selected.)
B. Its Importance (How is this important to your development as a professional social worker?)
C. Integration of New Ideas (What will you do now that you have begun to think about these new ideas or insights? What are the next steps for your continued learning?)

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