Later today, I will begin posting some of the field trip reflection essays my Sociology of Guns students were required to submit following our visit to Veterans Range at the start of this semester.
The field trip is historically a highlight of the course for students and the reflection essays are among the most popular items I post to my blogs every year (previous student reflections can be found on my Sociology of Guns collected posts page).
The essays provide interesting insights into the experience and thoughts of young adults who for the most part are not invested in, or even familiar with, guns and gun culture. They are gun curious.
The assignment for the short (500 word minimum) reflection essay is as follows:
In this essay, you will describe your experience participating in the range visit. The essay is a subjective recollection of your experience at the range, so the content is largely up to you, but it must answer the following question: How did the experience fit with your prior understanding of guns in the US?
To answer this question you might benefit from thinking about the following related questions: What did you find surprising? What did you learn? What did you find appealing (or disturbing)? Although you can (and should) reference particular events, processes, or experiences, this essay should not be a mere “play-by-play” of what you did during the field trip.Assignment borrowed from Brett Burkhardt of Oregon State University
These initial reflections provide a touchstone to which the students and I return throughout the semester and will be essential to a new major writing project I have assigned this semester, the “Gunography.”