I'm responding to a snippet from Mike Cole's comment as a jumping off point. My questions concern a critique I am developing of reflective writing when it is used to track a specific sort of intellectual development. . .. . "of Seth Chaiklin's critique of discussions of non-Russian interpretations of the Zoped because they substitute learning for development, among other failures. Hence, the introduction of positions which front learning, and yet can be found to use the concept of development, seems relevant to our ongoing discussions." I am a long-time observer/lurker on this list but have finally reached the point where my desire to understand some key notions has superseded my reticence. So, hello everyone. I'm currently working on a writing project that describes a new 3 year certificate program that has been funded for first-year students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Called the Chicago Civic Leadership Certificate program, it builds on first-year writing courses, second-year courses in urban planning, and a third year capstone course. Students do service-learning/field research with community agencies and in the first year produce documents needed by those non-profits such as brochures, press releases, and agency profiles. My planning for this project is heavily influenced by activity theory. My aim is for students to see writing as a transformative tool that operates in, as David Russell ("Activity Theory and It's Implications for Writing Instruction," 1995, in Petraglia, ed.) describes, in an activity system. I have been talking about this as "ordinary writing," in which a writer solves problems out of his or her embeddedness in a context. Further, I have designed this project to counter the "general skills approach" to first year writing and more importantly for my question here, to counter the use of writing for service-learning's "structured reflection." In many service learning situations, writing is used as a conduit for something called reflection. Reflection is typically defined as a conscious thought process through which students can derive learning from experience. So, when students write their reflections, they are said to be documenting their learning. Development is then seen as growth through a series of stages that track epistemological or intellectual growth reaching a final stage of self-authorship (from a discussion of constructive-developmental pegagogy in _Creating Contexts_ by Baxter Magolda, 1999). I see several problems with the use of reflection as a way to document development and even more problems with this stage-oriented, self-managed view of development. In part: 1. Can a person split in two and reflect on learning? Doesn't activity theory have a very different view of both reflection and learning? 2. Doesn't this view of development depend on a narrow strand of learning - learning of school-based material - and on an outmoded understanding of the coherent and contained self? These are my intuitive responses but I need to build my critique more systematically to emphasize the disconnect between reflection, writing, and development on the one hand, and the kind of learning that results from 'lived participation' in a situation that gives rise to writing. I will be very grateful for any comments, clarifications, corrections, and sources. Please feel free to respond to me off-line if this thread interrupts the current one (Feldman@uic.edu).