National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, 2022, Vol. 18: 151–54


© Copyright 2022 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


By incorporating visual mapping into students’ thinking and writing processes, a narrative assignment in geo-literacy creates a reflective and agency-based learning experience for student writers in a first-year honors seminar.

At Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM), I ask my first-year honors students to reflectively examine and practice habits of thinking and knowledge-building in a series of interrelated writing projects and readings. Each reading and writing task is designed to give students the opportunity to build their synthesis-level critical and creative thinking habits. The course theme of “Hero’s Journey” challenges students to consider the idea of the heroic, especially as it pertains to their own lives and to the time they will spend at AUM. Special emphasis is placed on the nature and value of education and the question “What does it mean to be an educated person?” To this end, I begin by introducing students to our central text, Alan Jacobs’s How to Think. This text is the foundation of the first writing project, in which students examine their view of learning and their roles as knowledge makers, a first reflective step toward understanding their agency in a journey that begins with examining preexisting knowledge and habits of learning and thinking.