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Storytelling is a practice which is critical for the communication of lived experience, the development of empathy, and for the creation of a rich sense of collective being. While essential, it is also deeply complex and fragile—wrought with potential for marginalizing and stereotype-confirming rhetoric. In community-based learning, and throughout the field of Poverty and Human Capability Studies, storytelling is often employed in the context of reflective practice. Understanding student reflection as a pivotal opportunity for the exploration of more equitable storytelling resulted in the development of an assignment which employs a metacognitive approach to student learning. This prompts students to call to the center their more difficult experiences and assumptions, as well as the social and political structures impacting the ways they understand these encounters. Expanding on foundational literature on reflective practice in service and community-based learning, this assignment points to a need for the addition of metacognitive practice as a widely implemented tool for exploring inequality and bias in narrative reflections. The assignment resulting from integrating metacognitive reflective work produced student writing that was increasingly rich, complex, and appropriately self-critical of their narrative approaches.
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