Report contents: written in first person narrative

  1. A paragraph describing the place and the people
  2. A paragraph describing the religious activity you observed (minus one grade level if you don't actually witness religious activity)
  3. A paragraph discussing the content of dialogue you had with followers of the religion and the general "vibe" you got from them, the impression they made on you (minus one grade level if you don't actually have a substantive discussion and interaction with anyone of the faith)
  4. A concluding paragraph offering your reflections - thoughts and feelings - about the experience and what you learned from it

Grading criteria: Encounters & Dialogue

Reports should be written in a first person narrative, clearly reflecting that you actually experienced this for yourself. Reports that appear entirely general in nature will be suspect of having been made up. I will ask you to revise and expand your report to sufficiently prove to me that you actually had this experience for yourself. That's where details come in along with providing any artifacts (brochures, etc.) you pick up during your visit.

Remember, I was not there with you; the only thing I can know about your experience is what you tell me in your report. If your report is lacking in detail then I can only presume your experience was similarly lacking. Don't leave details to the imagination of the reader. Be explicit in describing what you experienced (see below chart for guiding questions).

 Rubric Chart: (up to 60% for the type of religion you experience plus 0-10% per criteria based on quality of experience and depth of description)

Type of religion A (60 points)
report reflects:
B (50 points)
report reflects:
C (40 points)
report reflects:
D (30 points)
report reflects:
F (0 points)
report reflects:

since Christianity is so diverse, most of my students are of a Christian background, and Christian churches are the most prevalent, this criteria becomes an issue primarily for students with a Christian background

Entirely different and new. Not in any way a variation (denomination) of your own religion Significantly different and new but still within your own faith tradition (e.g. a Protestant visiting a Mormon, Catholic, Orthodox, or Jehovah's Witness church for the very first time) Somewhat different and new but more similar than different from your own church/denomination (e.g. a Catholic visiting an Episcopal church)  Not very different from your own past experience (e.g. a Methodist visiting a Presbyterian church [both are Protestant]) Your own religion/
(such a report will not be accepted as it does not begin to fulfill the assignment to experience a religion you are unfamiliar with)
If you get 50 points for the religion you experience and 10 points for each of the four criteria below, you can't get more than 90% (A-) 
If you visit some place quite similar to your own religion, even it you get 10 points for all the other criteria, that will not be more than 50%
This is my way of encouraging students to really go beyond the familiar and experience something truly new and different
Criteria 8-10 points (A) 6-7 points (B) 3-5 points (C) 1-2 points (D) 0 points
Actual visit Detailed description of the place: setting, building (inside and out), worship space; and the people (number, gender, age and ethnic distribution, dress, etc.)  Somewhat detailed description of the place and people but a bit lacking Rather brief and general description of the place or the people but significantly lacking in details Barely any reference to having actually visited the religion No visit at all
Religious activity observed
(click for example of A and D-)
Detailed description of the various rituals that you observed, in order of occurrence Somewhat detailed description but lacking something Rather brief and general description of the activity you witnessed Barely any reference to having actually witnessed any activity (maybe just one sentence in passing) No religious activity at all
(click for example of A+ and D-)
Significant interaction with one or more followers of the faith, lengthy discussion with those followers regarding their personal experience with and perception of their religion  Somewhat involved interaction with one follower of the faith and/or discussion of merely factual information about the faith  Rather brief and/or superficial discussion with one or more followers of the faith Hardly any interaction or dialogue with the followers of the faith or nothing regarding the religion Absolutely no personal contact with any follower of the religion
Your personal response and reflection on the experience Positive change in your level of appreciation and understanding of the religion and the people you experienced, noting several specific points demonstrating this change. Response noted to specific issues throughout report as well as general observations as a conclusion Somewhat positive response to the experience, the religion or the people encountered. Comments limited to only brief conclusion and/or reflect merely a change in understanding/ knowledge rather than affective and personal as well Neutral response - no change positive or negative or a balanced mix of both Barely any personal response or reflection provided or response is more negative than positive in nature Absolutely no personal response provided or extremely negative



Use these above noted factors as a checklist. If you find anything missing from your report, go back and edit it before submitting it. If you find you are not able to discuss some of these things then perhaps your experience was lacking in some way. You are encouraged to have another experience to supplement your first and write about both in your report. Your dialogue need not take place at the same time as your visit.

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last updated August 02, 2010