reflective writing guide

reflective writing guide

Reflective Writing: A Guide to Effective Reflection

1. Introduction

It is almost a necessity to ponder on your experiences when learning to become a professional practitioner. Some of the most important stepping stones into expanding a person’s knowledge and experience can be put down to a set of straightforward exercises that at the time did not seem all that pertinent. It is just when a novice teaches you how to do the exercise that you again fully understand how irrelevant what you have learned is to the task at hand. This was the case when investigating postural preferences and the contraction of muscles around joints. The main objective of the job was to help improve a certain person’s condition and quality of life. But is the knowledge gained from learning the names of certain muscles and joints going to prove to be an asset to this goal? This can then lead onto a revelation mindset. Is there something that could have been done better and has what has been learned now created alternative ways to reach a particular objective? Step back and discuss what you learned in this situation and would you have desired a different result?

Reading enables a person to understand a series of things. Reflective writing takes this a stage further by taking a gander at and contemplating what we have learned from our experience and by equating that with the learning that is the result of the process. Reflective writing can be an important tool to help a person integrate theory into practice. It enables an individual to step back and reflect on what has been learned or achieved in one’s practice and act upon it. It is to make sense of what has been learned from experience and choose what you will do another time you are in a similar position.

2. Understanding Reflective Writing

In this section, the study of reflective writing will look more descriptive into what reflective writing consists of and how to produce a piece of content. With a detailed analysis, there are very important key points that have to be aware of when seeking to create something effective and cause the desired outcome it was intended. Emanating from deeper thought and examination, reflective writing involves an exploratory analysis of an event, a piece of work, an experience of learning, examining its meaning in the author’s life, frequently occurring due to new understanding about something written, felt, or spoken. Usually, there is no clear beginning, middle, or end to the reflection.

Reflective writing is a form of composing an individual’s experience with a focus on enhancing self-awareness. It’s an intimate document written by the writer, perfect with regards to the experience, thoughts, feelings, and emotions regarding the occasion within the creation of the written document. Reflective writing can be an aim, more often than not, only writers are sharing their opinions, letting out what’s on their mind, laying the cards on the table, or simply jotting down what they have observed. This can be an excellent way of bringing out an emotional condition and it is known to create a state of therapeutic release. Reflective writing can be done in forms of an essay, journal, log, or just a letter; however, they are mostly written in the formal way of an academic statement or statement for self-development.

3. Steps for Writing Reflectively

In the third and final stage, the Reflective Cycle helps to establish a clear action plan for the future. At this point, you ask yourself, “so what?” Using this new information to improve a situation should aid a positive move forward. This stage can also be supported with literature to further understand what changes can be made.

Step two is a crucial stage. Using the information you have collated, the questions you need to ask yourself are: What did I learn from this? Your aim is to be as descriptive as possible, using observations and experience to demonstrate how you felt and what you learned from the experience.

The first step is creating a “mind map” and identifying key themes of what happened, how they affected you, and who was involved (check mind mapping). Various techniques may be useful for this, for example using a flow chart, chart, or a table.

4. Enhancing Reflective Writing Skills

Reflection can enhance authentic assessment practices, as reflections are often personal and can show more about the student to the assessor in providing insight into their experiences and thought processes. This can be very valuable in subjects like Medicine and Nursing or with specific patient case studies. Use of the written account, however, is often artificial and may not reflect how the student would think or act in the same situation at a given point in the future, so it is important for students to go back and reflect on reflections! The use of a reflective journal where the student makes regular entries on experiences and changes in their thought processes can be a valuable alternative to the written assignment. It is important to provide students with examples of different levels of reflection as a guide to assist them in moving from descriptive writing to deeper thinking.

Because the reflective written account is a different genre than standard academic writing, all students need to rewrite their account to be more “reflective.” This may be due to a heavy focus on the descriptive nature of “what happened” or a belief that an analysis of learning is not possible without using a theory/framework. Reflection can, however, be integrated into all academic writing and it is not a case of just having a reflection section added at the end. This section will suggest ways in which to make your writing more reflective.

5. Conclusion

Reflection is a complex human activity that generates a lot of data. In writing Reflective Writing: A Basic Guide to Effective Reflection, I have tried to be as systematic as possible within the space allowed. It is designed for you to work through in an informal setting, perhaps with a teacher or a learning advisor, in a course where reflection is a major part. Advocates of experiential learning see the value of the learning cycle which begins with doing and experience, followed by reviewing or reflecting on the experience, concluding from the experience, and planning the next steps. It’s designed to support the learn the skill of reflection. Learning to reflect is a step-by-step process, there is no one simple way to do it that works for everybody and you are likely to find other ways that work better for you. The most important thing is to get the practice because it is through name that reflective learning best is learnt. This guide provides some clear steps to help work through the reflection process. Reflection on an event taking time to think can be quite a luxury in today’s society. A guide is just that, it’s something to help you on your way, sometimes without specific direction you can feel a little lost.

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