types of reflective writing

types of reflective writing

Different Types of Reflective Writing

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1. Introduction

There are also many ways in which reflective writing can be beneficial. As reflective writing is considered to be a university level assignment, it is important that it is used thoughtfully. It is typically beneficial to both the writer and the reader of the assignment. For the writer, it can be useful in learning from an experience for the purpose of further understanding a certain event or learning from a mistake. This reflection is typically for personal growth rather than a specific action. This type of unguided reflection can be useful to engage in altering certain behavior, identifying a point of view, or considering a new way to handle a similar situation in the future. On the other hand, reflective writing can also be used as a director for problem-solving or seeking more information on a particular event. This reflection can often be more formal and takes a methodical approach in analyzing an experience, and its reflection is often used to guide some form of action.

While little research has been done in this category, there are still countless varieties of reflective writing in comparison to the other types of writing. Reflective writing can be used in quite a few completely different ways. A few examples of reflective writing include personal essays, journals, and logs. These are considered to be very personal forms of writing and can still be considered a reflective piece. Some other methods include case studies and scenario assignments. These are more formal types of writing and typically what is called for when reflective writing is part of an assignment. Often these types of assignments are a bit more demanding than the more personal writing, as they call for a more thorough reflection and a more carefully considered articulation of that reflection. Reflective writing can also be purely descriptive, such as portraying what has happened over the past.

2. Personal Reflections

Personal Reflections Personal reflection is when you consider personal experiences. Additionally, you will assess and reconsider your actions and responses. This type of writing is good as we usually have an easier time recalling what has happened when it is something personal. Reflection in this manner is also useful when you have been faced with a complicated decision or if you are required to justify the action. This can then be useful when you are required to assess a particular situation and be beneficial to review what you said you have learned in a year’s time. Like a diary, personal reflection can be a good thing to look back on and is often a general tool for self-maintained and continuous learning.

Reflective writing is where you take a moment to reflect on what you have just written or read. This can be useful in many situations, for example when it is used in learning journals. It can help the learning process as you will have to think about the behavior, and then assess it. There are many different types of writings based around reflection in turn helping certain areas such as the learning process, professional development, or an existing learning log. Written by Dylan (UK).

3. Academic Reflections

Reflective journals ask you to reflect on a learning experience. In my case, this was the easier route as I had just finished playing a game and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I chose to reflect on the Trial of Valor in World of Warcraft. This was not an academic reflection as there was no assessment afterwards. I simply logged my thoughts to use as a comparison once I had written the essay and to use to compare with other guild members to see if all our experiences were similar.

Academic reflections need to be more formal. They require you to assess your learning as well as demonstrate your understanding. According to Oxford Brookes University in the Steps to University, academic reflection is “Formally, learning is demonstrated through the assessment that you are required to complete for your modules and the accrediting of the knowledge you gain by an academic qualification. Informally, learning from your experiences takes place in more subtle ways such as through a process of trial and error or by taking risks which may or may not prove fruitful. Learning and the transformation of experiences into knowledge is an inevitable part of life as a human being.” An academic reflection essay is an exercise to judge the knowledge that an individual has developed by examining school, college or university students into any aspect of their course. Usually the subject of study they have chosen, this technique was introduced by (1994). It is an in-depth study of the steps involved in a task, what went well, what could have gone better, the students constructing meaning around an experience before re-constructing it. An academic reflection is an expected exercise that helps students to explore their experiences in more depth.

4. Professional Reflections

A common understanding of the term ‘reflection’ is to think back upon a situation. A different definition is; ‘logical, systematic analysis of our actions and the motivations behind them’. Reflection is a cognitive process which helps the practitioner make sense of an experience and make links between what they would do or would not do differently next time. So reflection is the tool which helps us identify the learning from an experience. With having the option to reflect on a clinical event of his choice for the purpose of learning, I chose an event in my recent clinical placement where I was faced with a real-life situation. Looking back using the Gibbs reflective model, I will examine the events and how I handled them. Using the layout of the model, I will start with the description of the event. Myself and a friend were at a bus stop when an elderly man collapsed at our feet. We looked at each other in shock, stunned for a moment before rushing to help the man. We debated about trying to get the man up or calling an ambulance, however, on realizing that the man was not responsive, we quickly decided to call an ambulance. Eager to help, we then tried to lift the man into a recovery position. This, however, was not as simple as it sounds as we struggled getting a firm grip on the man due to the fact he was tall and quite a large build. He eventually slipped from our grasp and ended up lying flat on his back again. At this point, we heard the siren of the ambulance and quickly cleared the way for them to aid easy access to the man.

Nursing students are generally evaluated on the effective use of their communication skills. Using Gibbs’ reflective model in reflection, I have found that the use of a structured model can assist the user in the identification of the strengths and weaknesses. It can help the user make sense of situations and examine their own practice. This model incorporates a series of questions which help the user to ‘deconstruct’ the situation and evaluate it effectively. The first stage is to describe the event. This is a basic start to reflection. It is just a simple question of ‘What happened?’. For this stage to be effective, the practitioner needs to be as detailed as possible. The second stage is to evaluate the situation. During this stage, the user needs to make a judgement about the event. What went well? What was bad? This will lead to the third stage, the analysis of the event. During this stage, the model digs deeper into the situation asking the questions ‘what were the underlying factors?’ and ‘how is the situation affecting the patient?’. This is an important stage as it will help the user to discover what is working and what is not. The fourth stage is the identification of the action that will be taken during the situation. This is important as reflection requires a user to look into the future and assess whether what was done was the best thing to do. In the scenario I chose, I had a lady with chest pain which was suspected angina. I recommended that the patient should take her GTN spray and rest at home to ease her pain, before doing anything else.

5. Conclusion

Reflective writing is an important skill that combines academic learning with personal and social experience to help us learn from mistakes, further develop our learning and skills, and increase the chance of success in a particular situation. It is something that is frequently revisited and constructed into a collective body of thinking and learning, so it is important to try and understand the concept of reflective practice. Reflective writing is not just a description of an event or experience. This is the case whether you are just starting your first assignment or wrapping up at the end of your degree. A deep level of reflective learning is hard to achieve, whether you are an academic or whether you are still in a learning WIL situation. But it is important to begin applying the concepts and developing reflective practice to benefit from critically evaluating experiences and learning.

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