Core Activity 2.5: What constitutes good reflective writing – advice for students

Rabbit’s clever” said Pooh thoughtfully
. . . “And he has Brain.”

There was a long silence

I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”

Reflective writing is very personal, just like the process of reflection and ultimately there is no right or wrong way; however, for a good piece of reflective writing there are some core areas of content to be considered, as well as perspectives of style and approach that should also be addressed. What is required is a personal account which goes deeper than a descriptive account of the event, to provide a real insight into how you responded in terms of your feelings, emotions and behaviour. From this initial reflection, learning needs or changes should be detailed, leading to a proposal of how you would respond differently in a similar situation in future.

In addition, if a piece of reflective writing is to be assessed then you need to address the specified assessment criteria.

A good example of a piece of reflective writing will begin with a description of ‘the event’ or experience. This puts the situation into context, providing sufficient detail to introduce it without going into too much detail. The writing should then move on to provide an account of ‘what happened’ in terms of how you felt, others’ behaviour and related events. At this stage you should provide evidence of self-awareness – critical analysis of your behaviour and an awareness of your own thoughts and actions, demonstrating reflection on this.

Following on from ‘what happened’ the writing should demonstrate further reflection to consider the ‘so what’ .i.e. what has been learnt from the process of reflecting on what happened and how you reacted. This should provide evidence of deeper reflection, linking this recent experience to other related experiences and to your current understanding and knowledge and the views of others. This deeper reflection should lead to evidence of your learning and development following on from the event described, suggesting how you see things differently now, and what impact looking back has had on your current thinking.

In concluding you should demonstrate the application of your learning by proposing ‘what now’ e.g. what are the identified learning or training needs resulting from the reflection, or a suggestion of what you would do differently next time, in a similar situation, perhaps a change in behaviour or a different approach. Thus this section documents the outcomes of the reflective process and also evidences your personal development resulting from this.

Reflection provides the opportunity to step back from a situation and see it in a different light and this same approach should be applied to writing about it. Take time to review your writing, check that you have provided a true and coherent account of the event, but more importantly that you have written an authentic account of your reflection and that your identified learning and personal development is believable.

Quote taken from The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff

(482 words)

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About Mel B

Living in the English Lake District enjoying the great outdoors.
This entry was posted in H808, practice-related skills, reflection, Unit 2. Bookmark the permalink.

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