What is reflective writing?
Reflective writing involves a description of an issue or experience as well as an exploration of your response to it. This reflection occurs within the framework of what you have already learned so that new insights can be drawn from the experience and, if necessary, changes may occur in your attitude and behaviour.
Why do we write reflectively?
This form of writing is a process where you can learn from your experiences. It can help make you become more aware of assumptions and preconceived ideas. It also helps you to translate the abstract ideas in your study into the practice of your profession.
How to write reflectively
There are a number of parts to a piece of reflective writing:
The introduction should focus on the main point of the writing piece, that is, the change or variation in thinking and/or behaviour that occurred as a result of the experience.
Before analysing its significance, the issue or experience is described. Also, a description of your feelings and reactions to it may be included and any relevant observations. Note that it is appropriate to write in the first person, using “I” or “we” when describing the experience.
Connections are made between the issue or experience and your previous learning, experience and understandings. Significant factors underlying the experience may be highlighted showing why they are important for a new understanding. If relating this back to the academic literature, then these should be cited and referenced in the writing.
This outlines the changes in understanding and/or behaviour as a result of the experience, explaining the implications for this in one’s professional practice.
Checklist for reflective writing
- Described the issue or experience upon which you are reflecting?
- Described your own reactions to the experience?
- Made connections between this experience and previous learning and experience?
- Analysed and highlighted the significant factors in the situation?
- Outlined how the issue or experience changed your understanding and/or behaviour?
- Explained the implications of this new understanding for your professional practice?
- Written an introduction, body and conclusion?
- Checked punctuation and spelling?