What is reflective writing?
Reflective writing is:
- your response to experiences, opinions, events or new information
- your response to thoughts and feelings
- a way of thinking to explore your learning
- an opportunity to gain self-knowledge
- a way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what you are learning
- a chance to develop and reinforce writing skills
- a way of making meaning out of what you study
Reflective writing is not:
- just conveying information, instruction or argument
- pure description, though there may be descriptive elements
- straightforward decision or judgement (e.g. about whether something
is right or wrong, good or bad)
- simple problem-solving
- a summary of course notes
- a standard university essay
Why are we asked to do this type of assignment?
To make connections
The idea behind reflective writing is that what you learn at university
builds on your prior knowledge, whether it is formal (e.g. education) or
informal (e.g. gained through experience).
Reflective writing helps you develop
and clarify the connections:
- between what you already know and what you are
- between theory and practice
- between what you are doing and
how and why you do it.
To examine your learning processes
Reflective writing encourages you to consider and comment on your learning
experiences—not only WHAT you've learned, but HOW you learned it.
To clarify what you are learning
Reflecting helps you to:
- clarify what you have studied
- integrate new knowledge with previous knowledge
- identify the questions
- identify what you have yet to learn.
To reflect on mistakes and successes
Reflecting on mistakes can help you avoid repeating
them. At the same time,
reflecting on your discoveries helps identify successful principles to use
To become an active and aware learner
To become a reflective practitioner once you graduate and begin your
Next: How do I write reflectively?