Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing What is reflection? Definitions a form of mental processing with a purpose and/or anticipated outcome that is applied to relatively complex or unstructured ideas for which there is not an obvious solution. (Moon 1999 p23) What is reflection? Definitions Reflection is both a form of personal response to experiences, situations,

events or new information and a processing phase where thinking and learning take place. Why Reflect? It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And

it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively. (Gibbs 1988) Advantages of Reflective Writing Reflective writing provides an opportunity for you to gain further insights from your work through deeper reflection on your experiences, and through further consideration of other perspectives from people and theory. Through reflection we can we can deepen the learning

from work. What do we do when we reflect? Consider the process of our own learning a process of metacognition Critically review something - our own behaviour, that of others or the product of behaviour (e.g. an essay, book, painting etc.) What do we do when we reflect? Build theory from observations: we draw theory from generalisations - sometimes in practical situations,

sometimes in thoughts or a mixture of the two. Engage in personal or self development. Make decisions or resolve uncertainty. Why should we reflect? To empower or emancipate ourselves as individuals (and then it is close to self development) or To empower/emancipate ourselves within the context of our social groups. (Moon 1999 pp23)

How do we reflect? (Gibbs 1998) The process involves the following stages: Stage 1- Description of the event. Stage 2- Feelings Stage 3- Evaluation Stage 4- Analysis Stage 5- Conclusion Stage 6- Action Definitions (Bloom1964) Knowledge

Comprehension Recognition and recall of information describing Events. Interpretation, translation, summary of given information. Demonstration of understanding events.

Definitions (Bloom 1964) Application Analysis Uses information in a situation different from original learning context. Separates wholes into parts until relationships are clear-breaks down experiences.

Definitions (Bloom 1964) Synthesis Evaluation Combines elements to form new entity from the original onedraws on experiences and other evidence to suggest new insights. Involves decision making, or judging based on criteria for rationale.

How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 1-Description What is the stimulant for reflection? ( incident, event, theoretical idea ) What are you going to reflect on? Describe the event in detail . Include where you were and why

you were there and who else was there. What was the context. Say what happened. What was your part in this. What was the result. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 2 -Feelings What were your reactions and feelings?

Recall & explore what was going on in your head. Include e.g. how you were feeling when the event started. Include what you were thinking about at the time; how did it make you feel; how did other people make you feel; how did you feel about the

outcome of the event; what do you think about it now. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 3- Evaluation Make value judgements.

Consider what was good. Consider what was bad. Consider what went well. Consider what did not go well. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 4 Analysis What sense can you make of the situation?

Break the event down into its component parts so they can be explored separately. You may need to ask more detailed questions about the answers to the last stage. Include e.g. what went well; what did you do well etc. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 5- Conclusion

General Consider what can be concluded in a general sense from these experiences. Consider what can be concluded in a general sense from the analyses you have made. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998) Stage 5-Conclusion

Specific Consider what you can learn from your own unique personal situation. Consider what you can learn from your own ways of working. Consider what you could have done differently. How to reflect (Gibbs 1998)

Stage 6- Action Think forward into encountering the event again. What would you do differently in this type of situation next time? What steps will you take on the basis of what you have learnt? References

Bloom, B, 1964, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives : Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. Longman. Gibbs, G, 1988, Learning by Doing. A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. FEU Moon, J, 1999, Learning Journals: A handbook for academics, students and professional development. Kogan Page.London References Watton, P. Collings, J. Moon, J. 2001 Reflective

Writing: Guidance Notes for students.

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