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Reflective Writing: A short guide

A Short Guide to Reflective Writing

Skills for self reflection

Self reflection can be really tricky at first. The literature in this area often talks about the need for students to develop their skills over time. Reflection takes practice! There are lots of ways in which you can develop your skills in self reflection.



One thing you might try is to keep a learning journal as a form of informal regular reflection. You might be asked to do this for a particular module, but even if not, it can be a useful way to record your thoughts. This can be done in whatever way seems useful to you, but you could use the following headings.



What happened?

What went well?

What could I have done differently?

What are the long term implications?



Here is an example of a student's entry in a learning journal following a seminar:

What did I learn? Discussing ideas made me realise there are many ways of reading a piece of literature. I was surprised by other people's interpretations, but the ones who convinced me were those who linked their interpretations to specific parts of the text.

What went well? Made some contributions. They were mainly responses to other people’s ideas but I was glad I took part and it made me think more deeply about the novel. 

What could I have done better? Could have been braver in forming own interpretations. Had a preconception that there was a right or wrong way to read the text. In future I want to open my mind more.

Long term implications.

  • Now I realise that there are many ways of reading a text, and if you can find evidence, you can convince people of your perspective. 
  • Useful for essays - putting forward a unique viewpoint is possible as long as you have persuasive reasoning.
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