Reflective Writing? What’s That?

Among the many types of writing that students must complete during their studies, reflective writing is probably the one that poses the most interesting challenge. High-school students are not the only ones feeling challenged; even college students can have a hard time with reflective writing.

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What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing is a genre of writing where you are required to write your thought process and feeling while doing a practical activity. The writer must review and think critically about his or her experience. This reflection upon experience improves learning, as it’s an evidence of reflective thinking.

The purpose of reflective writing

As the name indicates, the purpose is to put your thinking about a particular practical experience into a written form. The end goal is for you to learn which theories taught in class are applicable in practice.

The structure of reflective writing

Despite the many types of reflective writing, they all follow the following basic structure: description, analysis, and outcomes/actions.

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What to put in the description, analysis, and outcomes/actions depends on what are you reflecting on. When you’re reflecting on your learning, you need to answer these questions:

  • Description – What is the concept or theory you’re reflecting upon?
  • Analysis – What are the challenges? How does the practice tie with the theory? What information did you lack? Did it change how you think about the concept or problem? How did you contribute to the solution?
  • Outcomes/actions – How would you apply the knowledge you gained for your future career? Are there any unanswered questions you need to follow through? Should you face the same challenge again, how will you do things differently?

What is the key telling point of reflective writing?

The key is the writer’s voice. In a piece of reflective writing, you’ll often find sentences starting with the word “I” or “My”.  The use of those pronouns is expected since the writing is based on your personal experience. You are supposed to write from your point of view, expressing how you feel about the subject matter. In other word, reflective writing is subjective.

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That said, you still need to maintain a formal tone throughout. Avoid using contractions, slangs, and other informalities. You also need to ensure no typos or misspellings find their way into your writing. Use spelling checker tools such as the online-spellcheck.com to eliminate such errors.

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“Is reflective writing in third person possible?”

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Yes. Although rare, teachers and professors may ask students to write from a third-person perspective. Think of yourself as a character and detach your experiences from yourself. It will come out like a narrative with you as the main character.

Where can I find more examples of reflective writings?

The internet has all the examples you’ll ever need. Here are three of them:

If you’re still unsure if the piece you’ve just written is indeed reflective writing, just consult those three resources.

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