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'We do not learn from experience. we learn from reflecting on experience.'
Reflective writing differs from other kinds of university writing that you may be more familiar with. Reflective writing is meant to encourage you to reveal your personal thoughts about your life experiences in relation to the content you are learning about in your units. Many assessment tasks at university ask for reflection. You may see instructions like:
Reflection means taking some time to examine your own thoughts, beliefs, values, attitudes and assumptions about your understanding of a topic, a situation or a problem. When you reflect, think about your own experiences and knowledge and how you arrived at that understanding. Often our thinking has been shaped by the values of our family and culture, an embarrassing or uncomfortable situation, our religion, past teachers, newspapers, TV shows and so on. There is no absolute right or wrong way with reflective thinking. But the key questions in reflective thinking are how? and why? rather than what?
Reflective writing varies across disciplines which have particular ways of thinking about the world, and how to interpret the meanings of actions and things. In some disciplines, for example nursing and education, reflection is used to create knowledge and improve professional practice.
It is important that you write reflectively according to your unit and discipline. Read your assessment carefully, and ask your lecturer for further guidance if you are not sure.
There are a number of reflection models you can use to help construct your writing - the "What? So what? Now what?" model was outlined in the video. Another useful Reflection model is "The 4 Rs" which is outlined below. The 4Rs process is based on "Reflection-On-Action" - this means actions are analysed and re-framed after an event or observation, and potential solutions are developed. The process is designed to encourage you to address your ongoing learning from a number of standpoints, such as practical, cognitive and emotional, and from your own values, ethics and beliefs.
In the Report stage you describe, report or retell the key elements of what you have learnt, seen or experienced.