How to Write a Reflective Essay | Why It’s Important

Updated: Apr 25


How to Write a Reflective Essay | Why It’s Important

It is human nature to think about the things that are happening around us, why they are happening, and how we are coping with then. In college and university, you will more likely than not be asked to write a reflective essay that is meant to test the level of knowledge that you have obtained, as well as how much experience you have gained through various learning activities. As a future professional, you will also find critical reflection quite useful in the identification of the gaps in your skills, and the most efficient ways to cope with the daily tasks.


What is a Reflective Essay?



A reflective essay is simply a type of writing which is aimed at analyzing experiences and situations. It differs from traditional academic essays since it requires that you give an account of your feelings and performance. Reflective writing is not just about pouring out everything you feel about a given topic, as you are still coming up with an academic essay, not your diary. It should, therefore, comprise of well-structured text with clearly illustrated thoughts, examples, and evidence. In academic writing, you may be asked to reflect on:


- Information that you read in textbooks, articles, and other resources that are linked to your practice.

- A project that you just finished, and your thoughts on how you could have done to make it better.

- An experience, and the analysis of how you dealt with it.

- Professional practice, and how it influenced your thinking.


How to Write a Good Reflective Essay in 5 Easy Steps


1. Examine the requirements of the assignment



You should kickstart the essay writing process by defining what your professor asked you to write about. This goes with identifying whether your professor has asked you to use a specific mode of reflection. You should also identify any special instructions for the format and references of the paper. By knowing all the peculiarities of the essay, you will be in a better position to create an impressive reflective essay right from the word go.


2. Think about the questions that you will be addressing in the text of your essay

Some of the questions that you can ask yourself include:


- Which are the most outstanding concepts that I have learned? How did I come across these concepts?

- What are the main mistakes that I have made? What can I do to improve in those areas?

- What are some of the aspects of my practice that I want to develop? Why do those aspects matter?

- What academic literature have I come across so far that relates to the experience I have accumulated? What do the experts in my field say about the issues I am going to discuss? Do they suggest any alternative practices?


If you consider all the above questions and provide very honest and detailed results, then you will have all the text that you need for the body of your reflective essay.

3. Choose a model of reflection, if your professor did not assign you one

All writing models usually offer a structure for the reflective essay. You should choose your model depending on the analysis and description you need, and the results you want to achieve. The reflective writing models include:


- Gibbs reflective cycle

- Kolb reflective cycle

- Schon model

- Driscoll model

- Atkins & Murphy Model

- Borton Model

- John’s Model for Structured Reflection


If you, for instance, decide to go with Gibbs cycle, which is the most popular model, you will have to consider what happened and how it made you feel. You will also have to evaluate your experience, analyze your situation, and think about the things that you could have done better, as well as what you can do to better your skills.


4. Come up with a first draft



Write your essay based on the model that you have chosen. Essentially, the essay will comprise of:

- Description

This is the section in which you get to introduce theory, experience or practice. You can also explain what happened, when, where, and what the main significant points about the event were.


- Interpretation

Share your feelings and explain how they made feel, and support your claims with examples.


- Exploration of literature

Explore the literature that addresses the issue at hand. Connect the experience with various course materials, in a bid to reinforce your ideas.


- Outcome

Draw conclusions about the experience you had, and explain what or how you could have done things differently. Describe the way your experience impacted on the understanding that you have about your discipline or the event.


- Action plan

Describe the things that you can do to develop your personal or professional life, given the knowledge that you have obtained so far.


5. Proofread and correct all mistakes

It is always good to ensure that your text does not have any grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. Go through the text in your reflective essay to ensure that it is error-free and that it has a good structure. It is also recommendable to keep a balance between describing your events and presenting the evidence of the effects that the events have had on your practice.


If you follow the above tips on how to write a reflective essay, you will be in a better position to score higher grades. Coming up with such an essay can be challenging at times, but you can always get professional help from Custom Essay Writing . Reach out to them today and get premium quality delivered to you, at a pocket-friendly fee.

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