Throughout your time at university, you will be asked to think and write reflectively. Sometimes what we’ve learned from an activity or piece of work isn’t always obvious, which is why we reflect on our experiences. Being able to recall what happened, and turn your insights into an action plan isn’t always easy and this online resource will take you step by step through that process.
What is meant by reflection?
- A definition of reflective thinking:
- evaluating your first-hand experience of an event, process or activity, then;
- analysing the reasons for the things that have gone well and less well, then;
- learning from the experience to improve or refine your performance if a similar situation arises again
- Reflective writing is evidence of reflective thinking in which your personal experience forms a case study or data set for exploration
- Reflective writing is a method for transforming this powerful subjective experience into a form of academic evidence by putting it into a broader context and drawing out its implications
The Gibbs Reflective Learning Cycle (Gibbs G (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit. Oxford Polytechnic: Oxford) is a useful model for structuring a reflective piece of writing. Keep track of your experiences and how they made you feel at the time by using a diary, journal or reflective learning log. Later on, you can use this accumulated experience to identify patterns or make generalisations about your ways of working. This will allow you to compare your experience with the literature and draw conclusions that identify plans for how to tackle similar situations differently in the future, or draw on your experience of what has gone well to gain confidence.
Study Skills Hacks: The Gibbs Reflective Cycle
Use the Gibbs Reflective Cycle as a tool when reflecting on an experience. Watch this short video for some ideas on how to use it in your work:
For more information on strategies and approaches to developing your reflective writing, read more below:
When is reflective thinking and writing needed?
Reflective thinking – how?
Types of reflective writing
Use phrase starters, such as:
Ask yourself the following questions:
Remember the following: