Guidelines for writing Reflective Thinking Guidelines What is it? Purpose Reflective Thinking is the means by which you: 1. clarify your ideas2. review what has been happening3. examine problems4. observe and assess where you are going and 5. how to get there Remember1. Reflective writing is more than just a description of an experience 2. Reflective writing involves evaluation :3. Consider: – your own thoughts and feelings – your own experiences– your own observations– your own judgments 4. Reflective writing is thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of a theory or practice and5. Linking it back to your learning from coursework and readings Initial reflection Prompts (always revisit) 1. Where do I need to focus my attention?2. Does my information directly relate to the task or problem I am analysing? How?3. Am I failing to consider relevant viewpoints?4. Am I being diverted to unrelated matters?5. How is my point relevant to the issue we are addressing?6. What facts are actually going to help me answer the question?7. What things can/should I set aside at this moment? (Do I need to consider them later?)8. Can what I learned, as a whole or in part, be taken and applied to other areas of learning?What do I do? Analyse your topic/ task Deconstruct the task (You can do this by identifying task, content and limiting words in the essay title or question.) Identify and examine task words. Is the assignment asking you to critically analyse something (take apart an idea, concept or statement, reflect on theory and experiences, describe and record a learning experience, demonstrate your understanding of key concepts. Identify content words in the assignment. (These are the words that are specific to the topic or subject area) Identify the limiting words in the topic. (These are the words that limit the scope of the assignment) e.g Choosing one workshop experience. Who is your intended audience for the portfolio, and what do they want to know? What are you expected to reflect on? What is the purpose of the reflective task? How will you reflect on and analyse the learning experience? (reflection journal or critical friend) What will the overall reflective text look like, and how important is the layout? Reflective Journal? Critical Essay? or Portfolio? Your lecturer, tutor, supervisor will advise you as to what form your reflective writing is to take. A reflective journal assists your reflective thinking process and is a regularly added to record of the experiences, thoughts, questions, ideas and conclusions that signpost your learning journey. A critical essay is asking you to produce a reasoned argument, an analysis of something (take apart an idea, theory or practice) or make a judgement about ideas or information. A portfolio describes and evaluates the selected learning experience in some way using: Words Pictures Diagrams Select the experience/situation/problem/case study/learning experience. Step 1 Record the experience/situation/ problem/case study/learning experience. Describe the selected experience, etc ., in some way Explain it as clearly and as directly as you can. Ask yourself: –What situation, theory, approach, case or incident did I choose to analyse? – How well did I define the situation, theory, approach, case or incident? – Why? – Did this directly relate to thetype of analysis carried out? – In what way? Step 2 Explain how your understanding developed during and after the experience, etc. In this section, you are being asked to reflect on your information, how it added to you own understanding and how it may have shifted or developed by exploring the experience. Ask yourself: – How did I analyse the situation, case or incident, etc: – What procedure did I use? – Was it successful? Why? Why not? – Was my analysis comprehensive? – Can I demonstrate this?– Can I justify my analysis? – How did doing this analysis impact on my learning/ knowledge / understandings? – Will this affect the way I approach learning in the future? – Does this suggest changes I need to make to the way I learn? (NB you can use your profession’s standards, guidelines, lectures and readings to help with the ideas involved in thinking, reasoning and understanding the experience/ situation/problem/ case study/learning experience) Step 3 Demonstrate how the experience contributed to your understanding of the 1. role of an effective professional in your area of expertiseand2. what makes an effective professional in your area of expertise In this section it is important to consider the following:Identify the role of an effective professional in your area of expertise Explain how your own ideological standpoint have changed or developed in regard to the qualities of an effective professional by participating in and reflecting on the experience/ situation/problem/ case study/learning experience by considering the following: – Can I take and apply as a whole or in part what I have learned to other areas of learning or other situations? – Do I need to make changes to the way I think/react/practice my profession? – Did the experience/ situation/problem/ case study/learning experience exhibit or highlight an effective professional setting To examine these questions you might like to consider: – The qualities of an effective professional– The impact pedagogical principles have on an effective professional Were there any light bulb moments in this learning experience that will influence your own professional strategies and emerging pedagogy? (NB you can use lectures, Professional standards and readings to help you identify effective professionals) Step 4 Demonstrate your progress in achieving the student outcomes as a result of engaging in this learning experience. Ask yourself: – What did I learn about the topic, myself, my learning style, and learning itself? – How do I rate my approach to the situation, theory, approach, case or incident, study, research and problem solving? – Was it comprehensive? Why? Why not? What contributed to this? – What can I apply to future learning situations? – What do I need to / can I improve? – How has this learning experience impacted on your achieving (or not) and considering (or not) the outcomes for the subject? – Can you make any connections between the reflective task and key learning and teaching concepts for the subject? – What are the take home messages you have uncovered by participating in this experience in relation to your profession? – How has your reflection shaped your own experiences, expectations and understanding of working as a professional in your field of expertise? Did I ignore anything? What?
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