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Reflective Writing

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Reflective Writing ‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations be tackled effectively.’ (Gibbs, 1998) ‘Reflective writing provides an opportunity for you to gain further insights from your work through d
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  1 Reflective Writing ‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learningpotential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from thisreflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations be tackled effectively.’ (Gibbs, 1998)   ‘Reflective writing provides an opportunity for you to gain further insights from  your work through deeper reflection on your experiences, and through furtherconsideration of other perspectives from people and theory. Through reflection we can deepen the learning from work.’ (Watton et al, 2001)  Reflection is an exploration and an explanation of an event or a situation (in thiscase, the CTEC 3901 ‘Methods’ tutorials ), not just a description of them, inorder to draw lessons for the future. What is the purpose of reflective writing? Reflective writing provides evidence of reflection, which involves:    Looking back on an event (in this case, the CTEC3901 Methods tutorials);analysing the event, thinking in depth about it from differentperspectives; and considering what the event means for you and yourongoing progress as a learner.So reflective writing is more personal than other forms of academic writing.Reflection:    Makes links between theory and practice    Integrates new knowledge with previous knowledge    Helps develop understanding    Helps you to learn from experience: to avoid repeating mistakes, toidentify successful aspects that can be applied to other situations, tolearn how to handle similar situations better in the future.So reflection is about looking back at an event or situation: but with a view tolearning something from it that can be applied in the future.To be effective, reflection needs to go beyond a description of an event; itrequires you to:  2    Step back, think about your role in the event    Consider the perspectives of others involved (other students, the tutor)    Show what you have learned from the process (the event and thereflection on it). How to go about reflective writing? There is more than one way to go about reflective writing. This is a brief guideto getting started.One overall structure for a piece of reflective writing is:Description Interpretation OutcomeDescription: Keep this short  A brief description of what happened.Interpretation: So what?Why did you do what you did, in the way that you did?Why did other people do what they  did? (students, tutor)What were you trying to achieve?How did you feel at the time? (about the tasks, about theprocess)How do you feel now, afterwards, as you reflect about it?Outcome: Now what?What are the implications for you, and for others?What might you do differently in a similar situation in thefuture?What have you learned, not just about the topic but about your own approach to learning and studying; your ownbehaviour in tutorials; the behaviour and approach tolearning of the other people involved and how that impactedon you, etc?Often reflection results in a personal action plan: it can reveal errors,anxieties, weaknesses in your approach to studying as well as strengths andsuccesses. So it can result in consideration of: what are you going to dodifferently in similar situations (other tutorials, labs etc.) in the future? Whatsteps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learned?  3 Further Information This handout draws upon the following sources, where further information andguidance may be found:Reflective Writing: a basic introduction. Portsmouth Universityhttp://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/ask/resources/handouts/writtenassignments/filetodownload,73259,en.pdf [accessed 23-11-2011]Reflective writing. UK Student Portal.http://www.uk-student.net/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=63 [accessed 23-11-2011] References Gibbs, G. (1998) Learning by Doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods.FEU.Watton, Pete, Collings, Jane & Moon, Jenny (2001) Reflective Writing.University of Exeterhttp://as.exeter.ac.uk/media/level1/academicserviceswebsite/studentandstaffdevelopment/documents/Reflective%20Writing%20-%20Guidance%20notes%20for%20students.pdf [accessed 23-11-2011]
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