Develop and maintain effective learning habits and stop habits which aren’t successful
Identify skills you need or want to develop
Stand back and see your work in a wider picture
Develop a personal understanding of what it means to be a professional in your field
How can I get started?
Step 1: Before you start
Look at the assignment brief and marking criteria, and any relevant examples tutors have shown you.
Step 2: During the experience
Log details of what happened each day/week in a journal. Include facts and your response to the situations.Problem solve as you go. If you come up across difficulties, try to resolve them with the help of people or study material.
Step 3: After the experience
Stand back to gain some perspective, either with the help of tutors and friends or through further reading and reflecting. Allow some time for you to process events and see the bigger picture.
Step 4: Writing
Plan your writing: Select key moments which will illustrate your learning and development. You can‘t include everything, but try to address successes and failures you can learn from.
Draft your reflection: write up your experience, focusing on why things happened. Don’t hide your identity or experience.
Redraft: Add and remove elements to clearly focus on your central learning from the experience.
This extract illustrates some common features of critical reflections. The student describes an action they took, explains why they acted as they did and starts to evaluate the success of their actions.
One paragraph from the extract is annotated below to highlight some common features of a critical reflection. Compare this example to example paragraphs from your own course to see how it compares to what you are expected to produce.
Move the slider at the bottom to highlight the different elements.
To move from a simple reflection on your actions to a broader, more critical reflection consider the following questions:
What is the bigger picture?
What goals are you working towards? Are there any conflicts of interest to take account of?
How might someone else view or judge your performance or behaviour?
Have you been pushed out of your comfort zone? How?
Which different opinions or viewpoints have you been exposed to? Are there any other viewpoints and opinions which you should investigate to build a fuller picture?
How has your attitude been shaped or changed over time? Why has it evolved in this manner?
What are the wider implications and impact of your behaviour and practice? (Social, ecological...)
Do you reinforce or question established norms and behaviours in your field?
What language should I use in reflective writing?
In reflective writing a more personal language style is encouraged, compared to other types of academic writing.
Move the slider to see common features of reflective writing style.
Infographic: Keep on track with a Critical Reflection
Click on the infographic to open a full-screen version.