How to write a reflection paper
In writing of a reflection paper, you have to start with your topic and the point you plan to make about your experience and learning. The structure of your sample essays example should have body paragraph(s), and finish your paper template by exploring the meaning you got from your reflection. The definition of a reflective essay states that the writer examines his or her personal experiences in life. Reflective learning gives you the opportunity to consider how your own self experiences and observations shape your thinking and your acceptance of new ideas. Writing of reading reflections makes you to explore your own ideas about a text and can make you express your own ideas. Reflective learning can help you improve your analytical skills because it requires you to express what you think, how and why you think that way. Examples of reflections include experimental reflection whereby you can access a theory or approach based on your observations and practice and evaluate your own knowledge and skills within your professional field and reading reflection whereby the general purpose is to elicit your informed opinions about ideas presented in the text and to consider how they affect your interpretation.
Understanding what is a reflective essay (definition)
A reflective essay is an essay whereby the writer examines his or her experiences in life. He or she then writes the experiences, exploring how he or she has changed, developed or grown from them.
The format of a reflective essay may change slightly depending on the audiences. An example is writing a reflective essay for a college course and an academic audience will have some slight changes in the essay’s organization from writing an essay for a magazine, which has more audience, without people who have gone to college. However, some major elements go into a typical reflective essay which contains introduction, body and conclusion. Reflective essays always have an introduction, where the speaker shares, either directly or indirectly, what the overall focus of the reflection will be. Many popular essay writers might be a bit indirect about their main topic, or about what part of their lives they will focus on. However, an academic writer should be more direct in explaining what aspect of his or her experiences that he or she will talk about.
The body of a reflective essay explains how the writer has changed or what the writer has learned. It also explains the things that caused the writer to change. For instance; many academic writers are asked to reflect on how they improved their writing skills over a period of time. They then share how some assignment writing made them better writers. A good reflective writer shares the changes and adds on more examples as supporting details. For instance, if a writer discuses becoming more optimistic in life, those specific examples should be given of what made this change, such as sharing an incident in which the writer took a positive approach to resolving the incident.
How to start a reflection paper
Introduce your topic and the point you plan to make about your experience and learning .Develop your point through body paragraph(s), and conclude your paper by exploring the meaning you derive from your reflection. You may find the questions listed below can help you to develop an outline before you write your paper. Critical reflection requires thoughtful and persistent inquiry. Although basic questions like “what is the thesis?” and “what is the evidence?” are important to demonstrate your understanding, you need to ask yourself your own assumptions and knowledge to deepen your analysis and focus your assessment of the text.
Assess the text(s): 1.What is the main point? How is it developed? Identify the purpose, impact and/or theoretical framework of the text. 2. What ideas stood out to me? Why? Were they new or in opposition to existing scholarship?
Develop your ideas: 1.What do I know about this topic? Where does my existing knowledge come from? What are the observations or experiences that shape my understanding? 2. Do I agree or disagree with this argument? Why?
Make connections: 1.How does this text reinforce my existing ideas or assumptions? How does this text challenge my existing ideas or assumptions? 2. How does this text help me to better understand this topic or explore this field of study/discipline?
How to write a good reflection paper format
A reflective essay will need you to come up with a specific format to ensure quality content. The outline of a reflective essay contains the segments that should be included in your essay writing. It is the structure of the essay that will guide you on how you should format your essay to meet the requirements. A reflection paper can be divided into three parts, the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
1. Introduction: Present and give readers an idea
The reflection paper should open by giving readers an idea on what to write about. Involving readers makes the introduction interesting and make sure it prepares the readers on what they are going to read.
Describe the experience in a sentence and the effect in your life without giving it all away so that it keeps the reader reading it till the conclusion
2. Body: Experiences
It will contain the experience. You may consider describing the experience;-Where did it happen? Use adjectives to describe what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, etc. Describing what you were thinking at that time is also important and narate what happened concisely
The body should also have the effects of the incident for example the effect on your personality, family or friends
You should also explain what happened after the experience. Realizations are also written on the body which is about your thoughts and should be easy since there is no researching unlike when you are writing informative essay
Realizations may be based on the effects and may also include whether you think the effects of the incident is good or bad.
It may also be about the lessons you learned or from which readers could learn. You may also discuss the benefits you got or what you have lost from that experience.
3. Conclusion: Sum it up.
It should be able to sum up everything you write. Finish it with a summary of your experience, realizations and thoughts.
You should not rely on facts but ensure you finish it with your own thoughts because this makes reflection paper different and easier to write compared with other types of essays
Creating a reflective essay outline
Reflective essay is different from other essays in that it is focused on your personal insights or what you think about something. However, it is also similar to other types of essays.
It has three main parts that is, introduction, body and conclusion
Writing a reflective essay outline makes you write the essay faster and easier
There are two types of outlines that is, topic or sentence outline. The difference between the two is that the sentence outline must be stated in complete sentences while the topic outline can be a phrase that describes what you want to write.
How to create an outline
The essay must have:-Introduction
Each part would have sub-parts so your outline might look like this:
-a) An experience or event
-b) Its effect on you or other people
-c) What you learned from it
Tips to make a good reflective essay outline
When writing an outline, it is good to be specific in your phrases or sentences. You should not worry about making too many lines. This would be significant later on in writing of the essay and using outline as basis. However, make the lines short so that each takes only one line.
The arrangement of your essay has no rules but there are common structures and arrangements. For instance, some may start from general topics and move to specific topics. Others use narrative or a chronological structure.
Creating an outline first would help you keep organization and finish faster if you are about to create a reflective essay
You can choose between topic and sentence outline and always keep each line short while creating a reflective essay outline
How to write reflective essay examples
The things you can write about include: A real experience, something you can imagine, a place or an object, a person who influenced you or something you have read, watched or heard.
Topic ideas may include: 1. Places for example, mountains, desert or a beach
2. Events such as a new experience in work, an important memory or a conversation
3. Thoughts such as a daydream, a strong emotion, a dream or what you wish you had done
4 .Experiences such as a song, movie, social media post or a magazine
5. People such as a best friend, nephew, niece or a teacher
Step 1: Choose a topic idea
This may be a place, event, a thought, an experience or a person
Step 2: study your subject
This may include reading, remembering, watching, listening or imagining
Step 3: Brainstorm
Write down everything you can think of about your subject and describe it clearly including clear adjectives of sensory experiences such as smells, tastes, noises and what you can see.
Step 4: Pick reflective questions
This may include questions such as:
1. What did I notice?
2. How did I feel about this?
3. Why did it make me feel this way?
4. How was my experience of this unique to me? How did others who were there experience it differently? Why?
5. How has this changed me?
6. What might I have done differently?
7. What is the meaning of this event in my life?
8. How is this similar to something else that I’ve experienced?
9. How can I use this to help someone else?
10. How does this event relate to the rest of my life?
11. How is this typical in my life?
12. Was this a good or a bad thing for me?
13. How did this experience foretell things that would happen later?
14. Was my experience the same as someone else’s or different?
15. What skills did I learn?
16. How can I apply what I learned to my life?
17. How can I apply this experience to my studies?
18. How can this help me in my career?
19. What about this experience challenged me socially?
20. In what way did this expand my understanding of my own culture? or a different culture?
21. How was this emotionally important? or emotionally difficult?
22. How did this experience relate to my understanding of theology, God or religion?
23. What questions did this experience make me have?
24. How has this changed the way I think?
25. How has this made me realize someone else was right?
26. How was this unexpected? Or how did this fulfill my expectations?
27. Would I want to repeat this experience?
28. Would this experience be the same if I did it again?
29. How did this affect me and why?
30. Why did I have the reaction I did to this?
Step 5: Answer questions
Answer your questions getting as many ideas as possible.
Step 6: Decide main meaning
You need to decide on the most important thing you learned from this experience
-It is important to give a clear summary and description of the experience, place, imagination or reading so that your reader feels they have also experienced it
-Give explanation also of your thoughts, feelings and reaction about this experience.
-It is good to go through various examples of reflective essays to advance in writing techniques. As a writer, you should go through various samples so that you can get exposed. Going through various samples can enable you to note the mistakes of other authors and correct the same when you get to your own. Due to the advancement of technology, you can easily get access to this examples from different resources online. Some of the common resources that may contain reflective essay examples are articles, journals, and magazines and by going through this samples, you will be able to acquire the right words to use for your writing.