The reflective essay writes about an event or experience with the analysis of its meaning. The reflective writing is most commonly used to examine the learning process, to make a connection, to clarify the understanding and to learn from mistakes.
According to Farleigh, a reflective essay is an exploration of a topic using personal thought and experience. The objectives are to combine reflections in an organized manner following the essay format. The most important are thoughts about the topic and the experience or group interaction throughout the activity.
Types of reflection are reflection-in-action (journaling) which means getting to the main point of what is happening during the learning process. The other type is a reflection-on-action (reflective essay) that tells about a previous event to take into account new information or theoretical perspectives linked with the reader’s processes, feelings and actions.
How to prepare a reflective writing assignment?
First, focus on an experience or event that was outstanding or meaningful, either negative or positive. Brainstorm the ideas at the beginning, then describe the experience to stimulate a range of perspectives.
Identify several solutions for similar events, then develop a new perspective by describing the situation differently. The reflective essays are personal and subjective, but still at an academic level.
There are 2 sources in the reflective essays used for the reflective writing assignments: your reflections from essential evidence of personal experiences and academic evidence from published case studies and theories to show your ideas.
The structure of the reflective essay
The most frequent reflective essay topics are real-life experience, something you imagined, a place or special object, something read, watched or experienced. There are two types of reflective essays such as experiential and reading reflection. The critical reflection is based on the assumption analysis, contextual awareness, imaginative speculation and reflective scepticism. The reflective writing task aims to reflect on a deeper level to show the understanding of theory and essay content. It links experience and knowledge. Thus, it uses reflections to inform and further extend writing skills for lifelong learning.
Both, an academic essay and a critical reflection essay, integrate a variety of source material, use formal English and correlate with the academic citation and referencing guidelines.
The introduction of a reflective essay is a main component of the essay. The introduction paragraph is the first one that describes the thesis. It aims to identify the subject and provide a general overview of the impression on the audience.
The body paragraph consists of several paragraphs to introduce a theme or topic. They provide evidence from practice or current literature.
The concluding statement summarizes the main points and restates the main idea in a different way. Finally, provide a summary of the issue described and suggest an appropriate course of action for further research.