Reflective Writing

Practical experience is as important as theory in fields such as education and
nursing. Reflection on that experience helps you to make links between theory and
practice, integrate new knowledge with previous knowledge and develop your
understanding. Reflecting on and learning from your experiences, including your
mistakes, can help you to avoid repeated mistakes and, at the same time, identify
successful aspects of an experience and useful principles which might usefully be
applied to other situations. Reflection provides the opportunity to make sense of and
learn from any experience and handle similar situations appropriately another time.
It gives you the chance to explore thoughts and feelings, work through difficult or
painful experiences, and develop self awareness and fresh insights. It can help you
to get away from routine, automatic action and make conscious and informed
decisions after weighing up all aspects of a situation.
Reflection may take place at different times:

Before action – weighing up different aspects before deciding on a particular
During action – thinking on your feet
After action – looking back

Reflective writing is largely concerned with looking back - but with a view to the

To be effective and constructive, reflective writing needs to go beyond
description of events and your own associated feelings. You need to:
step back, explore and analyse your own role in the experience
consider the different perspectives of other people involved
make connections with relevant theories, supporting your ideas by reference to
literature and research
consider legal and organisational implications
show awareness of social and political influences
show what you have learned from the process

Because reflective writing involves personal analysis of personal experience and
feelings, it is acceptable to use the first person – i.e. to describe what “I did”...