What is Reflection and How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Reflection is needed to the following:

  • The teacher to get feedback and plan further work
  • The student to formulate and maybe even to form their attitude to the event in which they. participated.

It should be borne in mind that reflection is a peculiar but clear sign to the presenter that you (the reflector) accept the rules of the game and are ready to participate actively in the future process.

In the simplest case, one should answer these questions in reflection:

  • What goals did you pursue, becoming, voluntarily or unwittingly, a participant in the event? What were your intentions?
  • Did you achieve your goals, did your hopes come true? If so, in what way and why? If not, then why?

Everyone knows how to reflect from childhood, but growing up, not everybody effectively uses this skill in the work for some reason.

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Many managers probably know what reflection is and what benefits it brings. The traditional understanding of the model, which describes the presence of some critical situation for you and the subsequent reflection on the topic what was not what the way it was supposed to be can be corrected, how to improve the situation, etc., is a source of self-education for a beginner or even an experienced manager. However, if the skills of reflection are not developed, then the fruitful model becomes only part of a boring book on management or an unclear task in the training.

The key moments in reflection are the ability to recognize a key event and the ability to realize a reflection.

What is the Purpose of Reflection?

If the child understands the following, then the learning process becomes much more interesting and easier for both the student and the teacher:

  • For which he or she studies the topic, how it will be useful to him or her in the future
  • What goals should be achieved in this lesson
  • What contribution can he or she make to the common cause
  • Can he or she adequately assess his or her work and the work of their classmates

Writing a Reflective Essay

If you don’t know how to write a reflective essay, read on.

First, try to determine the recent situation that has influenced you and deserves your attention for reflection. Try to write on the piece of paper only 20–30 sentences, describing the situation, the actions of the people involved, your feelings, emotions, and thoughts. If you managed to write at least half, then you were able to write a reflection but only from the point of view of your description of the situation. Now ask yourself simple questions:

  • How to act in a similar situation in the future?
  • What can I change in my approach to this situation?
  • What can I learn from this situation next time?
  • Are there any other ideas on how to act in a similar situation in the future?

The list of questions can be infinite, but the main thing is not the number of questions, but the answers to them and the quality of these answers. By the way, the ability to raise critical questions is the key point that determines how experienced the student is in solving complex problems. We all know that problems sometimes seem easier than they really are, and then the student does not need to make a mistake in assessing the complexity. Although, why not make a mistake? Negative experience is one of the most important events worthy of reflection.

Try to write or think through the answers to the questions. After that, the answers can be considered from the point of view of reflection about the relations of people involved in the situation, or from the point of view of the event itself or facts. In the process of reflection, you are sure to find parallels with previous experience or evaluate the event as a recurring situation in your life. And even, maybe, you will note that the situation is the same as last time. Then you can think about whether it is possible to make the same mistake the second time. The general perception that the situation is understandable, and you can follow the solution that you used the last time, is all a mistake. The error is not reflection, but an error of perception of the situation. Try to write similar factors or elements of the situation and what does not look like last time.

The next stage is the generalization of reflection and elaboration of possible options for action next time, compiling a list of key questions and points that need to be checked before making a decision and acting. This is the skeleton of reflection. Do not be afraid to bring emotions, feelings, and attitudes into reflection. They make it alive.

Another key moment of reflection is the technique itself. Is it necessary to write on paper or better to keep records in the computer, and, maybe, to create a blog on the internet? The latter option makes it possible to attract other people to the reflection. There is only one important solution in this matter. Start reflexing.

Types of Reflection

In content:

  • Symbolic is when the student simply puts an estimate with the help of symbols (cards, tokens, gestures, etc.).
  • Oral involves the child’s ability to communicate expressively their thoughts and describe their emotions.
  • Written is the most complex and takes a lot of time. It is appropriate at the final stage of studying a whole section of the teaching material or a large topic.

According to the form of activity:

  • Collective
  • Group
  • Frontal
  • Individual

By purpose:

  • Emotional. It evaluates the mood and emotional perception of the educational material. This reflection is from the category of “like/dislike,” “interesting/boring,” “it was fun/sad,” etc. This type of reflection helps the teacher assess the overall mood of the class. The more positive, the better the topic is understood. Conversely, if there is more negative feedback, then the lesson seemed boring, difficult, and there were difficulties with the perception of the topic.

When and How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Reflection of mood and emotionality is very easy to prepare. There are a lot of options: cards with smileys or signed pictures, thumbs up/down, raising hands, warning cards, etc. It is more convenient to conduct at the end of the next stage of the lesson like after explaining a new topic, after the stage of fixing the topic, etc.

At the beginning of the lesson, emotional reflection is conducted to establish contact with the class. You can turn on the music, cite a classic, or read an emotional poem. After that, ask 3–4 students how they feel and what mood they are in. First of all, students get used to assess their condition, their emotions, and second of all, they learn to argue their own point of view. In addition, such a reflection will help students tune in to the perception of the topic.

Other Types of Reflection

Reflection, which includes various processes of self-knowledge about activities, communication, self and the process of thinking, is a type of social perception. In the manuals on how to write a reflective essay, the following types of reflection are distinguished:

  • Socio-perceptual reflection aimed at reinterpreting and re-checking the subject’s own perceptions and concepts about the cognizable person.
  • Personal reflection of one’s communication with other people and the qualities of one’s personality manifested in communication with others (actually self-knowledge).
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  • Communicative reflection, which consists in representing the subject about how it is perceived, evaluated, and related to others.
  • Meta-reflection, that is, the idea of what people know about themselves.

Researchers believe that the study of reflection is important in psychology to determine the scientific and psychological foundations of the management of the educational process: the teacher, receiving information about the behavior, activities of students and how they understand it, evaluate his or her actions, relates to their personality, adjusts, clarifies, rebuilds activities and behavior, and improves as a person.

In the process of managing the educational process, the teacher selects, clarifies, and re-tests their actions. This is achieved through reflexive actions – the highest kind of mental actions: doubts, hypotheses, questions (to yourself), clarification, the search for the causes of the phenomenon, forecasting, etc.

The manuals on how to write a reflective essay state that the problem of reflection is unique to the same extent as the reflection itself. Indeed, due to the property of reflexivity as something given of consciousness, a person understands that they are endowed with such a unique quality that none of the other living beings possess – by the very ability to recognize and arbitrarily regulate their activities, which is the highest form of behavior management.

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