You may be relieved to know that, much like any essay, a reflective essay is typically comprised of an introduction, body and conclusion. As you go about deciding on the content of your essay, you need to keep in mind that a reflective essay is highly personal and aimed at engaging the reader or target audience.
You need to be able to reflect more on this later on your experience by showing how it influenced your subsequent behaviours and how your life has been particularly changed as a result. As a starting point, you might want to think about some important experiences in your life that have really impacted you, either positively, negatively, or both. Some typical reflection essay topics include: If you are writing a reflective essay as part of an academic exercise, chances are your tutor will ask you to focus on a particular episode — such as a time when you had to make an important decision — and reflect on what the outcomes were.
Note also, that the aftermath of the experience is especially important in a reflective essay; miss this out and you will simply be storytelling. You need to really think about how the personal experience you have chosen to focus on impacted or changed you. Use your memories and feelings of the experience to determine the implications for you on a personal level. Write down everything you can remember about it, describing it as clearly and fully as you can.
Keep your five senses in mind as you do this, and be sure to use adjectives to describe your experience. A great way to do this is to pick out some reflection questions which will help you think deeper about the impact and lasting effects of your experience. Here are some useful questions that you can consider:. Do you think these were the right choices? Was it a useful learning experience?
What specific skills or perspectives did you acquire as a result? These signpost questions should help kick-start your reflective process. Remember, asking yourself lots of questions is key to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences — a skill that is at the heart of writing a great reflective essay.
Consider using models of reflection before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis. For example, before you really get stuck into the process, consider questions such as: Are there any possible challenges to keep in mind?
What knowledge is needed to be best prepared to approach the experience? Is the process working out as expected? Am I dealing with the accompanying challenges successfully? Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful?
What am I learning from this? Your writing will be so much more coherent, your ideas conveyed with structure and clarity, and your essay will likely achieve higher marks. An outline allows you to establish the basic details that you plan to incorporate into your paper — this is great for helping you pick out any superfluous information, which can be removed entirely to make your essay succinct and to the point.
Think of the outline as a map — you plan in advance the points you wish to navigate through and discuss in your writing. Your work will more likely have a clear through line of thought, making it easier for the reader to understand.
It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. But what remains the same, is that you need to start your outline by drafting the introduction, body and conclusion. More on this below. Introduction As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin within an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement.
Refer back to the opening quote of this article — did it grab your attention and encourage you to read more? The thesis statement is a brief summary of the focus of the essay, which in this case is a particular experience that influenced you significantly. Body Next up is planning the body of your essay.
They key here is to put plenty of time and effort into planning the body, and you can draw on the following tips to help you do this well:. Try adopting a chronological approach. This means working through everything you want to touch upon as it happened in time. This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent. Lay out the important elements of your experience in a timeline — this will then help you clearly see how to piece your narrative together.
Ensure the body of your reflective essay is well focused, and contains appropriate critique and reflection. The body should not only summarise your experience, it should explore the impact that the experience has had on your life, as well as the lessons that you have learned as a result.
The emphasis should generally be on reflection as opposed to summation. Conclusion In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by providing a summary of both the points made throughout, and what you have learned as a result.
Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviours have been changed. Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations? What might you do differently in similar situations in the future? What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience?
Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard. Congratulations — you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process.
As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper or more likely fingers to keyboard can be daunting. But if you have put in the time and effort fleshing out a thorough plan, you should be well prepared, which will make the writing process as smooth as possible. The following points should also help ease the writing process:. But make sure you stick to your plan. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes.
Remember that reflective writing has a descriptive component and so must have a wide range of adjectives to draw from. Be more specific — this will make your writing more engaging.
Remember that this is a reflective task, and is the one place you can freely admit — without any repercussions — that you failed at a particular task. When assessing your essay, your tutor will expect a deep level of reflection, not a simple review of your experiences and emotion. Showing deep reflection requires you to move beyond the descriptive.
I am very fortunate to teach at a wonderful Christian University with many inspiring students. You gave some very helpful tips and prompts on reflective writing. I also loved the video. It reminded me of my own teaching days and helped me to re-connect with the idea that teaching is a noble profession. It's oh, so true but when you get into the daily battle of it, it can be so easily be forgotten. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
The most common subjects covered in a reflective essay include the following. A real experience Something you imagined A place or a special object Something you've read, watched, seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or heard. Topic Ideas for a Reflective Essay The above subjects might have already sparked an idea of what you would like to write about.
Places You've Been The beach, mountains, countryside, or desert A special hideaway or special room The house you grew up in A relative's home Life-Altering Events A special date Failing or succeeding at something A time you learned something new A new experience A time you overcame one of your fears An important memory A significant conversation Recurring or Significant Thoughts A dream or daydream A conversation you wish you had or something you wish you had done A story you've told about yourself An embarrassing moment The person you'd like to be A strong emotion Impactful Experiences A book, movie, T.
Introductory Paragraph Your first paragraph should be an introduction in which you identify the subject and give the reader a general overview of the impression it made on you. Your introductory paragraph should also included a thesis statement that will serve as the focal point of your paper. I realized it was because the beach had always been a place of rest to me.
Then, write about why. This is a reflective essay, which means you can speculate. There are no right or wrong answers in this type of essay. In the second body paragraph, write about the second reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. In the third body paragraph, write about the third reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Conclusion Recap your thesis statement and the reasons you provided in the body of your essay.
Sum up your article with some final thoughts on your subject, and some closing reflective thoughts. Now, I want to find a way to help Rhonda have a day off of her own, and I'm hoping someday we can take a trip to the beach together. Choose a Topic Idea If you haven't been assigned a topic and don't have a topic in mind, check the list of topics above for inspiration. Study Your Subject Depending on your topic, you may need to close your eyes and remember, read, watch, listen, or imagine.
Brainstorm Write down everything you can think about your subject. Pick Reflection Questions Read through the list of reflection questions below and select at least three you want to answer.
How did I feel about this? Why did it make me feel this way? How was my experience of this unique to me? How did others who were there experience it differently? How has this changed me? What might I have done differently? What is the meaning of this event in my life?
How is this similar to something else that I've experienced? How can I use this to help someone else? How does this event relate to the rest of my life? How is this typical in my life? Was this a good or a bad thing for me? How did this experience foretell things that would happen later?
Was my experience the same as someone else's or different? What skills did I learn? How can I apply what I learned to my life? How can I apply this experience to my studies? How can this help me in my career? What about this experience challenged me socially? In what way did this expand my understanding of my own culture? How was this emotionally important? How did this experience relate to my understanding of theology, God or religion? What questions did this experience make me have? How has this changed the way I think?
How has this made me realize someone else was right? How was this unexpected? Or how did this fulfill my expectations?
Would I want to repeat this experience? Would this experience be the same if I did it again? How did this affect me and why? Why did I have the reaction I did to this?
Answer the Questions You Selected Read your questions, then answer them. Example What did I notice? Couples walked hand in hand. Parents played in the sand with their children. I saw the holes in the sand where I knew sand crabs were scrambling to hide.
I noticed the cool wind on my face and the homes right up against the sand. I'm usually too busy helping her or spending time with relatives.
This trip, however, a friend of mine named Rhonda, who is also a caregiver to her mother, told me to go to visit the beach for her.
As a native Texan, Rhonda has only gotten to visit the beaches in California a few times. So today, I w ent to the beach for Rhonda.
I smelled the beach air and walked along all by myself and took an hour to not think about responsibilities to others. Then I wrote "For Rhonda" in the sand and took a picture of it. When I went through the struggles of growing up, I remember feeling soothed by the waves. They always seemed to keep on going.
That reminded me to not give up. To know that there is always something to look forward to ahead. To remember that laughter and tears are both a part of everyone's life. To me, the waves reminded me to have faith in a God who is in control of everything and has a bigger purpose for me than I can imagine.
Identify the Meaning of Your Experience Before you can begin writing your essay, you need to decide what is the most important thing you learned from this experience. Sample Essay If you'd like to see the final essay I've written using the pre-writing exercises I've done for this essay, take a look at my Reflective Essay Sample on a Visit to the Beach.
What Is the Purpose of a Reflective Essay? Literary This type of essay asks you to summarize and then respond to a piece of literature in order to understand it better and relate it to your own life and experiences. Professional Teachers, doctors, and social workers often use this type of writing in their training. Medical students write about patients they see. They can use this essay type to carefully describe the patient and the thoughts they have as they determine the correct treatment.
They can reflect on how well they interacted with the patient, and draw conclusions on what worked and what didn't so that they can better interact with patients. Doctors can use reflective essays to fine-tune their ability to provide effective health care in a caring manner that makes patients not only believe them, but also follow their advice. They can reflect on how well their body language, words, and tone of voice convinced the patient to make good lifestyle choices, or how well they helped a patient deal with difficult medical information.
Nurses and medical assistants write about their care of patients. By thinking back on different cases and their own responses to patient requests, nurses can better understand how they can help patients deal with pain, stress, and illness. This sort of writing can also help nurses deal with the stress of the emotions they must handle from both doctors and patients, and help them understand their role in helping both.
Teachers benefit from writing about experiences in teaching, and doing case studies of difficult students. By reviewing their emotions about their teaching and examining patterns of what worked and did not work, teachers can better plan their lessons and solve problems with student learning and behavior.
Social workers can use this kind of paper to help them analyze the environment and problems of their clients. They can also encourage their clients to write out their experiences in order to help them see the causes and effects of their behavior and circumstances, as well as to see ways they can change. Business people use this type of written assignment to analyze their interactions in a business setting, and to help them envision how they can better present their service or product to customers.
Educational Sometimes instructors will ask students to respond to a lecture or other school assignment so that they can show what they understand. Personal Growth This kind of writing can help you learn how to understand and analyze your own life experiences. Reflective Essay Question What experience is most meaningful for you?
Going to the beach, mountain, or other place in nature. Spending time talking with a friend. Having someone notice something you've done. You should always have a What did I learn? How did this change me? What would I do differently?
What do I regret? How has this made me the person I am today? You can use these sentence starters: If you are writing your reflections about a lecture, you can write about the following: What did you learn that was new to you? What did you think about the information? What was the most important thing you took away from what the speaker said?
How do you reference a healthcare reflective essay? I tell my students to use this simple format: Can you do reflective writing about the Airforce? Here are some questions to direct your reflections about military service: What relationships with other members of your unit were most meaningful?
How did you change your attitude toward authority? In what ways did your experiences make you more mature? How does serving change the way you relate to people in your personal life?
What were the hardest parts of serving in the Airforce and how did you overcome them? What advice would you give to someone else thinking about serving in the military? What led you to want to serve in the Airforce and do you still feel that way? What moment of your service are you most proud of? What would you do differently if you could?
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Sample Reflective Essays Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at .
Reflective essays are written in order to look back on personal experiences and measure how that experience has helped the author to grow or change. Reflective essays should have a clear introduction, body and conclusion in order to share the past events and how those events created change in the writer.
May 19, · If you'd like to see the final essay I've written using the pre-writing exercises I've done for this essay, take a look at my Reflective Essay Sample on a Visit to the Beach. The following is an Reviews: Sample Reflective Essay - Example #1 Below we offer an example of a thoughtful reflective essay that effectively and substantively captures the author's growth over time at CSUCI.
How to write a reflective essay 1. How to write a reflective essay 2. Learning outcomes1. Plan a reflective essay appropriately2. Identify an effective way of writing the introduction3. Recognise the structure of body paragraphs to support the introduction4. Produce an effective conclusion5. A reflective essay is akin to a diary entry, except that others will be reading it so it needs to have a great deal of coherence and a good structure. In that regard, a .