So, what is a reflective essay? These days I usually ask Google to enlighten my ignorance, and as usual, Google came up trumps. I was fascinated by the first answer, which is that a reflective essay is something that a website staffed by people whose first language is not English (and whose syntax suggests a more than passing acquaintance with bank scams) is willing to sell you on a sliding scale of fees. If you are so desperate for this essay that you need it within 1.5 hours, the shortest time possible, it will cost you more than if you are organised enough to place your order four days ahead of the deadline. There's room for a piece of investigative journalism there - could you possibly gain a degree from a British university by submitting essays from these sites? I'd like to think not, but there's so many of websites I'm forced to believe they have customers.
There was plenty of other information kicking around, and after a couple of hours note taking, here's what I came up with:
Writing a Reflective Essay
In a nutshell, you should provide a thoughtful analysis of the work you just completed and give some sense of the importance of your experience to your educational development.
Identify and comment on selected issues and give examples of the work you just did (here’s where you reference).
You are observing yourself as you study. You should describe your actions and your response to your actions, and then place them in an educational context. The focus should be on how you have changed.
1. keep a balance between describing specific aspects of work and making general statements
2. show clear connections between a topic and what it made you think or believe
3. describe the good and bad aspects of the finished project or module
4. show that you are aware of how subject knowledge and understanding are developed
5. show that you recognise difficulties and demonstrate your approach to problem solving.
6. be nuanced – you are evaluating percentages, not giving fixed absolutes.
Aim: to compare and contrast the experience you had against the course goals and evaluate how the work you just finished helped you, or not, to reach those goals.
* state module aims
*give a statement of the general view you gained from the experience - describe incidents that helped shape that view
Body of essay:
*describe the process you followed and the experiences you had while completing the course work
*something that went well
*something you misunderstood
*something you consider crucial to your understanding of the topic.
*the main things you learned or developed.
*any skills you learned or improved (why/how)
*say how you reacted/felt/behaved re the list above
*describe which significant material or issues made you reflect and think deeply
*say how the experience changed or affected you
* talk about the less/most enjoyable aspects and say why.
Talk about any course aims you will think further about or any issues where you changed mind. Give that percentage of improvement (or not) towards the learning goals. Say if you have been prompted to go on to any further knowledge, or to learn any more skills, and say how you will continue.
If you were to repeat the course, what would you do differently and why? What do you think now compared with what you thought when you started.
No 'Just' about it.