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Reflective writing

Reflective writing is a useful tool to help you think about your learning, the process by which the learning occurs, or any other activity about which your instructor wants you to be aware of not only the end result of the learning, but how you get to that place of accomplishment. Reflective writing may take place in a journal, a portfolio, or in some other format (such as an online text dropbox).

If you are new to reflective practice, and in particular, reflective writing, the direction to be self-reflective about your learning process might not only be confusing but also intimidating. Furthermore, the process of reflective writing might take you into previously unexplored territory, such as making you think about how you feel about your learning.

Reflective practice is "more than just thoughtful practice, it is the process of turning thoughtful practice into a potential learning situation." (Jarvis, as cited by Cooney, 1999, "Reflection demystified: Answering some common questions"). Atkins and Murphy (1995) characterized the reflective practice process in 4 stages:

Stage 1: Awareness of uncomfortable feelings (usually due to new, unfamiliar, or negative situations)

Stage 2: Examination of components of the situation and exploration of alternative actions

Stage 3: Summary of outcomes of reflection or learnings

Stage 4: Action resulting from reflection (Source: Atkins and Murphy's model of reflection).

Reflective writing can help to identify, analyse, and draw conclusions at each stage.

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