What is a Reflective Essay?
A reflective essay is simply an essay that examines a writer’s personal life experiences. As the writer of a reflective essay, you are required to write about certain experiences, by exploring how they have influenced your life, affected your development, and what you have gained from those experiences.
The Format of Reflective Essays
Reflective essays might assume slightly differing formats depending on the intended audience. For instance, writing a reflective essay for a collection of essays or a magazine will differ with writing a reflection essay for an academic audience or university course. The former has a broad base of audience, and it is not necessary that all have gone to college; hence you should keep it simple. The latter audience has a full range of knowledge, therefore, they can be addressed depending on the subject being tackled without worrying much about their level of understanding.
Reflection essays usually take the format utilized in most forms of writing, which encompasses the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. While organizing your essay, you should realize that the writing allows you to deepen your learning from the process. Reflective writing seeks to provide you with the opportunity to boost your insight from the work by reflecting deeper on your work. You should also put into consideration the perspectives of other and theories relating to what you are writing about.
Reflection Essay Structure
The first part of your reflective essay should always be the introduction. In this section, you should share indirectly or directly with your readers, concerning what the main focus of your essay will entail. More often than not, writers of essays tend to be a little indirect regarding the topic or what aspect of their lives the writing will highlight. Such an approach is highly discouraged in reflective essay writing. As a student, your lecturers expect you to be more direct or straightforward while explaining what facet of your life experiences that you will talk about.
The body of your reflection essay should carry the bulk of what you have to say concerning the issue or issues you are reflecting about. You should explain in this section how your life has changed or what you have learned from your experiences. The things that have caused changes in your life have to be described in this part of the essay. For instance, as a student, you might be asked to write about what you learned from your English or communication skills classes and what were your greatest challenges in that class. In such a case, you need to describe the knowledge you have acquired in the class if any, and include some of the difficulties you came across. Usually, reflection essays require that students share how the different lessons and assignments enhanced their skills, knowledge, and understanding.
As a good reflective writer, you should you should not only describe the changes you have undergone, but also provide with examples or cases supporting the details. A case example is if you are asked to write about has made you more optimistic towards life in general. The response should include factors influencing your optimism, including examples to support your claims. You can also include an incident or incidents that led to your views.
Although reflective writing is usually based on personal experiences, it important and essential that sometimes you draw from other types of evidence and sources. This should help you to better expound on your experiences in the reflection essay. The evidence you use in the essay can derive from placement, personal reflection, and from your academic environment. You should also use credible sources if you decide to use sources other than personal reflection.
The conclusion part of the reflection essay sums up your experiences, life changes, and effects of these among others on your life. You can also provide a brief overview into what you expect in the future, or how your past could have been modified. Your conclusion can also be general or specific. A general conclusion sums up your experiences and the analysis you have undertaken in the reflection essay in a general manner. A specific conclusion presents your own unique, specific, personal experiences or situation and ways of working that you arrive at from the reflection.
Other Essential Tips in Writing a Reflective Essay
A student who wants to be a good writer of reflection essays should consider the following tips:
- Always stay alerted to the purpose of writing the essay and state the same if it is suitable
- Practice by reflecting on what you learn from various incidents, and ways that you do something in a different manner in another situation and time
- Practice reflective writing a particular incident through various perspectives of different people and situations
- Incorporate ethical, moral, socio-political, and historical contexts in your reflective essay where relevant.