How to Write a Critical Self-Reflection Essay in 3 easy steps

Critical self-reflection has been argued to be a true indication of learning. It is not surprising that when it comes to assessing learning progress, some instructors prefer self-reflection essay papers over traditional examination questions. As a grad student, I find self-reflection essays to be a relaxing academic exercise. Perhaps this is because of the flexibility it offers to the writer.

Are you faced with a critical self-reflection task? Like many grad students, you may be thinking:

How do you start a self-reflection essay? Here are three (3) easy steps.

1. Keep a research journal or diary.

Just as a diary help stores information for future use, keeping a research diary (research journaling) would provide valuable information you can reflect on at the end of the research project or task.

2. Use a reflection model as a guide.

A strong reflection essay adopts a reflection model. Thankfully, there are several models developed by academics to guide reflective practice. 3 recommended self-reflection models include Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, Rolfe’s model and Kolb’s Cycle

3. Answer these 3 questions:

Once you have your experience handy and identified a fitting model, then it’s time to do the actual self-reflection writing. To begin, answer the following questions:

* What did you do and to what aim?

* What did you learn in the process? Did your experience reveal certain strengths or weaknesses about you?

* How would you use this knowledge in the future- as a research student, at work or in your personal life?

Bonus Step: Self-reflection writing is a flexible exercise. Feel free to use the personal pronoun “I” when describing your experience. A word of caution: Although self-reflection essay papers are easy to write, avoid being too informal or chatty. Write academically!

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