How to Write a Reflection Essay

greetings i'm dr. melissa wheeler

professor of English here at Central

Penn College in this brief video

tutorial I will be discussing how to

write a reflection essay on this slide

you'll see the objectives for the

presentation it's a good time to pause

the video and read those over on this

slide you'll see some quick tips on

successful note-taking strategies for

this and other video tutorials okay so

you can assign a reflection essay in one

of your college courses before diving

into it need to know what the genre

expectations are for reflection essays

an effective one will take into account

three basic elements first you need to

speak to your experience both past and

present your knowledge past and present

and then finally how these two ideas

combine to create your idea of self the

idea of self after all is the most

important part of a reflection essay

because it really wouldn't be very good

if you didn't talk about you as the

subject second you'll need to understand

not only expectations for the genre with

the purpose you can think of a

reflection essay is having a two-fold

purpose the first is for you as the

student and the author this is going to

help you talk to your professor about

how you're engaging in the course

materials talk about what you're

struggling with perhaps or talk about

how your previous and present

experiences are helping you to be

successful the second purpose is for

your professor they're going to read

these thinking about how you're engaging

with the course materials so be

important that you incorporate some of

the skills information and vocabulary

you've been talking about in class in

order to accomplish these goals the

strong your expectations and of course

the purpose of writing reflections Lee

you will need to use the reflective

cycle this is a five-step process that

begins with description moves to

evaluation analysis conclusions and

planning we will take the rest of the

presentation to review these five steps

in order first stop is description can

you provide the reader with something

specifically about what happened so some

of the issues I asked

to think about as a reviewing the

description part of their reflective

essay is tell me what happened what was

your role who was involved how did you

feel and what did you think you remember

to be as specific as possible with these

descriptions because the descriptive

part of a reflective essay really helps

the reader the professor usually to get

into the mindset or the shoes of the

author or you next you'll want to

evaluate the situation whatever

situation you were asked to write on

reflectively you should be able to judge

it was it a good or bad experience and

what was good or what was bad about it

by evaluating it you're showing your

reader that you have critical thinking

skills and that you're able to make

judgment calls on even your experiences

and actions next is analysis how can you

make sense of the situation in writing

you don't want just write to write you

want to be able to really get into those

critical thinking moments so what did

you learn from it how do you feel about

now did it change you how these kind of

questions are going to really help you

to understand the situation and

articulate that understanding to your

professor who's really invested in

knowing not only about what happened but

why when and how it did next you're

going to talk about conclusions what

alternatives did you have or what else

because you have done there's really two

ways to tackle the conclusion part of

writing reflectively the first way is

talk about at the time if I would have

done this at the time or if I would have

said that at the time if I would have

acted immediately or if I would have

acted immediately those are all ways you

can tackle this confusion question the

other way you can tackle it is right now

now that you have some hindsight now

that you're looking back at the

situation with more depth more details

more experience and more knowledge how

could you have done it a little

differently would you have done it

differently how so why not these are all

great questions to help you tackle that

conclusion peace finally you're going to

want to talk about your plan what would

you do if it happened again so what new

knowledge do you have what new skills

could you apply and one your resource

do you possess in this part of the

reflection essay it is going to be

crucial for you to incorporate some of

the class vocabulary terms theories

skills and other ideas of information

presented during the course this is

really going to show your professor that

not only are you able to write

reflectively that you're able to really

synthesize that information so your

xsplit displaying that only

problem-solving and critical thinking

but synthesis which is key to really

writing reflectively finally I'd like us

to end with a little bit of a practice

so what better way to think about

reflective writing to learn about it

than to actually do it so take the next

five minutes to reflect on your last

piece of writing using all five elements

of reflective writing pause the video

and write wonderful work students I'm

sure you've knocked it out of the park

as long as you kept on to those five key

components you'll never go wrong okay

that's it for this brief video tutorial

on how to write a reflection essay if

you have assignment specific questions

please make sure you reach out to the

professor they're happy and willing to

help you if you have some writing

questions please seek out your campus

resources either the professors that

you've had previously in your writing

classes your student tutors or of course

the Writing Center thank you all and

enjoy those writing pieces