How to write a reflection paper using action reflection learning model

Wondering how to write a reflection paper?

Reflections are far more than a personal journal. Writing a reflection paper should be a process of creating a time and space to be thoughtful and observant, and to consider the connection between the concepts being introduced in class to your own practice approaches. Using this tool for learning will ideally strengthen your ability to be a reflective

A number of models exist to support action reflection learning, including Kolb (1984) and Gibb (1988). You may, for example, decide to base your reflection paper on a model adapted from Kolb, which entails the following five aspects:

  • Describe an Experience
  • Reflective Observation
  • Interpreting and Naming
  • What will I do with this?
  • Commit to Action

In your assignment, you may want to write a reflection that is tied to the key themes covered in your class. The following outline and questions provide a framework for reflection and structuring your writing so you can understand how to write a reflection paper.

In this paper, be sure to address each of the overarching reflection categories. Within each category, you do not need to address every question – some will be more pertinent than others at any given point in time.
Consult the course Grading Rubric to help ensure that you have adequately addressed each area.

Describe an Experience

As you have completed the readings, participated in the class discussions, and thought about your own practice experiences over the past weeks; what have you found yourself thinking more about?

Your reflections will be tied to your experience. This might, for example, be related to something that a client raised that surprised you, or an interaction with a colleague that had significant impact. If this area of practice is new to you, you may wish to consider the client stories (videos) that have been shared in class or even personal experiences.

  • Don’t attempt to describe the whole experience, but choose one or more aspects to delve into more carefully.
  • What were you thinking about?
  • What really stands out as significant or meaningful?
  • What surprised you?
  • What new insight occurred?

Reflective Observation

Considering the experience, describe it more fully in terms of your thinking, feeling and noticing. Some of the following may help:

  • Why were you surprised?
  • What was difficult or easy?
  • How do you understand that this was the case for you?
  • What were the tensions for you? Others?
  • What prior assumptions/ ideas/ skills were affirmed? Challenged or unsettled?
  • What habits of thoughts, values, beliefs, and judgements were at play
  • How were these revealed in your reactions?

Interpreting and Naming

What conclusions or meaning do you draw from this experience? (about yourself personally or professionally, about the topic or theme)

What connections can you make to the course reading materials and lectures?

What theory, model, research findings, or other knowledge, help you to further understand the experience?

Integration: what will you do with this?

How can you test what you learned?

What skills/attitudes/knowledge would you like to further strengthen or develop? How might you go about this?

What barriers or supports might hinder/help? What readings/research or other resources would deepen your understanding?

What are the implications of NOT taking some action with this learning?

Overall, what one thing did you learn that you want to carry with you in your future practice?

Commit to Transformative Action

What does this experience teach you about the broader social context and structures with respect to palliative care?

What changes need to be made to provide high quality palliative care for all?

What action might you take to make a difference, in your own practice, advocacy, etc.?

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