A possible structure

A possible structure

Reflective thinking - especially if done in discussion with others - can be very free and unstructured and still be very useful. Even reflective writing can be unstructured, for example when it is done in a personal diary. In assignments that require reflective writing tutors normally expect to see carefully structured writing. The example of basic reflective writing on the previous page can be broken down into three parts:

  • description
  • interpretation
  • outcome

  • Description: (keep this bit short!). What happened? What is being examined?
    Specific tasks were shared out amongst members of my team. Initially, however, the tasks were not seen as equally difficult by all team members.

  • Interpretation: What is most important or interesting or useful or relevant about the object, event or idea? How can it be explained, for example, with theory? How is it similar to and different from others?
    Cooperation between group members was at risk because of this perception of unfairness. Social interdependence theory recognises a type of group interaction called ‘positive interdependence’, meaning cooperation (Johnson & Johnson, 1993, cited by Maughan & Webb, 2001), and many studies have demonstrated that “cooperative learning experiences encourage higher achievement” (Maughan & Webb, 2001).

  • Outcome: What have I learned from this? What does this mean for my future?
    Ultimately, our group achieved a successful outcome, but to improve our achievement, we perhaps needed a chairperson to help encourage cooperation when tasks were being shared out. In future group work (on the course and at work), I would probably suggest this.

Creative Commons Licence
SMILE - Reflective writing by Martin Hampton, ASK, University of Portsmouth modified by Marion Kelt, GCU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/ask/resources/handouts/writtenassignments/filetodownload,73259,en.pdf.