The four steps for reflective writing listed by Penn State university are a useful starting point. Particularly What happened? What might this mean? and What implications are there for future practice? In the forum Janet Moreland posted some guidelines taken from Allan, H. J. (2008) ‘Assessment tool for reflective practice’, for the Royal College of Surgeons (unpublished) (updated 2009). These include points such as ‘Links made between theory and practical application are thorough and well supported from both curriculum and literature’ and ‘Assumptions of others and of self are examined and discussed in relation to future development’. It is difficult to specify generalised criteria to be assessed for reflective writing as assessment criteria are specific to the course rather that the style of assessment used. However I do think it is possible to provide guidelines help people develop their reflective learning skills. The following guidelines are based on my own experience of reflective writing for assessment;
- Have clear questions to answer in your writing
- Question any assumptions made
- Include both sides of any argument, and specify which side you agree with, even if that means saying you are not sure.
- Clearly identify links between what you are reflecting on and other resources from the curriculum, any resources outside the curriculum and the experiences of yourself or others
- Don’t be afraid to combine the ideas and theories of others to come up with something new.
- Don’t be afraid to constructively criticise theories proposed throughout the curriculum, but make sure these criticisms are backed up with evidence.
- Plan you writing so all the points are in a logical order.