Writing a reflection: Definition & 5 Steps (+ Sample Text)
If you want to write a reflection, you can follow our guide. This writing a reflection article is the best for you. In addition to all the essential facts on the topic, we have explained to you with the help of a sample text what you have to consider & how to write a reflection paper example.
There are many occasions to write a reflection – whether for an internship, a presentation, group work, or another teaching model, as a trainee teacher, teacher, pupil, or student. Many people also write a self-reflection in private to work on themselves. We have everything you need to know about reflection, the structure at a glance, and a guide with sample text.
In the following, you will first find a definition of what a reflection is and what you can use it for. Then we clarify the spelling, as the term “reflection” is still very common despite the incorrect spelling. You will also learn the goals and, at the same time, the advantages of reflection and how it differs from self-reflection.
Definition: what a reflection is
Definition: what a reflection is
The noun “reflection” comes from the Latin “reflexive,” which means “to bend back,” “to throwback,” or “to reflect.” It occurs in different areas. For example, in physics, as the light reflection of a reflective surface or in the field of programming as a term for determining program properties about their runtime. We often come across the term in education as a term for thinking about a certain issue, a topic, or concrete experiences.
This type of reflection can be done either in writing or orally. It is a mental reflection or a critical and constructive ‘reviewing’ to better understand a situation and learn from it. It can be helpful for students after an internship or class, for example.
Prospective teachers often write reflections in their clerkship after class to improve. There is also the so-called self–reflection, with which one should look at and question one’s behavior to arrive at self-knowledge, but more on that later.
Spelling: reflection or reflection
It is often assumed that the terms “reflection” and “reflection” exist and have different meanings. It is because we know the terms “reflect” and “reflector” (for example, on a bicycle). However, the truth is that the variant with “k,” the “reflection,” does not even exist. If something is “reflected” and one wants to talk about the effect, one can speak of “reflecting” or “reflection.” Only the noun with “x” is correct in German spelling.
Objectives of a reflection
A reflection is helpful in every way. It prevents you from encountering a situation with the same mistakes as before and ensures you learn from it. Either you can reflect on your behavior and learn to improve yourself or think about solutions to better deal with the behavior of others. It is always important to know that you cannot control the behavior of others and that you will learn for yourself how you can best deal with the given situation. Thus we come to the following goals of a reflection:
- Solving problems / solution-oriented thinking
- Self-knowledge ( character traits, way of thinking)
- Training the ability to question things
- Learn to express feelings and thoughts
- Train to make decisions
- Train structured and analytical thinking
- Learn to accept foreign behavior
- For reflections on lessons: a deeper understanding of the subject matter and encouragement of the learning process through follow-up and processing
Difference: writing self-reflection
A self-reflection relates only to one’s behavior. In the area of upbringing, for example, this can be your upbringing methods. As a student, you can reflect on your participation in the classroom or the mastering of the tasks in the internship. Such self-reflection usually takes place in writing.
Many people also use regular self-reflection as a method to improve their self-awareness. This kind of reflection can take place purely mentally in the form of meditation or in writing in a diary. In any case, the goals of self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-improvement pursue.
Writing a self-reflection takes time, patience, understanding of yourself, regularity, and the will to work on yourself. The difference to reflection is that this includes the overall situation and the overall behavior of those involved and not mainly one’s behavior, as is the case with self-reflection. However, most of the time, the ‘normal’ reflection is also used for one’s knowledge or as feedback for the teacher.
Formal and structure of a reflection
A reflection usually writes in the first person. Besides, it is common that sub-headings use to detect the respective core of the section. Often many points can illuminate individually. The headings ensure that you keep track of things.
Sections and paragraphs also show you which aspect of this situation seems to have preoccupied you: the longer the text passage, the more intense a reflection was necessary. The common tenses of a reflection are the past tense or perfect tense since you are looking back on something in the past. However, if you talk about the topicality of your topic or look to the future, the present and future tense are, of course, also suitable.
In the following, we have created a small overview for you of how the structure of a reflection can roughly look. Depending on the area in which you are writing the reflection, you can focus on different aspects. After the overview, you’ll find a detailed guide on how to write a reflection.
1st introductory sentence:
- Most important key data at a glance (date, place, participants, description of the situation)
- Summary of the situation (extension of the introductory sentence, important information)
- If necessary, presentation of the project
- Description of goals
- Key question: Which problems should solve with the help of reflection?
3rd main part:
- Reflection on the situation (feelings, reasons for decisions, personal and external behavior, fulfillment or non-fulfillment of expectations)
- Presentation of achieved and not achieved goals
- Key questions: How do I understand the situation in retrospect? What do I understand better now, and what questions are still open?
- Own assessment of the situation (suggestions for improvement for the future, criticism, own skills and difficulties)
- Key question: What did I learn from the situation through reflection?
5th final sentence:
- Final sentence with a view to the future (name the most important finding of the reflection and significance for the future)
Writing a reflection: guidelines + sample text
I am writing a reflection: guidelines + sample text.
If you want to write a reflection, you have to focus on the area and topic. For example, reviewing group work at school is more geared towards analyzing behavior, while reflecting on a lesson is more focused on the method. With a project or an internship, things look different again.
We have created a guide for you in which we briefly explain what you have to do under each point. As an example to illustrate this, we have come up with the following situation: A student asks to write a reflection on group work in class. This example is quite abstract and only intended as a guide.
The opening sentence always includes the most important information at a glance. It includes the date or time to which your reflection relates, who was involved, and a brief description of the situation or project. So the reader knows what it is about.
Even if you are writing the reflection just for yourself, it is helpful to know what it is about right from the start. If there are many participants, dividing them into one or more groups instead of naming them all makes sense. Also, sometimes it’s better to anonymize everyone involved.
The following reflection is about group work in German lessons in class 9b, in which our group of four was supposed to analyze the poem “The Blue Flower” (1818) by Joseph von Eichendorff.
A situation, a project, an internship, a lesson plan, or any topic describes in the introduction. Give here all the important information that could be important for later reflection in the main part. Also, describe the goals that should be achieved with the situation and state the reason for your reflection. An important key question here is: Which problems should solve with the help of reflection?
Our teacher, Ms. Muster, gave us a worksheet that the four of us shared. The poem was depicted on it, and underneath it read: Analyze and discuss the poem “The Blue Flower” by Joseph von Eichendorff. What is the poem about, which rhetorical means it uses, and which epoch does the poem belong to? Justify your answers, take notes and present your results to the class afterward. The group work aimed to use the advantages of the group so that we can achieve more results faster and learn to work together as a team. The reflection aims to understand whether this has been successful.
The main part of a reflection
In the main part, you reflect on the situation. State your assessment, feelings and justify your decisions. Besides, it should be made clear here whether the goal or the expectations were met or not. It is best to divide the aspects by headings to think about every important point in a structured manner. The key questions are: How do I understand the situation in retrospect? What do I understand better now, and what questions are still open?
Handling only one worksheet
First, we read through the poem one by one. While one student was still reading, the other had already discussed the poem. This meant that the person could not have a say because a lot had already been saying. In addition, he did not notice anything already discussed because he was busy reading.
I would find it more helpful if we all read the poem to ourselves next time, think about it quietly, take notes, and only exchange ideas. It would have been even better if the teacher had given each of us a worksheet so we could read and take notes at the same time. But I understand the approach to why we were only given one sheet of paper: We learn to be considerate of one another and take turns.
I can confirm that we got results faster than usual in the group, and talking about the poem gave us new ideas. The other students recognized stylistic devices that I did not see at first sight, and, especially with the overall understanding, it helped to interpret together and talk about the metaphors. In any case, this goal has been achieved.
Splitting up the notes and presenting the results
Since we no longer thought of presenting the results to the class when interpreting the poem, we did not split up who said what. The result was a jumble of individual notes that everyone made during the conversation. Therefore, some of the students in the group said almost nothing and the others almost everything. A fair distribution would be important for the next group work so that nobody feels disadvantaged or bad.
End of a written reflection
In the end, you conclude the overall situation and give suggestions for improvement for the future. Talk about your skills and the positive aspects and your weaknesses and points that you still need to work on. The central question of this passage of your reflection is: What did I learn from the situation with the help of the reflection?
Overall, the group work was a good idea. We got results faster and found out more than if we had worked alone. However, we also have to practice paying more attention to one another in a group so that no one neglect. A worksheet is more important to everyone than practicing how to use just one sheet of paper.
The final sentence should finally highlight your most important insight and direct your gaze positively towards the future. You can also write two or three sentences at this point if necessary.
I have learned to take better care of my group members for the future. Also, I now know that I have more fun learning in a team than alone and that it doesn’t matter whether I’m in a group with my friends or with other classmates I know less well.