What is self reflection?
Self reflection is like looking into a mirror and describing what you see. It is a way of assessing yourself, your ways of working and how you study. To put it simply ‘reflection’ means to think about something. Reflecting and composing a piece of self reflective writing is becoming an increasingly important element to any form of study or learning.
Why is self reflection important?
Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.
In any role, whether at home or at work, reflection is an important part of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish didn’t work the first time would you? You would either adjust the recipe or find a new and, hopefully, better one. When we learn we can become stuck in a routine that may not be working effectively. Thinking about your own skills can help you identify changes you might need to make.
Reflective questions to ask yourself:
- Strengths – What are my strengths? For example, am I well organised? Do I remember things?
- Weaknesses – What are my weaknesses? For example, am I easily distracted? Do I need more practise with a particular skill?
- Skills – What skills do I have and what am I good at?
- Problems – What problems are there at work/home that may affect me? For example, responsibilities or distractions that may impact on study or work.
- Achievements – What have I achieved?
- Happiness – Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about? What makes me happy?
- Solutions – What could I do to improve in these areas?
Although self reflection can seem difficult at first, or even selfish or embarrassing, as it does not come naturally. you will find it becomes easier with practise and the end result could be a happier and more efficient you.
Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.
View the examples
View Sample Reflective Essay #1
View Sample Reflective Essay #2
Want to become a better writer?
CI's Student Writing web site has how-to videos, writing samples for different subjects, and many other resources to help with your writing.
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