© University of Southampton 2009 4
Some techniques to aid the process of reflection and reflective writing Assignment 3 in IPLU1 week B requires you to be both analytical and reflective. The Oxford Dictionary says that reflection refers to calm, lengthy and intent consideration, contemplation or musing. Essentially reflection is focused thinking of an evaluative type. Reflection involves being honest with yourself about your previous ignorance and your new learning, however enlightening or hard it was to face.
Much reflective thinking takes place in your head. Few of us have time to go and write it down, though reflective journals are excellent practice and used widely by professionals and people generally to help them muster their thoughts and feelings and move forward in their life and profession. Recognising that you are reflecting is a useful realisation. New situations tend to make us self-aware and we become reflective and self-evaluative. In time we move out of the conscious incompetence stage and move into that unconscious competence that allows us to get on with what we do best not always aware of why or how we do it, rather like a competent driver.
Questions are the key to reflection. You may well have found yourself reflecting-in-action as you experienced working in the team. Some people are good at recognising that they are reflecting, asking themselves questions such as ‘What’s really going on here?’ and evaluating as they go along.
Some useful questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your work, your placements, your experiences of IPL weeks:
• What would I do differently next time?
• What have I learned about myself from this experience?
• Could I avoid this situation another time?
• What am I not facing up to in this situation?
• What other choices do I have?
• What would happen if I did nothing?
• What haven’t I asked that I should ask?
• What do I hope to achieve by doing that?
• What do I feel about this new information?
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