8. Reflective writing
My approach to reflection
You may already reflect a good deal on your experiences at work but I wonder if you write them down in some form of diary, reflective blog or journal? Many of my colleagues seem to learn well and quickly sometimes through reflection but often say they have not time or need to write about their reflections. Many recent studies have shown that people who use reflective journals can benefit and learn more by writing about their experiences (Boud et al, Richardson & Maltby, 2005). It has become standard practice for students in the medical and teaching professions, for example.
You may wish to try writing about your reflections to see if this works for you. There are three ways of recording reflections for you to test during this course. Firstly, there is blog which you can use at any point to record your thoughts. Secondly, I have created a simple template you could use or adapt to record experiences with headings to prompt reflections and actions: Reflective Journal template. Finally, there is a PDR (Personal Development Record) template provided by the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development and an example of how it is used to record experiences and reflections on learning. Alternatively, you might want to use a small notebook or some combination of these to keep a permanent record. I use a notebook and a blog on my lPad to record my reflections depending on where I am. You might want to try out each of these to see which way you prefer to record your reflections. Remember you can also include diagrams, drawings or photographs if you want to.
The important point is to try to practise regular writing in a reflective way so exploring the deeper issues and perspectives to shine a light on your experience and use if for learning. In this short course, I will give you several opportunities to use the blog or a journal to reflect on experience.
Activity 8.1 Your learning journal
Have a look the materials in the Useful Resources section at the bottom of the main page. Choose one of the recording methods mentioned above to keep your reflective notes in order (or use your own notebook if that that suits you).
Try recording some first thoughts about a recent learning experience at work in your journal- you could use the incident you described in Activity 3.1 if you wish to expand on it. You could also add some thoughts about this short course so far if you like. If you prefer to use the blog, you could use the headings from the Learning journal or PDR template to structure your posts and provide you with some prompts for reflective steps. The blog will only be available during this course, though, so you might like to keep a permanent record in a journal you create.
If you wish to, you could write a brief posting in the Chat room to share your thoughts with other students on how you prefer to keep notes. What do you make of the various ways of recording reflection? Can you see how this might be possible and helpful to you in your professional career?
From now on, use your preferred way of recording your reflections for the activities in Unit 3.
Unit 3 moves on to offering you an opportunity to look at a business scenario and practise reflective thinking and writing.
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