Reflective Writing: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Why Use Reflective Writing?
  • 0:19 Reflective Writing: Definition
  • 1:00 Reflective Writing Examples
  • 3:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kamshia Childs

Dr. Childs has had a career in Education for thirteen years. She has 11 years of experience teaching grades 4-8, and presently works in Higher Education. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, and a Master's and Doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction (Reading and Language Arts).

This lesson will define and explain ways in which reflective writing can enhance learning, as well as present examples of how to use reflective writing in day to day life.

Why Use Reflective Writing?

Have you ever read something and did not remember or could not relate to what you read? Have you ever watched a movie and wished that you could rewrite it? Move beyond taking notes about what you have read or seen and use reflective writing as a means to spark creativity and form your own ideas and opinions.

Reflective Writing: Definition

When given an assignment to write an essay or summarize a piece of literature, you are often limited in personal response and opinions. If you are looking for a different point of view when analyzing, you might try reflective writing.

Reflective writing is writing that is formal or informal about a subject matter after it has been presented in literature or other media, using emotions, memories or thoughts. Reflective writing is often used as a reaction to what has been read or to pull knowledge from a specific event, piece of literature or lesson that has been presented. It can be used to determine key points or to form new ideas about a subject. Reflective writing is a key strategy that can help improve writing by making thoughts more developed and precise, as well as enhance critical thinking.

Reflective Writing Examples

Though reflective writing is often related to literature, there are many examples and uses for reflective writing in many subjects and various scenarios, not simply for classroom or academic purposes. However, in this lesson, we will focus strictly on using reflective writing for responding to literature and print material. The following are methods and examples that are types of reflective writing.

Quick writes are an example of reflective writing that need a rapid response, or writing that is done with very little planned thoughts. Quick writes are usually done as a pre-writing activity or as a response to a lesson, and are a short, usually timed, reaction to material presented. Example: An instructor says, 'Class we have just read the play, Romeo and Juliet, please write an alternative ending to the play. You have ten minutes to complete the writing task.'

A planned response is where a written response is given to specific topics or pieces of literature, and usually describes a central theme or the main points. Reflective essays are an example of this. They could be written about one chapter, an article or section, or an entire book. Example: Your college instructor has asked you to read the transcript of a famous politician's speech. The task given is to write the main themes or mood of the speech and convey the major points in essay form. Think about putting the emotions and themes of Abraham's Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in your own words. Reflective writing is not always easy!

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