Throughout your years in school, you will surely be tasked to write a whole bunch of reflective essays. Thus, it is important to know how to write a reflective essay. Reflective essays can be about anything-- a book that you’ve read in class, a movie or a documentary you’ve seen, a recent event, or just a personal experience you’ve had. No matter what the topic, however, reflective essays have one core similarity: it requires you to share your thoughts and perceptions on a particular subject. It allows you to voice out your personal opinions and relate a past experience or a realization you’ve had to the current issue at hand. Unlike other forms of essays such as narrative and informative papers, reflective papers do not simply require you to tell a story or give information to your readers-- it requires your personal thoughts to have the main role in your writing. Now that we have defined what reflective writing is, here are some tips on how to write a reflective essay:
- Give a background about the topic or issue at hand. First and foremost, do not forget to start your essay off with the gist of what you are reflecting on. Begin the essay with an introduction that will provide the readers information about your subject. Discuss your initial perceptions and knowledge first before delving deeper into your own personal opinions.
- Don’t hesitate to express yourself. Expressing yourself is what reflective writing is all about. A unique characteristic of a reflective essay is that you will not be expected to rely on academic information for your content, but instead, you will be expected to draw from your own ideas and perspective, so don’t hesitate to freely express yourself.
- Keep asking the important questions. To effectively reflect on your subject matter, you must always ask yourself the right questions. Ask yourself about what you currently know about your topic and where your present knowledge comes from. Develop your ideas by tracing your previous experiences that currently shape your understanding, and by doing so, you will be able to formulate a reflection on what you have learned.
- Be professionally subjective in writing. Writing reflective essays require you to be subjective, as you are expressing your personal experience and ideas, after all. However, despite this, you must not forget to observe proper spelling and grammar. Avoid using slang and abbreviations such as “LOL”, “ROFL”, and “WTH” to express your feelings. Sure, your essay is required to be personal, but it must also include a professional touch.
- Make connections to achieve a well-formed conclusion. At the end of every effective reflective essay, well-formed realizations are expected. Remember to make comparisons and connections between your previous ideas and experiences as well as your prior presumptions and expectations. Wrap it all up with your current ideas and opinions and how the topic you have reflected on challenged your past notions and views.
These pointers are all essential in learning how to write a reflective essay. Ultimately, students are tasked to write reflective papers for them to have a better and deeper understanding of what they are learning. Additionally, once students have been equipped with better understanding, they will be able to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of their thoughts and actions, allowing them to learn from their experiences and have a better and more well-informed perspective, which makes reflective essays an overall meaningful exercise.