Reflective Essay Writing Help
A reflective essay can be defined as an evaluation of an event or school project. Most teachers do not teach how to write a reflective essay because this type of essay is normally used to get a students’ feedback about the project or about an event that took place in their life. Most often you are asked to write reflective essays after summer break to get back into learning, writing, and evaluating. Teachers also ask for reflective essays after a project or unit. Writing the essay helps you to evaluate and reflect on what you might have learned, what you are still confused about, and what you might still want to learn.
Often times, a reflective essay is assigned after a milestone or a college class. There are many teachers that believe if you reflect on your learning experiences you will remember the information/learning experience better. Reflective essays are also assigned to people who are applying for college. Many college applications will ask you to write a reflective essay on a life altering experience. The college will then use it to evaluate what type of person you are, how well rounded you might be, and if you are the type of person that will fit in and do well at their college.
Many teachers will assign a reflective essay on topics such as summer vacation, a book you might have read, a person in history or your life, or learning experience. All subjects, all life experiences, and all learning experiences can be turned into a reflective essay. But when you are writing a reflective essay it is important to remember it is not an informational essay. Informational essays are designed to relay information; whereas, a reflective essay is designed for you to reflect and evaluate.
What Should a Reflective Essay Contain?
When you are writing a reflective essay you should ensure you explain why you are writing the essay on this topic.
A reflective essay should contain your views on the topic, before the experience you are writing about, so that you can reflect on how they were confirmed or changed.
Another important thing about writing a reflective essay is that it should observe and discuss what the negative and positive sides of your learning experience were. You can’t write only about the positive sides.
For example, if you are writing a reflective essay on your chemistry experiment it is important that you tell the reader what went right in the experiment, and what went wrong or caused difficulties. More important, you may suggest what to do to improve this experiment or make the assignment clearer, which will really be a valuable reflection.
Remember you are writing a reflective essay to reflect on the project. If you did not consider how to make your science experiment better you would not have completely reflected on the experience. If the project is a group project, make sure your reflective essay contains examples of your cooperation with the other group members, and you discuss the way you distributed and performed the tasks.
Although you are writing a reflective essay primarily about your thoughts and opinions, sometimes you will also need to back up your opinions with facts from your life and refutable sources. When you are including your sources to show your points and opinions are valid, you need to be careful that you are not writing in an informative essay format. You should make your point and then give a brief sentence about what other peer reviewed evidence agrees or disagrees with you. By adding evidence to reflective essay you will validate your points and illustrate your points more clearly.
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Reflective Essay Structure
When teachers create assignments for their students they normally create a rubric to go with the assignment. If you don’t know what a rubric is it can be described as a guideline for you to see how the teacher will be grading you on your reflective essay/class assignment. Although reflective essays have no defined format they still have guidelines and rubric according to which they are evaluated.
- As any other essay a reflective essay should contain a clear beginning called introduction. In the introduction you will need to ensure that you state your topic, with a strong thesis statement, and hint at what side you might be taking. A reflective essay introduction should necessarily contain your views on the topic before the experience, or your expectations from it.
- The body of the reflective essay should contain your main ideas and points. Each paragraph should be devoted to a different aspect of your learning experience. Many teachers want to see at least one main idea with two supporting details in each of your body paragraphs. At the end of each paragraph you will need to connect your thoughts back to how the experience influence your findings or what you learned.
- The conclusion of your reflective essay should contain a reworked thesis statement, all of the main ideas in the body of the essay, and a concluding thought. In a reflective essay you need to make sure your reader knows where you stand on the issue. There is no need to hint at your opinion about the topic you need to state it clearly.