Students at high school or undergraduate level are often assigned the task of writing reflective and, more often than not many people struggle in it. The purpose of this article is to make these writing essay assignments easy for you by guiding students how they should go about writing such essays. For the sake of simplicity, we shall focus only on reflective essay so far as this article is concerned.
So, what exactly writing a reflective essay entails? Well, as the title suggests it basically demands you to discuss personal insights about the topic you have been assigned by the instructor or the topic you have chosen yourself. One could also think of a reflective essay as a tool for self-assessment since they demand a unique perspective from you which you state by reflecting on different experiences of your life.
The task of writing a reflective essay is not confined only to writing and communication class, mind you and one has to be prepared for this essay in any course. Students could even be asked to write this essay after completing some sort of a project just to find out the views and perspective of students.
Since, this essay is about writing personal insights so students must be able to pass along their beliefs or experiences in a very comprehensive manner so that the readers are able to get the complete idea of what you are talking about. You will often have to incorporate your personal observations in a reflective essay. So, the whole trick is to convey in manner that is understandable and effective at the same time. Sometimes you could also be asked by your instructors to provide evidentiary examples to support all the claims that you have asserted in your reflective essay. In order to do this, you will need to do extensive research on the topic at hand. A good idea would be to search all well-known journals and databases before formulating your own arguments.
Share your point of view
Just to reiterate, writing this type of reflective essay requires that students share their personal insight. In other words, the essay should be a complete reflection of what you think regarding a certain topic and it should not convey the point of view of others. To support your reflections, you are encouraged to provide references and other related stuff.
So there are different genres of essays and the genre of reflective essay is quite different from others in several ways. First of all, this genres demands that you share your own perspective and not someone other’s. You could be asked to write a reflective essay on a wide array of topics. Revise your essay in the end to make sure there are no mistakes.
Ask some fundamental questions
Another aspect about the question of how to write a reflective essay is that this essay basically serves the purpose of a personal journal where you write down your personal thoughts and perspectives about the issue at hand. Sometimes, students are asked to write a reflection paper or essay about a particular book or documentary. The reflection essay could be on anything. In addition to the question of how to write a reflective essay there are few more questions which you must ask yourself before starting your assignment.
For instance, you will want to jot down your personal feeling about the topic you have been assigned for reflection paper. You will also want to know whether this topic affects you in any manner or not. These are some very fundamental questions that you need to address right in the beginning.
Your personal opinion matters
The unique aspect which sets this essay apart from other essays is the fact that you do not need to seek facts when writing this type of essay. Instead, your personal insights are more valuable than the facts of the documentary or movie of which you are writing your reflection essay. These are some of the things worth keeping in mind when you have a question of how to write a reflective essay.
Prepare a brief outline of the reflection paper
When preparing an outline, number the paragraphs and write a thesis statement under each one of them. The next bit is to state all the academic journals or websites that you are going to use under each of these paragraphs. Now the next part is to write an introduction of the reflection paper. Some students often write the introductory section of the essay after they have written the complete essay. So, what is the right way? Basically, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here. There are benefits of writing the introduction in the end but whatever works for you.
Avoid generalizations in the introduction
It is highly advised that you start the introduction by informing the reader about the topic of your reflection paper in a very interesting manner. It is worth pausing here for a moment to discuss a common mistake which students often make when writing this part of the essay. You are strongly advised not to use any vague statements in this section of the essay. In fact, this is one of the tip which you should bear in mind writing any assignment.
At the end of your introduction, you will state the thesis statement of the overall essay. This is the statement in which the task is to make the reader aware of the striking observation which your essay is all about. You will make your stance clear in this statement.
A lot of emphasis has been put into writing a good introduction of any sort of essay. Despite this, a large number of students suffer writing this. If you are one of those people then now is the time to try something new. It would be a good idea to write the introduction of the essay once you have completed other sections of the essay just to check. You will also want to follow above tips if you want to start your essay with a good introduction.
Keep it formal
You must never forget the fact that this is still an assignment and you should always ensure that you keep it formal as much as possible. In addition to that, the instructor basically wants to gauge your critical reasoning. So, the language you use in your essay should be proper and formal English. Often the word limit of this kind of essay is decided by the instructor. Therefore, it is imperative for you to be aware of the word limit of the essay before you start typing it.
Use descriptive language
Another common tip which professional writers advise in writing reflection essay is the frequent usage of descriptive language. Usually, this is discouraged in other genres of essays but this is not the case with reflection essay. It is due to the fact that you are describing personal experience and details will make the readers aware of what part of the experience is more important to you. These are some of the tips which could definitely assist in writing a reflection essay.
One could find a plethora of tips and suggestions on the internet and in this article for writing a reflective essay. They are certainly very important and you should heed them but there is another thing which is as important. You should always know what the instructor aspects from you. This, obviously, would require a student to actually talk to the instructor few times in his or her office. So, what are you waiting for?