Finally, finish your paper with a succinct conclusion that explains what you've learned. To learn how to brainstorm for your paper, keep reading! This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD. Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia.
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Learn why people trust wikiHow. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Sample Reflection Paper. Identify the main themes. These sentences should be both descriptive yet straight to the point. Jot down material that stands out in your mind. Determine why that material stands out and make another note of what you figure out.
High School Essay
For lectures or readings, you can write down specific quotations or summarize passages. For experiences, make a note of specific portions of your experience. You could even write a small summary or story of an event that happened during the experience that stands out. Images, sounds, or other sensory portions of your experience work, as well. Chart things out. In the first column, list the main points or key experiences.
These points can include anything that the author or speaker treated with importance as well as any specific details you found to be important.
How to Write a Reflection Paper
Divide each point into its own separate row. In the second column, list your personal response to the points you brought up in the first column.
Mention how your subjective values, experiences, and beliefs influence your response. In the third and last column, describe how much of your personal response to share in your reflection paper. Ask yourself questions to guide your response. If you are struggling to gauge your own feelings or pinpoint your own response, try asking yourself questions about the experience or reading and how it relates to you.
Sample questions might include: Does the reading, lecture, or experience challenge you socially, culturally, emotionally, or theologically? If so, where and how? Why does it bother you or catch your attention? Has the reading, lecture, or experience changed your way of thinking?
What Is a Good Way to Start Writing a Reflective Essay?
Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic? Does the reading, lecture, or experience leave you with any questions? Were these questions ones you had previously or ones you developed only after finishing? Did the author, speaker, or those involved in the experience fail to address any important issues? Could a certain fact or idea have dramatically changed the impact or conclusion of the reading, lecture, or experience? How do the issues or ideas brought up in this reading, lecture, or experience mesh with past experiences or readings?
Do the ideas contradict or support each other? Keep it short and sweet. A typical reflection paper is between and words long. Verify whether or not your instructor specified a word count for the paper instead of merely following this average. If your instructor demands a word count outside of this range, meet your instructor's requirements.
Introduce your expectations. For a reading or lecture, indicate what you expected based on the title, abstract, or introduction. For an experience, indicate what you expected based on prior knowledge provided by similar experiences or information from others. Develop a thesis statement. At the end of your introduction, you should include a single sentence that quickly explains your transition from your expectations to your final conclusion. A thesis provides focus and cohesion for your reflection paper.
Explain your conclusions in the body. Your body paragraphs should explain the conclusions or understandings you reached by the end of the reading, lesson, or experience. You should provide details on how you arrived at those conclusions using logic and concrete details. The focus of the paper is not a summary of the text, but you still need to draw concrete, specific details from the text or experience in order to provide context for your conclusions.
Write a separate paragraph for each conclusion or idea you developed. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This topic sentence should clearly identify your major points, conclusions, or understandings. Conclude with a summary. Your conclusion should succinctly describe the overall lesson, feeling, or understanding you got as a result of the reading or experience. The conclusions or understandings explained in your body paragraphs should support your overall conclusion. One or two may conflict, but the majority should support your final conclusion.
Reveal information wisely. A reflection paper is somewhat personal in that it includes your subjective feelings and opinions. Spend a few minutes vividly thinking or re-experiencing your subject. Example: " I went to walk along the beach today and just enjoyed the sand, water, and wind. I thought about many other beach walks I've taken, and filled my mind with memories of other beach trips. Write down everything you can think about your subject. You want to describe this subject as vividly as you can, so think about smells, tastes, noises, and tastes along with what you see.
Try to write down vivid adjectives that describe these sensory experiences. Look up sense-describing words for help. You can write these down in sentences or in phrases. Just get as much down as you can. Later, you will turn this into a paragraph. Example: "I see the roll of the waves coming in a roar up to the shore. The waves beat over and over on the beach. Each wave is the same and yet every wave is unique. I saw the sun covered by a cloud which reflected the light so that rays spread out in all directions. The salt smell of the spray felt fresh and clean. The cool foam of the edge of the wave covered my feet as they sank down in the sand.
I walked along swinging my sandals in one hand. I took pictures of the sand, the gulls, the waves, then embarrassed, I took a selfie of myself against the ocean waves. Read through the list of reflection questions below and select at least three you want to answer. Example: "I picked the questions: What did I notice?
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What does this event mean to me? How did this place shape my life? Read your questions, then answer them. This doesn't have to be in formal essay form or in perfect sentences. You just want to get as many ideas down as possible.
A complete guide to writing a reflective essay | Oxbridge Essays
Before you can begin writing your essay, you need to decide what is the most important thing you learned from this experience. That "most important thing" will be the thesis of your paper. Example: "What I learned from this trip to the beach is that I need to remember that in the midst of being a caregiver to my mother, my husband, my five kids, my students and my friends, that I also need to care for myself and create a space for myself where I can rest and renew.
If you'd like to see the final essay I've written using the pre-writing exercises I've done for this essay, take a look at my Reflective Essay Sample on a Visit to the Beach. The following is an excerpt of my sample reflective essay. To read the essay in full, click on the link above. Even so, I sometimes forget to go there when I visit my mom. This week, I had come to take care of her during her cataract surgery.