Reflective Journaling

The use of a reflective journal and self-evaluative tools encourage student engagement in reflective practice. Student can write their feelings down and analyse their actions, as well as make future action plans for improvement.

Here are some general strategies for promoting active reflection and self-evaluation:

  • create time for planned reflection
  • use "How?" rather than "Why?" reflections
  • provide tools for reflective practice (reflective worksheets)
    encourage use of different modalities (writing, drawing, verbal sharing of thoughts, feelings and responses)
  • promote learning through cyclical reflection (link meaningful learning experiences with the student's learning goals)
  • ask leading questions that encourage descriptive responses
  • ask the student to provide an assessment of their own performance before you provide comment.

Other processing techniques that are useful including the following approaches:

Three-Column Processing is a useful method for processing events that stand out in your mind at the end of each day or week.  To use this technique divide your paper into three columns labelled Actions, Thoughts and Feelings. In the Actions column you record each action taken by you or others during the key event. Record only those things you saw or heard.  Then, in the second column record beside each of the actions what your thoughts were at the time. Now review this list and try to recall what your feelings were at the time and record this in the third column beside each of the corresponding actions and thoughts.

SOAP Notes is a four-column processing alternative which involves dividing your reflections into four categories: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan.

DART Notes offers yet another option.  It begins with Description in which you describe the individuals and situation. In the Assessment step you discuss the who, what, and where, but not the how or why. In the Response section you record as completely and accurately as possible what you did during the session or incident.  Finally you discuss thoughts about the Treatment.

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