Reflective essay refers to an essay wherein the writer evaluates his/her experiences in life. The writer through the essay communicates how the experiences helped them to change their views, attitude and beliefs on certain things and how it helped them to develop or grow from the learnings. The reflective essay used in the academic courses follow a specific structure provided by the institution whereas the reflective essay for agencies or magazines do not follow any specific structure. Unlike narrative essay the reflective essay does not stop at writing the experience and the feelings the writer had about the experience but it also includes the information of why the writer felt that way. Free essays and sample essays available on the internet can guide the students and the new writers and provide them an idea on what to include in the essay. Reflective essays include content, which critically analysis the experiences. Reflective essay enables the writer to sharpen critical thinking skills.
Outline of the Reflective Essay
The reflective essay includes introduction, body and conclusion. The essay starts with an introduction where the writer puts forth his direct or indirect views about the experiences and provides overall focus of the reflective essay. The introduction provided by many writers provides direct reference to what experience he/she will talk about in the main body. The main body includes the explanation of the experiences of the writer and how it brought difference in his/her life. The body includes the things, which made the writer to change his beliefs, attitude and approach. The writer in a reflective essay shares the experiences by providing adequate examples to support his/her view about how the experience impacted them. The writer should critically analyze one’s own strengths and weaknesses from the experiences and the learnings. The writer should include the skills and knowledge that have been strengthened by the experience. The reflective essay should also include some examples of how the previous experience helped in bringing positive changes in life and share some incidents, which helped in resolving the incident. The reflective essay should include content, which explains the reason for arriving at certain conclusions. The writer should be consistent with his/her thoughts and start every idea in a new paragraph. The conclusion of the reflective essay should briefly restate the main insight and how the experiences has influenced the writer for personal growth. The conclusion can also include the plan on how he/she would bring the changes in their approach and efforts based on the learnings from the experience in future. The conclusion can also include brief about knowledge and experience gained by the writer in future jobs, classes and relationships in personal and professional life. Reflective essays should have a clear expression of the experiences and the views, which the readers can understand. The flow of the experiences should be well-structured so that the reader can understand the experiences of the writer and its influence on him/her and the learnings from the experience. The writer through reflective essay can learn and improvise one’s own behavior and approach towards various aspects of life.
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