Reflective essays are often handed out to students, as assignments, after they complete an important project. Or if they are younger students, like in high school or middle school, then probably after they are back from a vacation or an important school trip. In this article, we will explore what a reflective essay is and also some tips that may help you to write one of your own. Combine these with your writing skills, and you have the recipe for a perfect reflective essay!
What is a Reflective Essay
Let's begin with the basics. What exactly is a reflective essay? A reflective essay is that form of essay writing which makes the writer think and 'reflect' on his experience pertaining to the topic that has been given to him or her. It does not involve too much research, as the crux of this type of essay is to write exactly what you feel about a certain topic or issue. As opposed to persuasive essays, which require you to study a topic in depth, you may need to have just very basic knowledge of the facts and figures related to the topic you're going to be writing about. But that is one of the most initial phases of reflective essay writing.
Since the essay involves personal experience, you'll definitely have, at least, the rudimentary knowledge about the topic. Generally, reflective essays are used as an assessment mechanism, for both, students, as well as the teachers, and sometimes even the administration. So, the next time you are asked to write a reflective essay, you know that you must voice your opinions, no matter how bizarre they might seem to others. It is your platform to express your views. And that is the basic point of writing a reflective essay after all.
How to Write an Effective Reflective Essay
In this section of the article, we will give you some tips for writing a good reflective essay. They will give you an idea of what exactly the format and structure should be.
Format and Structure
A reflective essay is different from any other form of essay writing only in its content. Otherwise, it follows the same basic format and structure of introduction, body, and conclusion. Here, we will see what exactly you should write in the introduction, body, and conclusion respectively.
Introduction: Just like any other essay, the introduction of a reflective essay, too, is the most important part of the essay. It is on the basis of this that the reader will decide if he or she should go ahead and read the entire essay. In the introduction, you must state the topic you're going to write on and the reason you're writing on it. Also, very subtly, you can mention the slant or stand that you will be taking on that topic.
Body: Again very similar to any other essay, the body is where you go deep into the topic. In case of reflective essays, you dig deep into yourself, explore your emotions and write about everything that you felt when the incident or event was taking place. For instance, if you're writing about an art exhibit that you arranged for your school or college, you can start by writing about how you wanted to be a part of the team and how you felt when your name was announced as a member of the team to arrange the event. Then you can go on about all the small incidents, arguments, jokes, troubles, deadlines, etc., that were all a part of the whole coordination.
Take each point, dissect it meticulously, and write about how each point made you feel. If you think you could have done better or that you could have been helped better, mention that too. The key is to be absolutely honest and clear about whatever you're writing. There's absolutely no other way of writing a reflective essay.
Conclusion: In the conclusion, just like any other essay, summarize the entire essay and very briefly mention the slant or stance that you've taken on the topic. Keep your conclusion strong-worded so as to ensure maximum and prolonged retention by the reader.
One of the best tips for writing a reflective essay that can be given is to keep the language simple and the content, honest and true. Faking an opinion or an emotion is the worst way to write it because it will definitely be detected and will create an unfavorable impression in the mind of the reader. This can prove to be detrimental, so be cautious and be honest. Use these tips and you'll definitely do well.