The reflective essay


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A quick introduction to reflective writing for Standard Grade, Intermediate 2 and Higher.

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The reflective essay

  1. 1. The Reflective Essay Mr Connor’s Class
  2. 2. “ Erm… What is a reflective essay?” <ul><li>Reflective means looking back upon, so most of this will be in the past tense, except when you talk about how it has influenced you as you are now. </li></ul><ul><li>You are expected to use all your skills of description. </li></ul><ul><li>You must explain you thoughts and feelings at every stage. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to show and not tell . This is tricky… </li></ul>
  3. 3. Topics <ul><li>A death </li></ul><ul><li>A marriage </li></ul><ul><li>A birth </li></ul><ul><li>An argument </li></ul><ul><li>A piece of music </li></ul><ul><li>A book </li></ul><ul><li>An inspirational person </li></ul><ul><li>A difficult situation you have been through </li></ul><ul><li>A significant event in your life </li></ul>
  4. 4. Task One <ul><li>Choose the subject of your reflective piece of writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember it doesn’t have to be true… </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you can write about it at length. </li></ul>
  5. 5. “Where do I begin?” <ul><li>Break the piece into distinct sections and mindmap each section. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing the instruments as a child. </li></ul><ul><li>Sitting a Higher music exam. </li></ul><ul><li>Receiving a trombone for Christmas (aged 10). </li></ul><ul><li>Performing in an orchestra for the first time. </li></ul>
  6. 6. “Which bit do I start with?” <ul><li>You can keep it chronological , or use flashbacks , or even tell it in reverse order , tracing the event back to the start. </li></ul><ul><li>I personally prefer to start with an older memory and gradually work my way forward to show how it has affected me as an adult. </li></ul><ul><li>Some people like to begin at a moment of tension, then intersperse flashbacks. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Task Two <ul><li>Write down five key sections for you to write about. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of them like scenes in a film. </li></ul><ul><li>Write a number next to each to show the order you’re going to write them in. </li></ul><ul><li>Mindmap each of these sections. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Attention! <ul><li>You must go SLOWLY. </li></ul><ul><li>The real achievement in reflective writing is in explaining thoughts and feelings. </li></ul><ul><li>The plot of the story is almost secondary. </li></ul><ul><li>Detail is king! </li></ul>
  9. 9. “ So, what do I write on the page first?” <ul><li>As an opening try to focus on a single event and explore and describe it as fully as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Similes, metaphors, imagery, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>It is good to keep the focus small at the beginning to really draw your audience in. </li></ul><ul><li>You can expand on it later if need be. </li></ul>
  10. 10. For example… <ul><li>“ A four year old girl stood outside the music shop, staring intently at the window. Her tiny fingers pressed like plasticine against the glass and her breath misted it in front of her face. Her bright eyes slowly moved from one instrument to another, each one seeming magical in its shape and beauty: a sunburst-coloured guitar; a luxurious dark brown violin; a smooth, golden instrument with buttons, valves and tubes… a trombone…” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Task Three <ul><li>Write your first section. </li></ul><ul><li>Take your time. </li></ul><ul><li>Use as much description as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Use as many thoughts and feelings as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of your five senses. </li></ul>