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What is a reflective journal?

**guidance from IATL module handbook**

REFLECTIVE JOURNALS

What is a reflective journal?

A reflective journal is an account of your work in progress, but more essentially an opportunity for reflection on the learning experience. It should provide you with a means of engaging critically and analytically with module content.

What does a reflective journal look like?

There is no right or wrong way of presenting your journal, as this should take account of personal experience, preferred learning style and your independent research focus. Some journals are electronic (more like video or written blogs), and some take a diary form with visual & written material cut and pasted (literally) into ‘scrapbooks’.

You should however:

Write in the first person. Be mindful that this journal is a public document and therefore it is important to consider the reader as you write. They were not with you on this learning journey so some context is important. Content is more important than presentation. Process & immediacy are the key words.

Your journal will be enhanced by evidence of:

Progression through a learning journey. Evaluation of new approaches experienced in the period of independent study. Teasing out assumptions underpinning practice. Critical evaluation of your own practice. Analysis of key or ‘critical’ moments from independent study, whether positive or negative, and what was learnt from them.Sensitivity to relationships with other members of the group. Taking a position and making an argument from your learning experience. Relevant reading. New understandings made from: reading, planning and or delivery, collaborative activities, the exam, the viva, and the questioning of previous assumptions.

How will your reflective journal be assessed?

Ask yourself is there evidence of:

Effective organisation and presentation of material and or evidence. Academic reading used in a relevant way to inform, support and or shape your reflections. Critical engagement with, rather than description of, the creation of your ideas, or of the term’s work; your own process; and the process of others. Evaluation of the limitations/potential of the work undertaken.Immediacy – did you reflect every time you met for discussions/rehearsals; or after each seminar?The 17-point scale criteria will broadly apply.

A very good journal will be analytical rather than descriptive; selective rather than comprehensive; based in evidence and references to wider reading; critical and cautious in the claims made; personal but not rhetorical.