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Self-Reflection Toolkit

Welcome to our guide to Self-Reflection and reflective writing for Warwick students.

It is designed as a general introduction, and as a resource to support you with your reflections on your Warwick Award profile. Find out more information about the Award.

This guide is organised into six sections, exploring different approaches, models, and techniques for reflection.

  • Section 1 is intended to help you understand the value of reflecting;
  • Section 2, section 3 and section 4 describe some models and techniques for reflecting;
  • Section 5 discusses how to structure your examples when writing or talking about your experience;
  • Section 6 has some advice and resources for critical reflection, which you might find useful in some academic or professional assignments.
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What is Self-Reflection?

In our Core Skills Framework, Self-Reflection is the ability to perceive and evaluate your cognitive, emotional, and behavioural processes, and set actions for development. That means learning from experience and applying those lessons. Critical reflection refers to the ability to examine personal or group experiences whilst using critical theories and methods to evaluate past actions.

What is Reflective Practice?

Reflective practice is about turning self-reflection into an activity that can be carried out in a measured way, drawing on other Core Skills including Self Awareness and Critical Thinking, and contributing to your Professionalism as a key part of professional practice.

Reflective practice was first developed in professions like social work, teaching, and nursing, to learn key lessons from practitioners’ experience that built on the ideas influencing their disciplines and informing their training. Sometimes it meant critically analysing that underlying learning or training, asking questions about how they could change and improve their practice for everyone.

Core Skills Framework

In Warwick’s Core Skills Framework, Self-Reflection and Critical Reflection are key skills for developing your Self Awareness. They are also effective techniques for consolidating what you have learned by practising any of the other Core Skills, in any experience.

You’ll also find that reflective practice is becoming more common as part of learning and assessment on many courses at Warwick. These tools are designed to help you in any situation where reflecting on your behaviour, plans, actions, decisions, and results is required.

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1. Reasons to Reflect

Including some suggestions on how to reflect and when to reflect.


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2. Reflective Practice: foundations and concepts

Dewey and reflective thinking, Kolb and Experiental Learning Theory, Schön and Reflection-in-Action.


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3. Models and Methods: Gibbs' Reflective Cycle

A practical step-by-step approach to thorough reflection, which can be used repeatedly in a cycle.


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4. Models and Methods: What? So What? Now What?

A quick and simple three-step method that asks challenging, direct questions.


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5. Describing Examples: from experience, for yourself, and for others

Ways of describing your experiences reflectively, including the STAR technique and how to structure a written reflection.


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6. Critical Reflection with Bibliography

Advice on combining reflections on your own experiences with academic and professional evidence, including further reading suggestions on reflective practice.