Reflective journals

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Definition of Reflective journals

A reflective journal is a personal record of student’s learning experiences. It is a space where a learner can record and reflect upon their observations and responses to situations, which can then be used to explore and analyse ways of thinking. Journals, although generally written, can also contain images, drawings and other types of reference materials.

Purpose of Reflective journals

A reflective journal is a means for learners to reflect on their learning and learning experiences in different ways. They are used to:

  • record the development of learners’ ideas and insights and / or those of a group in a given context and can include concepts, ideas and main points from experience and theory;
  • reflect upon the subject content and personal experiences as a means to increase learners’ understanding;
  • analyse learning process for self development.

Usage of Reflective journals

Reflective journals are used to explore situations from a personal perspective, but generally within the context of learning from students’ own experiences. They are used to reflect on, in and for action. Common questions arising from 'reflection' are:

  • What happened? (Reflecting on actions)
  • Why did it happen? (Reflecting in actions)
  • What can be learnt from this for future actions? (Reflecting for actions)