Reflection Toolkit

Modes of reflection: specific considerations and recommendations

An overview of considerations and recommendations for the four main modes/ways of reflecting.

It is important to choose a mode/way of reflection that is appropriate for you and your initiative.

The table below highlights specific considerations and recommendations for each mode/way of reflecting – this is not an exhaustive list and will vary between contexts.  Links are provided to the relevant section of the Reflectors’ Toolkit – you may find the information there helpful when considering or implementing a particular mode or way of reflecting.


Written reflections
  • Many reflective assignments are written – these tend to be the easiest to manage as you have a lot of control.
  • It is possible to create activities where students reflect in writing – for example, see the reflective activity below.
  • Reflective essays and reflective blogs/journals are highlighted below – these are the most typical reflective assignments.

Written reflections (in Reflectors’ Toolkit)

In conversation with self
  • Sometimes this mode can allow reflection to be more organic, and to mix up activities/assignments for you and the reflectors.
  • You can ask reflectors to submit video or audio blogs/journals rather than written ones.

In conversation with self (in the Reflectors’ Toolkit)

Reflecting with others
  • Incorporate reflection into group work assignments, for example write an essay together on how the teamwork went, make a presentation on the group work, or require a couple of meetings discussing the team’s effectiveness around some reflective prompts.
  • Have a group reflect on a piece of theory in a lecture or tutorial – remember that for a reflective discussion (unlike an academic discussion) the reflectors should incorporate own understanding, experiences, and how the theory applies to their lives. If this is used it is essential to highlight the difference between an academic and reflective discussion (academic being theory against theory; reflective discussion being how theory and experience informs one another).
  • You can give reflectors a series of predetermined reflective questions to work through in pairs – for example see the reflective activity below.
  • If you have the resources, you can set up time for reflective supervisions using reflective coaches – for example as used in the MasterCard Foundation scholarships.

Reflecting with others (in Reflectors’ Toolkit)

Case study: MasterCard Foundation Scholarship Program (within the Facilitators’ Toolkit)

Creative and other media
  • You might find that you want students to provide some kind of product from their reflections - this is completely doable. You can have students paint, draw, write poems, etc.
  • If you are assessing, it is recommend that you require reflectors to provide either a written or verbal explanation behind their products. If you don’t do this you are likely to assess the reflector’s ability in the creative outlet (for example as a painter) rather than as a reflector. You mitigate that risk by requiring and assessing the explanation.

Creative and other media (in the Reflectors’ Toolkit)

Back to 'Components of reflective tasks'