Reflection Toolkit

Ways of reflecting

Reflection as a process can be applied in many different places. Reflection can happen in written form, in conversation with self, with others, and as a range of creative media.

Reflection can take many forms and there is no one way reflection should happen. There is value in reflecting alone, with others, and both immediately after an experience and later. 

For this section and its subsections the following terms will be used to ease the reading experience.

Term Meaning
Private reflection

Any kind of reflection where the person reflecting is the only intended audience – while a facilitator may have asked the individual to reflect, the facilitator will not see private reflections.

Private reflections can be used as a foundation for creating ‘reflection for others’.

Reflection with an audience Reflection where there is an intended audience. This audience can be someone assessing the reflection, a friend, or wider audiences as an internet site. 

Be aware that just because you are using one of the ways described below, that doesn’t guarantee that you are reflecting. There is a big difference between talking with a friend and reflecting with a friend, or between writing a journal and reflecting in a journal – both have value and you should choose according to what you want to get out of the experience. 

Below you can find four main ways to reflect. These ways can be used both for private reflection and for reflection with an audience. Some might be better suited for private reflection or for with an audience, and you might find that you have a personal preference.

Whichever way you reflect, if someone else is involved you should never feel forced to share something you are not comfortable with. Similarly you should not share something that is too personal for the other person – just because they are involved does not mean they necessarily want your deepest, darkest secrets.

Written reflections

A pen having drawn a line
Putting pen to paper or typing out your thoughts can help you slow down and identify the most essential aspects of your thought processes for reflection.

In conversation with self

An outline of a person with waves coming from their head indicating speech
Some people might find it easier to think reflections through in their heads or while thinking out loud.

Reflecting with others

Two figures with speech bubbles indicating conversation.
Much of the reflection literature highlights the value of reflecting in conversation with other people - this can be in a formal relationship, with friends, or groups. This page highlights the benefits and provides guidance.

Creative and other media

An icon of a camera
You might find that you prefer to use different media or be creative about your reflections.