Strong advice: reflect on your experiences as soon as possible after the event – it will be easier, and probably more authentic.
A great deal of your time at university will be spent thinking; thinking about what people have said, what you have read, what you yourself are thinking and how your thinking has changed. It is generally believed that the thinking process involves two aspects: reflective thinking and critical thinking. They are not separate processes; rather, they are closely connected
Written reflections should always be written in the PAST tense and focus on thoughts and feelings. Pure description should be avoided. In order to be the most meaningful, they should occur during, or as soon as the experience is completed.
a form of personal response to experiences, situations, events or new information.
a ‘processing’ phase where thinking and learning take place.
There is neither a right nor a wrong way of reflective thinking, there are just questions to explore.
There are many different ways to reflect be a creative thinker. The key is variety! Critical thinking is a skill.
How did I feel? - WHAT I FELT
What did I do? - HOW I FEEL/THINK DIFFERENTLY NOW
How did I feel? WHAT QUESTIONS I NOW HAVE ABOUT WHAT I AM DOING
Time for Reflection
Purposeful reflection is about quality rather than quantity. The appropriate occasion, amount and method is the student’s decision. Students are not expected to reflect on every CAS experience; they should identify moments worthy of reflection. Reflection is most meaningful when recognised as a personal choice.
Students choose significant moments as the basis for reflection, for example when:
a moment of discovery is happening
a skill is mastered
a challenge is confronted
emotions are provoked
achievement deserves celebration.
Students reflect during or at the end of a CAS experience or series of CAS experiences, to identify important moments, discuss a possible learning outcome, recognise personal growth and achievements, and plan for their next CAS experience.
Students engage in group reflection with their peers to discover shared insights. Students reflect at the beginning, during, and at the end of a series of CAS experiences. This enables students to deliberate on such elements as planning, opportunities, expectations, challenges, progress, and personal growth.
Reflection offers students opportunities to understand the concept, process and value of CAS experiences. With experiences that add meaning and self-knowledge, students can adapt, adopt and integrate reflection into a lifelong practice.
To help you with writing your reflections (and achieve the LO's) here are some questions you can respond to:
Summarise what you did to initiate the activity and how you interacted with others.
This question is always important to answer because it will help your advisor get a clear picture of what occurred and how you made this activity your own.
2. Provide narrative details answering the following: who, what, when, where, why?
How did you “initiate yourself” in a way that allowed the activity or project to be a new experience rather than “more of the same” of what you have previously done?
3. Explain what you accomplished through this activity/project.
Explain what your original goal was and whether or not you achieved it. Which organisation did you help? Why help this organisation? What were you looking at improving, learning, or developing? How did your work benefit the community/school/organisation you worked with? Who helped you and in what ways (feedback, training/mentoring, help in numbers)? Was this an issue of global importance—how do you know?
4. What difficulties did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
If you experienced no difficulties, speculate as to why things went so smoothly. What piece of your preparation contributed the most to the activity’s “smooth sailing”? Was this, perhaps, not a challenging activity to begin with? If so, will this experience inform future choices you make for CAS activities? If difficulties did occur, what were they? Why did they occur? Were they self inflicted (organisation, planning, execution), situational (weather-related, technical difficulties), or arose from working with others (other students, a supervisor, another person)? Explain.
5. What did you learn about yourself and what did you learn about others through this activity? What abilities, attitudes, and values have you developed?
This is an important opportunity to reflect and give insight into any learning that you earned from this activity. If you did not learn anything, what stood in your way? What would you need to do next time to gain more from this experience? What abilities, attitudes and values have you developed about yourself or about others around you through this activity? You must be thoughtful of this while you do the activity so that you can appreciate others or yourself for what you have accomplished.
6. What ethical implications arose as a result of this activity?
If a problem arose between individuals, explain how you resolved it. How did you know that provided proper closure to the service that you were providing? If necessary, did you strive to pass on your project/activity to someone else, and if so, how did you achieve this? What issues of confidentiality arose during this process? Did you have to lie or withhold the truth at any time for any reason, and was this justified? Did you unknowingly cause harm at any time to someone associated with your activity/project, and if so, what did you learn, or how did you resolve it? Did you disagree with anyone during this process, and if so, how did you know you were in the right? What would you have done differently the second time around if you had the chance, and why?