Reflective writing is becoming more common in higher education. You can be asked to write a reflective essay and this type of writing is often used in medical related subject areas such as nursing, for example. You can also be asked to include some reflection as part of an argumentative essay to show what you have learnt in the module studied. Reflective learning diaries also occur in a variety of subject areas.
You reflect to learn, and the depth of your reflection will be taken into consideration for your mark. Your tutor wants to see how you have learnt, how you evaluate what you have learnt, and how you might approach the same situation next time. You might have to write about your feelings on working in a team, for example. You should take care not to blame others in reflective writing. This is about you and what you have learnt from a particular experience.
Reflective writing can be described as a tool for helping you to think about how you are learning as well as what you are learning. It therefore has in it aspects of self-observation and self-analysis and you will show how you can reflect critically and constructively on your own performance.
Reflection can be seen as a continuing cycle: a description of what happened; your thoughts and feelings at the time; evaluating what was good and bad about the experience; making sense of the situation through an analysis of it; a conclusion, thinking about what else you could have done; an action plan for what you would do if it happens again.