Sunday, 1 September 2019

Recap review: Reflective Writing for Social Work Students: Quick Tips


It's that time of year again, when students and Practice Educators prepare for another year in the realms of social work practice and academia. Your preparing for the arrival of students in the work place or, your full of anticipation as to what to expect from your work placement but either way, this short video with quick tips to reflective writing is going to help you on your way. 

Having only recently completed the Practice Educator course myself, there was certainly a lot of trial and error, room for reflection and realisation of how things could have been better. You'll be pleased to know that the student I work with for the past year, passed her course and her placement and now, has a job working in the same department as myself- not a bad outcome for a first timer. 

Anyhow, one of the things in hind sight that I did not do with my student, was keep and open, written, reflective journal or dialogue. We did it all verbally. To some extend, this is great right? Since communication is a core, fundamental skill in social work and without it, your not going to be very social and it's unlikely you'll be successful in your work. 

If we look closer at reflective journals and begin weighing up the pros and cons, there are, in my view, reasons for it to be very effective. 

Let me take a minute to share with you some of my initial thoughts- I've drawn this spider chart for you: 

Writing out this chart, led me to carry out a further search of other professionals views. Whilst this video I am sharing with you is really very good in giving quick tips for reflective writing, it does not give us an explanation as to why keeping a written reflective journal is useful nor what the Benefits and any hindrance to reflective writing. 

Jennifer Moon, University of Exeter, has written for students for many years. This includes support around reflective writing. She argues there are many benefits to reflective writing:
  • It forces us to give time to reflection.
  • It makes us organise thoughts as we seek to structure the writing.
  • It gives us control over the material we reflect on, as we choose what to include and what not to include.
  • It helps us to recognise whether we really understand something
  • It records the moment – enabling us to step back and reflect further at a later stage.
What the video does do for us, if gives some great ideas for students to take on board when beginning their reflective writing. If your a visual learner, then the highlighter method is likely to hit the spot and if your more of a theorist, well then reflective writing will cover all aspects to suit. 

I hope you find the video and this Blog useful for this academic year. I have attached a link to one of Jenny Moon, University of Exeter, guide for reflective writing and a reference to one of her books which you may also find useful. 

Links/ Reference: 

Moon, J (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning , Routledge Falmer, London.

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