There are a few different elements that must be incorporated into a critical reflective paper. First off, you need to handle the reflection aspect carefully. Whatever experience you are reflecting on should be well thought out. Then, you need to be critical of this experience. This basically means that you should write about how the experience could have been improved or what you could have done differently to make the experience more worthwhile. You should be able to come up with the critical aspects of the paper during the reflective phase.
- Skill level:
Start the paper by explaining the experience that you're writing about. You could be writing about a job shadowing experience, volunteer work you completed or something personal in your life that occurred, such as overcoming an illness.
Go into more detail about the experience in the next few paragraphs. During this part of the reflection paper, talk more about the experience, but include details like how you felt, how those around you handled the experience and what you ultimately learnt from the experience.
Apply the experience in a meaningful way in the next paragraph. For example, if you're writing about a job shadowing experience, talk about how the experience has helped shape your future career decisions. If you're writing about an illness, talk about how the experience has shaped your outlook on life.
Get critical. In this part of the critical reflective paper, talk about what you could have changed to make the experience more worthwhile or easier to handle. For example, you may now realise that a professional with a different speciality within the field would have been a better choice for you to job shadow in terms of what you want to do with your future career.
Interpret the criticism you've given for the experience. The interpretation involves discussing how it ultimately affects your life or your future decisions and how much different it would have been had you been able to do things differently.
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