IIRP Tips on Writing Reflection Papers
A reflection paper is not a summary of the course readings or a stream of
conscious mind dump on paper.
Effects on: Thinking
1. As the diagram suggests, a reflection paper is your identification of the main
themes of the readings integrated with your classroom experience and how both
affect your thinking and practice.
2. A reflection paper is your chance to add your thoughts and analysis to what
you have read and experienced.
3. A reflection paper is meant to illustrate your understanding of the material and
how it affects your ideas and possible practice in future.
4. Begin by jotting down some of the reading material and class experiences that
stand out in your mind. Decide why they stand out to you.
5. It may be helpful to use the restorative questions to generate some of your
thoughts and feelings about the course experience.
6. Using the first person singular (“I”), relate the readings and classes to your
previous knowledge and experience.
7. Consider if and how what you have read and learned changes your thinking
and might affect your practice in both personal and professional situations.
8. Review the readings and class notes to be sure you’ve included all the
relevant information you can and made all the connections you can.
9. Give your reflection paper structure with an opening paragraph, main body,
10. It may be helpful to write the body of the paper first by using Steps 4-7, and
then decide what your opening paragraph should say. The opening paragraph
may be brief, only a sentence or two, but it should offer some overall statement
of your perspective based on what you’ve learned (e.g., Before I read the articles
for YC/ED 501, I had never considered that I was an authoritative supervisor, that
is, someone who gives my staff firm direction but little support.). Then you could
go on to describe which readings or class experiences affected your thinking and
why. You could disagree with some of the readings or ideas. The conclusion of
your reflection may also be brief (e.g., I realize that I must learn how to be more
supportive to get the best from my staff.). Or it could be uncertain (e.g., I don’t
agree with everything I learned but I am going to consider using some of the
practices in future to see if they change my office environment.).
11. Include in-text references and a reference page for any materials you cite
using APA citation formatting.