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How to write a reflective essay example and use it for future writing

Instructors have become big fans of the reflective essay. This type of essay has become the choice way to have students self-evaluate their work and look at what they have learned. As metacognition, or thinking about thinking, has become more than a buzzword, reflective essays have turned into popular assignments and assessments in a types of classes, from science and math to language arts and social sciences. Even though reflective essays have become commonplace in many classes, students are not usually taught how to write them. Here is what you should include in a reflective essay so you can have a template on hand and complete it for each assignment:

  • Introduction: Like all essays, you should always include an introduction. You should always have a unique hook, a bridge, and a thesis. The thesis should be about the assignment you are reflecting upon and what you have learned. The rest of the essay will show how you learned this. The introductory paragraph should be at least five sentences in length. Like all introductions, this one should be just as creative and interesting to draw the reader into the rest of the essay.
  • Body Paragraphs: Your reflective essay should include at least two body paragraphs. One should discuss what you did for the assignment and the other should explain what you learned from the assignment. When you write the paragraph about what you learned, you should address what you would have done differently and what you plan to do on future similar assignments. The paragraphs should be thoughtful and your thinking should be evident. Students often do not take the thinking part of reflective essays seriously, but you can set yourself apart from other students by using strong words and really show that you actually learned something from completing the assignment. If your instructor asks for more than two body paragraphs, you simply break up the subjects into smaller paragraphs, keep them highly focused, and provide extensive details to support your learning experience.
  • Conclusion: Your final paragraph should be similar in length to the introduction. You should begin with a thoughtfully restated thesis. The next sentences should summarize the entire experience, with what you did and what you learned. Your final sentence should be memorable and address your past learning what you will do in the future.

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