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What makes a good written reflection?

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

Reflection is a purposeful activity in which you analyse experiences, or your own practice, skills, and responses, in order to learn and improve. In fact, we reflect quite naturally in our day to day lives, thinking about things that have happened, why they happened, and whether we handled them well..! However, for some, that process is non-existent when it comes to a formal reflection under strenuous circumstances.

We have been involved in several assessment centres (AC's) and read through some of the 'reflections' candidates put forward. Sad to say, a number of them tend to simply be a detailed account of whatever transpired in the roleplay rather than an insightful analysis of their experiences.

So how do you approach the NAAS written reflection assessment? Once you've completed the roleplay and sat down to undertake the reflective piece, take a deep breath and tell yourself 'I've got this. I am well prepared for this'. Then dig deep and remember the following:

What did you learn?

What were the key learning points for you? It is essential that you consider how your values may inform or influence your understanding of the scenario. Then Identify and critically analyse the role of the social worker in the scenario and the service user’s perspectives- outline the key issues presented in the scenario including areas of need, potential risks and strengths.

What went well?

Assessors are keen to observe that you are, at the very least, aware of how your actions may impact the outcome for service users. Essentially, they want to see that you can clearly identify what worked for you during the roleplay, and understand the thought process behind why you believe your approach worked.

What could I have done better?

In view of what worked within the roleplay interaction, it is also essential to clearly detail the areas of growth - what didn't work and could have been done better. This is paramount in presenting a reflective approach to practice that ensures continuous improvement and development in offering the best possible service and outcomes for service users.

Long-term implications:

Typically this is the most critical part of the reflection; how will what you have learnt in the course of the roleplay impact and influence your practice? are there changes you will make as a result of that encounter and the difference you anticipate it will make? Bare in mind that the whole objective of undergoing the roleplay assessment is not to just establish how you handle the engagement part of the activity, but more importantly, how you continue to develop your practice in spite of the varying degrees of interactions and encounters you have with service users.

Good luck!

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