Reflective writing practice

Make a start and maintain the momentum

Here are three reflective frameworks that students have found useful when getting started with reflection and documenting learning. They also encourage you to deepen your reflections, as they prompt you to recognise and explore the significance of experiences you have had and tasks you have undertaken. They will enhance the quality of your reflections about an experience or undertaking that you develop and document via your ePortfolio.

The 4/5Rs Framework


  • Write a brief descriptive account of the experience or issue (this is the trigger or basis for reflection)
  • What happened? What did the experience involve?


  • Your emotional / personal response to the experience
  • Your observations, What were your feelings, ideas, questions about the experience


  • Personal and/or theoretical understandings relevant to the experience
  • Making connections between the situation / issue and your experience, skills, knowledge and understanding


  • Your explanation of the experience
  • Explaining the experience in terms of the significant factors, relevant theory and existing knowledge


  • Drawing conclusions and developing a future action plan
  • Your deeper level of understanding about the situation / issue that is used to reframe or reconstruct your future practice and further develop understanding of your professional practice

Reference: Bain, J.D., Ballantyne, R., Mills, C. & Lester, N.C. (2002) Reflecting on practice: Student teachers’ perspectives, Post Pressed: Flaxton, Qld

STAR-L and STAR-P frameworks

The STAR-L and STAR-P frameworks were developed from a behavioural psychology perspective, They support you to document evidence of your learning and professional capabilities as evidence you can draw on for job interviews and addressing selection criteria. Job interviews often ask you to talk about a real experience. Tell me about a time when you were involved in specific work-related activities, displaying ability in teamwork, communication, interpersonal and cultural awareness, self-management….


  • Briefly explain the task or experience and the context.


  • What was the task you were required to undertake or engage in?


  • What did you do? Make sure you write from an ‘I’ perspective.


  • What were the results of your actions? (They may not be as successful as you hoped. Often it is the negative examples that show how you learn and develop your skills.) How do you personally evaluate your success or the effect of your practice?


  • What did you learn from this experience and how might it affect future practice and performance? What would you do differently in future? What do your plan to follow up? What further learning opportunities will you look for?

The STAR-P framework is very similar but focuses on Review and Planning rather than Result and Learning.

There are many different frameworks available online. Use the ones you find helpful in guiding you to reflect on the significance of your actions and what they show about you and your professional practice.

Gibbs Reflective cycle

Description:                What happened?

Feelings:                     What were you thinking and feeling?

Evaluation:                 What was good and bad about the experience?

Analysis:                     What sense can you make of the situation?

Conclusion:                What else could you have done?

Action plan:                If it arose again, what would you do?

Description…………. repeat through the cycle to document your learning!

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit. Oxford Polytechnic: Oxford.