how to do a reflective presentation

  • Academic Writing / Conferences

Presenting a Poster Presentation: Tips and Reflections

by Purdue Global Academic Success Center and Writing Center · Published December 9, 2015 · Updated December 8, 2015

By Amy Sexton, Kaplan University Writing Center Tutor

Active professional development and scholarship are extremely important for educators, and conferences can provide an excellent avenue for both. As a virtual employee, I find it especially refreshing to attend physical conferences and interact face-to-face with colleagues in my field.  I recently had the opportunity to present at a poster session at the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy in Savannah, GA.  As a writing tutor, I constantly help students with tasks related to information literacy, so I wanted to attend and present at this conference. I have presented workshops and traditional presentations at conferences before, but I had never presented a poster presentation, so that is what I proposed.  I wanted to broaden my horizons and try something new and different.  Designing and making the poster and then presenting to a group of educators was interesting and fruitful and  resulted in numerous takeaways, including practical suggestions for designing and producing posters and thoughtful reflections.

Designing and Creating a Poster:   Prior to this conference, my experience with primarily visual communication had been limited to PowerPoint presentations and the occasional bulletin board, so I needed assistance with poster design.  I found the following sites and articles helpful:

Creating Effective Poster Presentations – This site contains comprehensive links that cover important elements from planning to presenting the poster (Hess, Tosny, & Liegel, 2015).

How to Distinguish a Good Poster Design from a Bad One – This article gives helpful guidelines and pictures of good, bad, and ugly poster designs.  As a visual learner, I appreciated seeing examples (“How to Distinguish”, n.d.).

Free Research Poster PowerPoint Templates – While I did not use a template, I found it helpful to see templates and examples (“Free Research Poster”, 2015).   I would definitely use a template if I had arranged to have my poster printed (see below).

When I created my poster, I first wrote a PowerPoint presentation and then printed the slides and arranged them on a 36X48 trifold poster board.  I used adhesive tabs to attach the slides to the poster.  This worked well, and I was happy with my poster design, but, as always, hindsight and reflection have helped me pinpoint some things I may have done differently.  I share these here in hopes that they may be helpful to others who may not be very familiar with poster design and creation.

One reason that I did not use a template was I realized that doing so would require a special printer to print the larger PowerPoint slides. I do not have a special printer, so I would have had to arrange for a printing company to print my poster.   The starting price for printing a poster the size of mine is $45 at PosterPresentations.com (“Price Guide”, 2015), and a quick Internet search suggests that this is a typical price.  While this may seem expensive, to compare, it is approximately the same amount that I spent preparing my poster.  Also, if I had flown to the conference rather than driven, as many conference attendees do, having the  poster printed and shipped to the hotel or conference site would have been necessary.  Obviously, having a poster printed would be an extra step that would need to be factored into the planning process.

Conference Reflections:   Preparing the poster, traveling with it, and setting it up at the conference went smoothly, but, once I was in the room and presenting with colleagues, I noticed that many of  the other presenters had a related, tangible action that they discussed with conference participants, such as a study, project, or course revision.   The presenters to my left talked about an ongoing traveling librarian program at their university; the presenter on my right detailed the successes of implementing an information literacy component using Web 2.0 technologies into a library research course.  While my project had good ideas and research, I have not yet implemented any of my findings (other than to publish an article on this blog: Exploring and Preventing Plagiarism in a Digital Age ), so I am now thinking about ways that I can use the knowledge I gained from my research  in my daily work and future presentations.

Overall, proposing and presenting this presentation was a worth-while and fun professional learning experience.  Perhaps best of all, it was something new and unfamiliar, which forced me to step, metaphorically, into the shoes of our students as each and every course they begin is likely new and unfamiliar to them.

how to do a reflective presentation

Free research poster PowerPoint templates.  (2015).  Retrieved from http://www.posterpresentations.com/html/free_poster_templates.html

Hess, G., Tosney, K. & Liegel, L.  (2015).  Creating effective poster presentations:  An effective poster.  Retrieved from http://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/index.html

How to distinguish a good poster design from a bad one.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.nuigalway.ie/remedi/poster/media/Posters_Good_and_bad.pdf

Price guide: Products and services.  (2015). Retrieved from http://www.posterpresentations.com/html/price_guide.html

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Tags: Academic Conferences

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Hi Kathleen, Thank you for your feedback! I am so happy that you found my blog post helpful and that it has inspired you to consider doing your own poster presentation!

Fantastic blog, thanks! I’ve never done a Poster Presentation, but now I feel that I can do one in the future!

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How To Make a Good Presentation [A Complete Guide]

By Krystle Wong , Jul 20, 2023

How to make a good presentation

A top-notch presentation possesses the power to drive action. From winning stakeholders over and conveying a powerful message to securing funding — your secret weapon lies within the realm of creating an effective presentation .  

Being an excellent presenter isn’t confined to the boardroom. Whether you’re delivering a presentation at work, pursuing an academic career, involved in a non-profit organization or even a student, nailing the presentation game is a game-changer.

In this article, I’ll cover the top qualities of compelling presentations and walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to give a good presentation. Here’s a little tip to kick things off: for a headstart, check out Venngage’s collection of free presentation templates . They are fully customizable, and the best part is you don’t need professional design skills to make them shine!

These valuable presentation tips cater to individuals from diverse professional backgrounds, encompassing business professionals, sales and marketing teams, educators, trainers, students, researchers, non-profit organizations, public speakers and presenters. 

No matter your field or role, these tips for presenting will equip you with the skills to deliver effective presentations that leave a lasting impression on any audience.

Click to jump ahead:

What are the 10 qualities of a good presentation?

Step-by-step guide on how to prepare an effective presentation, 9 effective techniques to deliver a memorable presentation, faqs on making a good presentation, how to create a presentation with venngage in 5 steps.

When it comes to giving an engaging presentation that leaves a lasting impression, it’s not just about the content — it’s also about how you deliver it. Wondering what makes a good presentation? Well, the best presentations I’ve seen consistently exhibit these 10 qualities:

1. Clear structure

No one likes to get lost in a maze of information. Organize your thoughts into a logical flow, complete with an introduction, main points and a solid conclusion. A structured presentation helps your audience follow along effortlessly, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction at the end.

Regardless of your presentation style , a quality presentation starts with a clear roadmap. Browse through Venngage’s template library and select a presentation template that aligns with your content and presentation goals. Here’s a good presentation example template with a logical layout that includes sections for the introduction, main points, supporting information and a conclusion: 

how to do a reflective presentation

2. Engaging opening

Hook your audience right from the start with an attention-grabbing statement, a fascinating question or maybe even a captivating anecdote. Set the stage for a killer presentation!

The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.

3. Relevant content

Make sure your content aligns with their interests and needs. Your audience is there for a reason, and that’s to get valuable insights. Avoid fluff and get straight to the point, your audience will be genuinely excited.

4. Effective visual aids

Picture this: a slide with walls of text and tiny charts, yawn! Visual aids should be just that—aiding your presentation. Opt for clear and visually appealing slides, engaging images and informative charts that add value and help reinforce your message.

With Venngage, visualizing data takes no effort at all. You can import data from CSV or Google Sheets seamlessly and create stunning charts, graphs and icon stories effortlessly to showcase your data in a captivating and impactful way.

how to do a reflective presentation

5. Clear and concise communication

Keep your language simple, and avoid jargon or complicated terms. Communicate your ideas clearly, so your audience can easily grasp and retain the information being conveyed. This can prevent confusion and enhance the overall effectiveness of the message. 

6. Engaging delivery

Spice up your presentation with a sprinkle of enthusiasm! Maintain eye contact, use expressive gestures and vary your tone of voice to keep your audience glued to the edge of their seats. A touch of charisma goes a long way!

7. Interaction and audience engagement

Turn your presentation into an interactive experience — encourage questions, foster discussions and maybe even throw in a fun activity. Engaged audiences are more likely to remember and embrace your message.

Transform your slides into an interactive presentation with Venngage’s dynamic features like pop-ups, clickable icons and animated elements. Engage your audience with interactive content that lets them explore and interact with your presentation for a truly immersive experience.

how to do a reflective presentation

8. Effective storytelling

Who doesn’t love a good story? Weaving relevant anecdotes, case studies or even a personal story into your presentation can captivate your audience and create a lasting impact. Stories build connections and make your message memorable.

A great presentation background is also essential as it sets the tone, creates visual interest and reinforces your message. Enhance the overall aesthetics of your presentation with these 15 presentation background examples and captivate your audience’s attention.

9. Well-timed pacing

Pace your presentation thoughtfully with well-designed presentation slides, neither rushing through nor dragging it out. Respect your audience’s time and ensure you cover all the essential points without losing their interest.

10. Strong conclusion

Last impressions linger! Summarize your main points and leave your audience with a clear takeaway. End your presentation with a bang , a call to action or an inspiring thought that resonates long after the conclusion.

In-person presentations aside, acing a virtual presentation is of paramount importance in today’s digital world. Check out this guide to learn how you can adapt your in-person presentations into virtual presentations . 

Peloton Pitch Deck - Conclusion

Preparing an effective presentation starts with laying a strong foundation that goes beyond just creating slides and notes. One of the quickest and best ways to make a presentation would be with the help of a good presentation software . 

Otherwise, let me walk you to how to prepare for a presentation step by step and unlock the secrets of crafting a professional presentation that sets you apart.

1. Understand the audience and their needs

Before you dive into preparing your masterpiece, take a moment to get to know your target audience. Tailor your presentation to meet their needs and expectations , and you’ll have them hooked from the start!

2. Conduct thorough research on the topic

Time to hit the books (or the internet)! Don’t skimp on the research with your presentation materials — dive deep into the subject matter and gather valuable insights . The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel in delivering your presentation.

3. Organize the content with a clear structure

No one wants to stumble through a chaotic mess of information. Outline your presentation with a clear and logical flow. Start with a captivating introduction, follow up with main points that build on each other and wrap it up with a powerful conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

Delivering an effective business presentation hinges on captivating your audience, and Venngage’s professionally designed business presentation templates are tailor-made for this purpose. With thoughtfully structured layouts, these templates enhance your message’s clarity and coherence, ensuring a memorable and engaging experience for your audience members.

Don’t want to build your presentation layout from scratch? pick from these 5 foolproof presentation layout ideas that won’t go wrong. 

how to do a reflective presentation

4. Develop visually appealing and supportive visual aids

Spice up your presentation with eye-catching visuals! Create slides that complement your message, not overshadow it. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you need to overload your slides with text.

Well-chosen designs create a cohesive and professional look, capturing your audience’s attention and enhancing the overall effectiveness of your message. Here’s a list of carefully curated PowerPoint presentation templates and great background graphics that will significantly influence the visual appeal and engagement of your presentation.

5. Practice, practice and practice

Practice makes perfect — rehearse your presentation and arrive early to your presentation to help overcome stage fright. Familiarity with your material will boost your presentation skills and help you handle curveballs with ease.

6. Seek feedback and make necessary adjustments

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek feedback from friends and colleagues. Constructive criticism can help you identify blind spots and fine-tune your presentation to perfection.

With Venngage’s real-time collaboration feature , receiving feedback and editing your presentation is a seamless process. Group members can access and work on the presentation simultaneously and edit content side by side in real-time. Changes will be reflected immediately to the entire team, promoting seamless teamwork.

Venngage Real Time Collaboration

7. Prepare for potential technical or logistical issues

Prepare for the unexpected by checking your equipment, internet connection and any other potential hiccups. If you’re worried that you’ll miss out on any important points, you could always have note cards prepared. Remember to remain focused and rehearse potential answers to anticipated questions.

8. Fine-tune and polish your presentation

As the big day approaches, give your presentation one last shine. Review your talking points, practice how to present a presentation and make any final tweaks. Deep breaths — you’re on the brink of delivering a successful presentation!

In competitive environments, persuasive presentations set individuals and organizations apart. To brush up on your presentation skills, read these guides on how to make a persuasive presentation and tips to presenting effectively . 

how to do a reflective presentation

Whether you’re an experienced presenter or a novice, the right techniques will let your presentation skills soar to new heights!

From public speaking hacks to interactive elements and storytelling prowess, these 9 effective presentation techniques will empower you to leave a lasting impression on your audience and make your presentations unforgettable.

1. Confidence and positive body language

Positive body language instantly captivates your audience, making them believe in your message as much as you do. Strengthen your stage presence and own that stage like it’s your second home! Stand tall, shoulders back and exude confidence. 

2. Eye contact with the audience

Break down that invisible barrier and connect with your audience through their eyes. Maintaining eye contact when giving a presentation builds trust and shows that you’re present and engaged with them.

3. Effective use of hand gestures and movement

A little movement goes a long way! Emphasize key points with purposeful gestures and don’t be afraid to walk around the stage. Your energy will be contagious!

4. Utilize storytelling techniques

Weave the magic of storytelling into your presentation. Share relatable anecdotes, inspiring success stories or even personal experiences that tug at the heartstrings of your audience. Adjust your pitch, pace and volume to match the emotions and intensity of the story. Varying your speaking voice adds depth and enhances your stage presence.

how to do a reflective presentation

5. Incorporate multimedia elements

Spice up your presentation with a dash of visual pizzazz! Use slides, images and video clips to add depth and clarity to your message. Just remember, less is more—don’t overwhelm them with information overload. 

Turn your presentations into an interactive party! Involve your audience with questions, polls or group activities. When they actively participate, they become invested in your presentation’s success. Bring your design to life with animated elements. Venngage allows you to apply animations to icons, images and text to create dynamic and engaging visual content.

6. Utilize humor strategically

Laughter is the best medicine—and a fantastic presentation enhancer! A well-placed joke or lighthearted moment can break the ice and create a warm atmosphere , making your audience more receptive to your message.

7. Practice active listening and respond to feedback

Be attentive to your audience’s reactions and feedback. If they have questions or concerns, address them with genuine interest and respect. Your responsiveness builds rapport and shows that you genuinely care about their experience.

how to do a reflective presentation

8. Apply the 10-20-30 rule

Apply the 10-20-30 presentation rule and keep it short, sweet and impactful! Stick to ten slides, deliver your presentation within 20 minutes and use a 30-point font to ensure clarity and focus. Less is more, and your audience will thank you for it!

9. Implement the 5-5-5 rule

Simplicity is key. Limit each slide to five bullet points, with only five words per bullet point and allow each slide to remain visible for about five seconds. This rule keeps your presentation concise and prevents information overload.

Simple presentations are more engaging because they are easier to follow. Summarize your presentations and keep them simple with Venngage’s gallery of simple presentation templates and ensure that your message is delivered effectively across your audience.

how to do a reflective presentation

1. How to start a presentation?

To kick off your presentation effectively, begin with an attention-grabbing statement or a powerful quote. Introduce yourself, establish credibility and clearly state the purpose and relevance of your presentation.

2. How to end a presentation?

For a strong conclusion, summarize your talking points and key takeaways. End with a compelling call to action or a thought-provoking question and remember to thank your audience and invite any final questions or interactions.

3. How to make a presentation interactive?

To make your presentation interactive, encourage questions and discussion throughout your talk. Utilize multimedia elements like videos or images and consider including polls, quizzes or group activities to actively involve your audience.

In need of inspiration for your next presentation? I’ve got your back! Pick from these 120+ presentation ideas, topics and examples to get started. 

Creating a stunning presentation with Venngage is a breeze with our user-friendly drag-and-drop editor and professionally designed templates for all your communication needs. 

Here’s how to make a presentation in just 5 simple steps with the help of Venngage:

Step 1: Sign up for Venngage for free using your email, Gmail or Facebook account or simply log in to access your account. 

Step 2: Pick a design from our selection of free presentation templates (they’re all created by our expert in-house designers).

Step 3: Make the template your own by customizing it to fit your content and branding. With Venngage’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor, you can easily modify text, change colors and adjust the layout to create a unique and eye-catching design.

Step 4: Elevate your presentation by incorporating captivating visuals. You can upload your images or choose from Venngage’s vast library of high-quality photos, icons and illustrations. 

Step 5: Upgrade to a premium or business account to export your presentation in PDF and print it for in-person presentations or share it digitally for free!

By following these five simple steps, you’ll have a professionally designed and visually engaging presentation ready in no time. With Venngage’s user-friendly platform, your presentation is sure to make a lasting impression. So, let your creativity flow and get ready to shine in your next presentation!

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What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)

Presentation skills are essential for your personal and professional life. Learn about effective presentations and how to boost your presenting techniques.

[Featured Image]: The marketing manager, wearing a yellow top, is making a PowerPoint presentation.

At least seven out of 10 Americans agree that presentation skills are essential for a successful career [ 1 ]. Although it might be tempting to think that these are skills reserved for people interested in public speaking roles, they're critical in a diverse range of jobs. For example, you might need to brief your supervisor on research results.

Presentation skills are also essential in other scenarios, including working with a team and explaining your thought process, walking clients through project ideas and timelines, and highlighting your strengths and achievements to your manager during performance reviews.

Whatever the scenario, you have very little time to capture your audience’s attention and get your point across when presenting information—about three seconds, according to research [ 2 ]. Effective presentation skills help you get your point across and connect with the people you’re communicating with, which is why nearly every employer requires them.

Understanding what presentation skills are is only half the battle. Honing your presenting techniques is essential for mastering presentations of all kinds and in all settings.

What are presentation skills?

Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images.

You'll make presentations at various times in your life. Examples include:

Making speeches at a wedding, conference, or another event

Making a toast at a dinner or event

Explaining projects to a team 

Delivering results and findings to management teams

Teaching people specific methods or information

Proposing a vote at community group meetings

Pitching a new idea or business to potential partners or investors

Why are presentation skills important? 

Delivering effective presentations is critical in your professional and personal life. You’ll need to hone your presentation skills in various areas, such as when giving a speech, convincing your partner to make a substantial purchase, and talking to friends and family about an important situation.

No matter if you’re using them in a personal or professional setting, these are the skills that make it easier and more effective to convey your ideas, convince or persuade others, and experience success. A few of the benefits that often accompany improving your presentation skills include:

Enriched written and verbal communication skills

Enhanced confidence and self-image

Boosted critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities

Better motivational techniques

Increased leadership skills

Expanded time management, negotiation, and creativity

The better your presenting techniques, the more engaging your presentations will be. You could also have greater opportunities to make positive impacts in business and other areas of your life.

Effective presentation skills

Imagine yourself in the audience at a TED Talk or sitting with your coworkers at a big meeting held by your employer. What would you be looking for in how they deliver their message? What would make you feel engaged?

These are a few questions to ask yourself as you review this list of some of the most effective presentation skills.

Verbal communication

How you use language and deliver messages play essential roles in how your audience will receive your presentation. Speak clearly and confidently, projecting your voice enough to ensure everyone can hear. Think before you speak, pausing when necessary and tailoring the way you talk to resonate with your particular audience.

Body language

Body language combines various critical elements, including posture, gestures, eye contact, expressions, and position in front of the audience. Body language is one of the elements that can instantly transform a presentation that would otherwise be dull into one that's dynamic and interesting.

Voice projection

The ability to project your voice improves your presentation by allowing your audience to hear what you're saying. It also increases your confidence to help settle any lingering nerves while also making your message more engaging. To project your voice, stand comfortably with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths to power your speaking voice and ensure you enunciate every syllable you speak.

How you present yourself plays a role in your body language and ability to project your voice. It also sets the tone for the presentation. Avoid slouching or looking overly tense. Instead, remain open, upright, and adaptable while taking the formality of the occasion into account.

Storytelling

Incorporating storytelling into a presentation is an effective strategy used by many powerful public speakers. It has the power to bring your subject to life and pique the audience’s curiosity. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story, slowly building up suspense or adding a dramatic moment. And, of course, be sure to end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.

Active listening

Active listening is a valuable skill all on its own. When you understand and thoughtfully respond to what you hear—whether it's in a conversation or during a presentation—you’ll likely deepen your personal relationships and actively engage audiences during a presentation. As part of your presentation skill set, it helps catch and maintain the audience’s attention, helping them remain focused while minimizing passive response, ensuring the message is delivered correctly, and encouraging a call to action.

Stage presence

During a presentation, projecting confidence can help keep your audience engaged. Stage presence can help you connect with your audience and encourage them to want to watch you. To improve your presence, try amping up your normal demeanor by infusing it with a bit of enthusiasm. Project confidence and keep your information interesting.

Watch your audience as you’re presenting. If you’re holding their attention, it likely means you’re connecting well with them.

Self-awareness

Monitoring your own emotions and reactions will allow you to react well in various situations. It helps you remain personable throughout your presentation and handle feedback well. Self-awareness can help soothe nervousness during presentations, allowing you to perform more effectively.

Writing skills

Writing is a form of presentation. Sharp writing skills can help you master your presentation’s outline to ensure you stay on message and remain clear about your objectives from the beginning until the end. It’s also helpful to have strong writing abilities for creating compelling slides and other visual aids.

Understanding an audience

When you understand your audience's needs and interests, you can design your presentation around them. In turn, you'll deliver maximum value to them and enhance your ability to make your message easy to understand.

Learn more about presentation skills from industry experts at SAP:

How to improve presentation skills

There’s an art to public speaking. Just like any other type of art, this is one that requires practice. Improving your presentation skills will help reduce miscommunications, enhance your time management capabilities, and boost your leadership skills. Here are some ways you can improve these skills:

Work on self-confidence.

When you’re confident, you naturally speak more clearly and with more authority. Taking the time to prepare your presentation with a strong opening and compelling visual aids can help you feel more confident. Other ways to improve your self-confidence include practicing positive self-talk, surrounding yourself with positive people, and avoiding comparing yourself (or your presentation) to others.

Develop strategies for overcoming fear.

Many people are nervous or fearful before giving a presentation. A bad memory of a past performance or insufficient self-confidence can contribute to fear and anxiety. Having a few go-to strategies like deep breathing, practicing your presentation, and grounding can help you transform that fear into extra energy to put into your stage presence.

Learn grounding techniques.

Grounding is any type of technique that helps you steer your focus away from distressing thoughts and keeps you connected with your present self. To ground yourself, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and imagine you’re a large, mature tree with roots extending deep into the earth—like the tree, you can become unshakable.

Learn how to use presentation tools.

Visual aids and other technical support can transform an otherwise good presentation into a wow-worthy one. A few popular presentation tools include:

Canva: Provides easy-to-design templates you can customize

Powtoon: Animation software that makes video creation fast and easy

PowerPoint: Microsoft's iconic program popular for dynamic marketing and sales presentations

Practice breathing techniques.

Breathing techniques can help quell anxiety, making it easier to shake off pre-presentation jitters and nerves. It also helps relax your muscles and get more oxygen to your brain.  For some pre-presentation calmness, you can take deep breaths, slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

While presenting, breathe in through your mouth with the back of your tongue relaxed so your audience doesn't hear a gasping sound. Speak on your exhalation, maintaining a smooth voice.

Gain experience.

The more you practice, the better you’ll become. The more you doanything, the more comfortable you’ll feel engaging in that activity. Presentations are no different. Repeatedly practicing your own presentation also offers the opportunity to get feedback from other people and tweak your style and content as needed.

Tips to help you ace your presentation

Your presentation isn’t about you; it’s about the material you’re presenting. Sometimes, reminding yourself of this ahead of taking center stage can help take you out of your head, allowing you to connect effectively with your audience. The following are some of the many actions you can take on the day of your presentation.

Arrive early.

Since you may have a bit of presentation-related anxiety, it’s important to avoid adding travel stress. Give yourself an abundance of time to arrive at your destination, and take into account heavy traffic and other unforeseen events. By arriving early, you also give yourself time to meet with any on-site technicians, test your equipment, and connect with people ahead of the presentation.

Become familiar with the layout of the room.

Arriving early also gives you time to assess the room and figure out where you want to stand. Experiment with the acoustics to determine how loudly you need to project your voice, and test your equipment to make sure everything connects and appears properly with the available setup. This is an excellent opportunity to work out any last-minute concerns and move around to familiarize yourself with the setting for improved stage presence.

Listen to presenters ahead of you.

When you watch others present, you'll get a feel for the room's acoustics and lighting. You can also listen for any data that’s relevant to your presentation and revisit it during your presentation—this can make the presentation more interactive and engaging.

Use note cards.

Writing yourself a script could provide you with more comfort. To prevent sounding too robotic or disengaged, only include talking points in your note cards in case you get off track. Using note cards can help keep your presentation organized while sounding more authentic to your audience.

Learn to deliver clear and confident presentations with Dynamic Public Speaking from the University of Washington. Build confidence, develop new delivery techniques, and practice strategies for crafting compelling presentations for different purposes, occasions, and audiences.

Article sources

Forbes. “ New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills are Critical for Career Success , https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/09/25/new-survey-70-percent-say-presentation-skills-critical-for-career-success/?sh=619f3ff78890.” Accessed December 7, 2022.

Beautiful.ai. “ 15 Presentation and Public Speaking Stats You Need to Know , https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/15-presentation-and-public-speaking-stats-you-need-to-know. Accessed December 7, 2022.

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Writing reflectively is essential to many academic programmes and also to completing applications for employment. This page considers what reflective writing is and how to do it. 

What is reflection?

Reflection is something that we do everyday as part of being human. We plan and undertake actions, then think about whether each was successful or not, and how we might improve next time. We can also feel reflection as emotions, such as satisfaction and regret, or as a need to talk over happenings with friends. See below for an introduction to reflection as a concept. 

Reflection in everyday life [Google Slides]

Google Doc

What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing should be thought of as recording reflective thinking. This can be done in an everyday diary entry, or instruction in a recipe book to change a cooking method next time. In academic courses, reflective is more complex and focussed. This section considers the main features of reflective writing. 

Reflective writing for employability

When applying for jobs, or further academic study, students are required to think through what they have done in their degrees and translate it into evaluative writing that fulfils the criteria of job descriptions and person specifications. This is a different style of writing, the resource below will enable you to think about how to begin this transition. 

There are also lots of resources available through the university's careers service and elsewhere on the Skills Guides. The links below are to pages that can offer further support and guidance. 

how to do a reflective presentation

  • Careers and Placements Service resources Lots of resources that relate to all aspects of job applications, including tailored writing styles and techniques.

The language of reflective writing

Reflective academic writing is: 

  • almost always written in the first person.
  • evaluative - you are judging something.
  • partly personal, partly based on criteria.
  • analytical - you are usually categorising actions and events.
  • formal - it is for an academic audience.
  • carefully constructed. 

Look at the sections below to see specific vocabulary types and sentence constructions that can be useful when writing reflectively. 

Language for exploring outcomes

A key element of writing reflectively is being able to explain to the reader what the results of your actions were. This requires careful grading of language to ensure that what you write reflects the evidence of what happened and to convey clearly what you achieved or did not achieve. 

Below are some ideas and prompts of how you can write reflectively about outcomes, using clarity and graded language. 

Expressing uncertainty when writing about outcomes:

  • It is not yet clear that…
  • I do not yet (fully) understand...
  • It is unclear...
  • It is not yet fully clear...
  • It is not yet (fully?) known… 
  • It appears to be the case that…
  • It is too soon to tell....

Often, in academic learning, the uncertainty in the outcomes is a key part of the learning and development that you undertake. It is vital therefore that you explain this clearly to the reader using careful choices in your language. 

Writing about how the outcome relates to you:

  • I gained (xxxx) skills… 
  • I developed… 
  • The experience/task/process taught me… 
  • I achieved…
  • I learned that…
  • I found that… 

In each case you can add in words like, ‘significantly’, ‘greatly’, ‘less importantly’ etc. The use of evaluative adjectives enables you to express to the reader the importance and significance of your learning in terms of the outcomes achieved. 

Describing how you reached your outcomes:

  • Having read....
  • Having completed (xxxx)...
  • I analysed…
  • I applied… 
  • I learned…
  • I experienced… 
  • Having reflected…

This gives the reader an idea of the nature of the reflection they are reading. How and why you reach the conclusions and learning that you express in your reflective writing is important so the reader can assess the validity and strength of your reflections. 

Projecting your outcomes into the future:

  • If I completed a similar task in the future I would…
  • Having learned through this process I would… 
  • Next time I will…
  • I will need to develop…. (in light of the outcomes)
  • Next time my responses would be different....

When showing the reader how you will use your learning in the future, it is important to be specific and again, to use accurate graded language to show how and why what you choose to highlight matters. Check carefully against task instructions to see what you are expected to reflect into the future about. 

When reflecting in academic writing on outcomes, this can mean either the results of the task you have completed, for example, the accuracy of a titration in a Chemistry lab session, or what you have learned/developed within the task, for example, ensuring that an interview question is written clearly enough to produce a response that reflects what you wished to find out. 

Language choices are important in ensuring the reader can see what you think in relation to the reflection you have done. 

Language for interpretation

When you interpret something you are telling the reader how important it is, or what meaning is attached to it. 

You may wish to indicate the value of something:

  • superfluous
  • non-essential

E.g. 'the accuracy of the transcription was essential to the accuracy of the eventual coding and analysis of the interviews undertaken. The training I undertook was critical to enabling me to transcribe quickly and accurately' 

You may wish to show how ideas, actions or some other aspect developed over time:

  • Initially 
  • subsequently
  • in sequence 

E.g. 'Before we could produce the final version of the presentation, we had to complete both the research and produce a plan. This was achieved later than expected, leading to subsequent rushing of creating slides, and this contributed to a lower grade'. 

You may wish to show your viewpoint or that of others:

  • did not think
  • articulated
  • did/did not do something

Each of these could be preceded by 'we' or 'I'.

E.g. 'I noticed that the model of the bridge was sagging. I expressed this to the group, and as I did so I noticed that two members did not seem to grasp how serious the problem was. I proposed a break and a meeting, during which I intervened to show the results of inaction.'

There is a huge range of language that can be used for interpretation, the most important thing is to remember your reader and be clear with them about what your interpretation is, so they can see your thinking and agree or disagree with you. 

Language for analysis

When reflecting, it is important to show the reader that you have analysed the tasks, outcomes, learning and all other aspects that you are writing about. In most cases, you are using categories to provide structure to your reflection. Some suggestions of language to use when analysing in reflective writing are below:

Signposting that you are breaking down a task or learning into categories:

  • An aspect of…
  • An element of…
  • An example of…
  • A key feature of the task was... (e.g. teamwork)
  • The task was multifaceted… (then go on to list or describe the facets)
  • There were several experiences…
  • ‘X’ is related to ‘y’

There may be specific categories that you should consider in your reflection. In teamwork, it could be individual and team performance, in lab work it could be accuracy and the reliability of results. It is important that the reader can see the categories you have used for your analysis. 

Analysis by chronology:

  • Subsequently
  • Consequently
  • Stage 1 (or other)

In many tasks the order in which they were completed matters. This can be a key part of your reflection, as it is possible that you may learn to do things in a different order next time or that the chronology influenced the outcomes. 

Analysis by perspective:

  • I considered

These language choices show that you are analysing purely by your own personal perspective. You may provide evidence to support your thinking, but it is your viewpoint that matters. 

  • What I expected from the reading did not happen…
  • The Theory did not appear in our results…
  • The predictions made were not fulfilled…
  • The outcome was surprising because… (and link to what was expected)

These language choices show that you are analysing by making reference to academic learning (from an academic perspective). This means you have read or otherwise learned something and used it to form expectations, ideas and/or predictions. You can then reflect on what you found vs what you expected. The reader needs to know what has informed our reflections. 

  • Organisation X should therefore…
  • A key recommendation is… 
  • I now know that organisation x is… 
  • Theory A can be applied to organisation X

These language choices show that analysis is being completed from a systems perspective. You are telling the reader how your learning links into the bigger picture of systems, for example, what an organisation or entity might do in response to what you have learned. 

Analysing is a key element of being reflective. You must think through the task, ideas, or learning you are reflecting on and use categories to provide structure to your thought. This then translates into structure and language choices in your writing, so your reader can see clearly how you have used analysis to provide sense and structure to your reflections. 

Language for evaluation

Reflecting is fundamentally an evaluative activity. Writing about reflection is therefore replete with evaluative language. A skillful reflective writer is able to grade their language to match the thinking it is expressing to the reader. 

Language to show how significant something is:

  • Most importantly
  • Significantly 
  • The principal lesson was… 
  • Consequential
  • Fundamental
  • Insignificant
  • In each case the language is quantifying the significance of the element you are describing, telling the reader the product of your evaluative thought. 

For example, ‘when team working I initially thought that we would succeed by setting out a plan and then working independently, but in fact, constant communication and collaboration were crucial to success. This was the most significant thing I learned.’ 

Language to show the strength of relationships:

  • X is strongly associated with Y
  • A is a consequence of B
  • There is a probable relationship between… 
  • C does not cause D
  • A may influence B
  • I learn most strongly when doing A

In each case the language used can show how significant and strong the relationship between two factors are. 

For example, ‘I learned, as part of my research methods module, that the accuracy of the data gained through surveys is directly related to the quality of the questions. Quality can be improved by reading widely and looking at surveys in existing academic papers to inform making your own questions’

Language to evaluate your viewpoint:

  • I was convinced...
  • I have developed significantly…
  • I learned that...
  • The most significant thing that I learned was…
  • Next time, I would definitely…
  • I am unclear about… 
  • I was uncertain about… 

These language choices show that you are attaching a level of significance to your reflection. This enables the reader to see what you think about the learning you achieved and the level of significance you attach to each reflection. 

For example, ‘when using systematic sampling of a mixed woodland, I was convinced that method A would be most effective, but in reality, it was clear that method B produced the most accurate results. I learned that assumptions based on reading previous research can lead to inaccurate predictions. This is very important for me as I will be planning a similar sampling activity as part of my fourth year project’ 

Evaluating is the main element of reflecting. You need to evaluate the outcomes of the activities you have done, your part in them, the learning you achieved and the process/methods you used in your learning, among many other things. It is important that you carefully use language to show the evaluative thinking you have completed to the reader.

Varieties of reflective writing in academic studies

There are a huge variety of reflective writing tasks, which differ between programmes and modules. Some are required by the nature of the subject, like in Education, where reflection is a required standard in teaching.

Some are required by the industry area graduates are training for, such as 'Human Resources Management', where the industry accreditation body require evidence of reflective capabilities in graduates.

In some cases, reflection is about the 'learning to learn' element of degree studies, to help you to become a more effective learner. Below, some of the main reflective writing tasks found in University of York degrees are explored. In each case the advice, guidance and materials do not substitute for those provided within your modules. 

Reflective essay writing

Reflective essay tasks vary greatly in what they require of you. The most important thing to do is to read the assessment brief carefully, attend any sessions and read any materials provided as guidance and to allocate time to ensure you can do the task well.

Google Slides

Reflective learning statements

Reflective learning statements are often attached to dissertations and projects, as well as practical activities. They are an opportunity to think about and tell the reader what you have learned, how you will use the learning, what you can do better next time and to link to other areas, such as your intended career. 

Making a judgement about academic performance

Think of this type of writing as producing your own feedback. How did you do? Why? What could you improve next time? These activities may be a part of modules, they could be attached to a bigger piece of work like a dissertation or essay, or could be just a part of your module learning. 

The four main questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your academic performance. 

  • Why exactly did you achieve the grade you have been awarded? Look at your feedback, the instructions, the marking scheme and talk to your tutors to find out if you don't know. 
  • How did your learning behaviours affect your academic performance? This covers aspects such as attendance, reading for lectures/seminars, asking questions, working with peers... the list goes on. 
  • How did your performance compare to others? Can you identify when others did better or worse? Can you talk to your peers to find out if they are doing something you are not or being more/less effective?
  • What can you do differently to improve your performance? In each case, how will you ensure you can do it? Do you need training? Do you need a guide book or resources? 

When writing about each of the above, you need to keep in mind the context of how you are being asked to judge your performance and ensure the reader gains the detail they need (and as this is usually a marker, this means they can give you a high grade!). 

Writing a learning diary/blog/record

A learning diary or blog has become a very common method of assessing and supporting learning in many degree programmes. The aim is to help you to think through your day-to-day learning and identify what you have and have not learned, why that is and what you can improve as you go along. You are also encouraged to link your learning to bigger thinking, like future careers or your overall degree. 

Other support for reflective writing

Online resources.

The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including reflective writing. Also check your department's guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.

Other useful resources for reflective writing:

how to do a reflective presentation

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how to do a reflective presentation

4. A reflective presentation

A reflective presentation or evaluation is an opportunity to reflect on your experiences of the unit as a whole, identify your key learning, and to help frame your assessment submission. The format of the presentation can take a number of forms, as described by the following students.

“I thought a video presentation would be the best way to showcase sketchbook work and talk through the learning objectives. I feet it was more effective having images to back up the limited words allowed.” 

I opted for a... “written evaluation - putting things on paper is how I naturally work through my thoughts and sift my ideas. The literal editing process helps me to refine my reflections and draw out the essence of my experience.” 

“A video was easier to communicate how I felt and more relaxed.” 

“My video skills are currently non-existent and due to pressure of time I needed to use the medium I am most proficient in. I was intrigued by the idea of the video though and would like to try it at some time in the future. I did watch other students video presentations on the forum with interest.”

“ On this occasion (I opted for) a written evaluation as I'd already prepped for it that way. In future, with the new skills I've learned, I will produce a video.”

Highlight text and then click the Button.

how to do a reflective presentation

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How to Make a “Good” Presentation “Great”

  • Guy Kawasaki

how to do a reflective presentation

Remember: Less is more.

A strong presentation is so much more than information pasted onto a series of slides with fancy backgrounds. Whether you’re pitching an idea, reporting market research, or sharing something else, a great presentation can give you a competitive advantage, and be a powerful tool when aiming to persuade, educate, or inspire others. Here are some unique elements that make a presentation stand out.

  • Fonts: Sans Serif fonts such as Helvetica or Arial are preferred for their clean lines, which make them easy to digest at various sizes and distances. Limit the number of font styles to two: one for headings and another for body text, to avoid visual confusion or distractions.
  • Colors: Colors can evoke emotions and highlight critical points, but their overuse can lead to a cluttered and confusing presentation. A limited palette of two to three main colors, complemented by a simple background, can help you draw attention to key elements without overwhelming the audience.
  • Pictures: Pictures can communicate complex ideas quickly and memorably but choosing the right images is key. Images or pictures should be big (perhaps 20-25% of the page), bold, and have a clear purpose that complements the slide’s text.
  • Layout: Don’t overcrowd your slides with too much information. When in doubt, adhere to the principle of simplicity, and aim for a clean and uncluttered layout with plenty of white space around text and images. Think phrases and bullets, not sentences.

As an intern or early career professional, chances are that you’ll be tasked with making or giving a presentation in the near future. Whether you’re pitching an idea, reporting market research, or sharing something else, a great presentation can give you a competitive advantage, and be a powerful tool when aiming to persuade, educate, or inspire others.

how to do a reflective presentation

  • Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist at Canva and was the former chief evangelist at Apple. Guy is the author of 16 books including Think Remarkable : 9 Paths to Transform Your Life and Make a Difference.

Partner Center

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Video Presentation and Reflections

At-home activity.

For this assignment, students work in small groups to create and edit short video presentations (flexible in genre) to recast their research for a new audience. Students then reflect on their presentations.

Guide to Oral/Signed Communication in Writing Classrooms

To remediate the findings of a research project into a different genre; to work together in a team to produce and edit a short video; to practice oral communication skills in the context of a video; to reflect on the entire course and the research project.

oral presentations; video editing; multimodality; metacognition; remediation of research into a new genre

Part 1: Video

  • Prepare (alone or with 1-2 partners) a recorded video presentation that somehow draws upon your research and what you’ve learned about songs or albums this semester.
  • Make sure that your video is at least 1 minute long, but ideally less than 3 minutes long, for every student participating. Each partner should be prominent in the video, though there is no need to divide the time exactly evenly.
  • Work together to create a topic; you may draw on some or all of the participants’ major research papers, but your topic does not need to be directly connected to everyone’s papers as long as it clearly reflects what you’ve learned in the course.
  • writing and performing an original song
  • performing a monologue (as yourself or in character as an author, poet, character, etc. from course/research sources)
  • making an original music video for a song
  • giving a “TED Talks”-style mini-lecture teaching how to analyze a given exhibit source
  • creating a video review of an exhibit source
  • making a film “trailer” for a biopic or documentary that you envision of one of the authors you researched/encountered

Part 2: Reflections/Analysis/Explanation

  • Write an explanation and analysis of your Video Presentation (at least 200 words; up to half of this may be co-written with your partners), explaining how it was informed by your research and what you learned this semester.
  • Mention at least 5 specific sources (background, exhibit, and/or argument) that fed or inspired your project. Point to specific moments in your video.
  • Note some things you wanted people to notice or take away from your video.

how to do a reflective presentation

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research

How to Make a Successful Research Presentation

Turning a research paper into a visual presentation is difficult; there are pitfalls, and navigating the path to a brief, informative presentation takes time and practice. As a TA for  GEO/WRI 201: Methods in Data Analysis & Scientific Writing this past fall, I saw how this process works from an instructor’s standpoint. I’ve presented my own research before, but helping others present theirs taught me a bit more about the process. Here are some tips I learned that may help you with your next research presentation:

More is more

In general, your presentation will always benefit from more practice, more feedback, and more revision. By practicing in front of friends, you can get comfortable with presenting your work while receiving feedback. It is hard to know how to revise your presentation if you never practice. If you are presenting to a general audience, getting feedback from someone outside of your discipline is crucial. Terms and ideas that seem intuitive to you may be completely foreign to someone else, and your well-crafted presentation could fall flat.

Less is more

Limit the scope of your presentation, the number of slides, and the text on each slide. In my experience, text works well for organizing slides, orienting the audience to key terms, and annotating important figures–not for explaining complex ideas. Having fewer slides is usually better as well. In general, about one slide per minute of presentation is an appropriate budget. Too many slides is usually a sign that your topic is too broad.

how to do a reflective presentation

Limit the scope of your presentation

Don’t present your paper. Presentations are usually around 10 min long. You will not have time to explain all of the research you did in a semester (or a year!) in such a short span of time. Instead, focus on the highlight(s). Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

You will not have time to explain all of the research you did. Instead, focus on the highlights. Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

Craft a compelling research narrative

After identifying the focused research question, walk your audience through your research as if it were a story. Presentations with strong narrative arcs are clear, captivating, and compelling.

  • Introduction (exposition — rising action)

Orient the audience and draw them in by demonstrating the relevance and importance of your research story with strong global motive. Provide them with the necessary vocabulary and background knowledge to understand the plot of your story. Introduce the key studies (characters) relevant in your story and build tension and conflict with scholarly and data motive. By the end of your introduction, your audience should clearly understand your research question and be dying to know how you resolve the tension built through motive.

how to do a reflective presentation

  • Methods (rising action)

The methods section should transition smoothly and logically from the introduction. Beware of presenting your methods in a boring, arc-killing, ‘this is what I did.’ Focus on the details that set your story apart from the stories other people have already told. Keep the audience interested by clearly motivating your decisions based on your original research question or the tension built in your introduction.

  • Results (climax)

Less is usually more here. Only present results which are clearly related to the focused research question you are presenting. Make sure you explain the results clearly so that your audience understands what your research found. This is the peak of tension in your narrative arc, so don’t undercut it by quickly clicking through to your discussion.

  • Discussion (falling action)

By now your audience should be dying for a satisfying resolution. Here is where you contextualize your results and begin resolving the tension between past research. Be thorough. If you have too many conflicts left unresolved, or you don’t have enough time to present all of the resolutions, you probably need to further narrow the scope of your presentation.

  • Conclusion (denouement)

Return back to your initial research question and motive, resolving any final conflicts and tying up loose ends. Leave the audience with a clear resolution of your focus research question, and use unresolved tension to set up potential sequels (i.e. further research).

Use your medium to enhance the narrative

Visual presentations should be dominated by clear, intentional graphics. Subtle animation in key moments (usually during the results or discussion) can add drama to the narrative arc and make conflict resolutions more satisfying. You are narrating a story written in images, videos, cartoons, and graphs. While your paper is mostly text, with graphics to highlight crucial points, your slides should be the opposite. Adapting to the new medium may require you to create or acquire far more graphics than you included in your paper, but it is necessary to create an engaging presentation.

The most important thing you can do for your presentation is to practice and revise. Bother your friends, your roommates, TAs–anybody who will sit down and listen to your work. Beyond that, think about presentations you have found compelling and try to incorporate some of those elements into your own. Remember you want your work to be comprehensible; you aren’t creating experts in 10 minutes. Above all, try to stay passionate about what you did and why. You put the time in, so show your audience that it’s worth it.

For more insight into research presentations, check out these past PCUR posts written by Emma and Ellie .

— Alec Getraer, Natural Sciences Correspondent

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Reflection Toolkit

Gibbs' Reflective Cycle

One of the most famous cyclical models of reflection leading you through six stages exploring an experience: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan.

Gibbs' Reflective Cycle was developed by Graham Gibbs in 1988 to give structure to learning from experiences.  It offers a framework for examining experiences, and given its cyclic nature lends itself particularly well to repeated experiences, allowing you to learn and plan from things that either went well or didn’t go well. It covers 6 stages:

  • Description of the experience
  • Feelings and thoughts about the experience
  • Evaluation of the experience, both good and bad
  • Analysis to make sense of the situation
  • Conclusion about what you learned and what you could have done differently
  • Action plan for how you would deal with similar situations in the future, or general changes you might find appropriate.

Below is further information on:

  • The model – each stage is given a fuller description, guiding questions to ask yourself and an example of how this might look in a reflection
  • Different depths of reflection – an example of reflecting more briefly using this model

This is just one model of reflection. Test it out and see how it works for you. If you find that only a few of the questions are helpful for you, focus on those. However, by thinking about each stage you are more likely to engage critically with your learning experience.

A circular diagram showing the 6 stages of Gibbs' Reflective cycle

This model is a good way to work through an experience. This can be either a stand-alone experience or a situation you go through frequently, for example meetings with a team you have to collaborate with. Gibbs originally advocated its use in repeated situations, but the stages and principles apply equally well for single experiences too. If done with a stand-alone experience, the action plan may become more general and look at how you can apply your conclusions in the future.

For each of the stages of the model a number of helpful questions are outlined below. You don’t have to answer all of them but they can guide you about what sort of things make sense to include in that stage. You might have other prompts that work better for you.

Description

Here you have a chance to describe the situation in detail. The main points to include here concern what happened. Your feelings and conclusions will come later.

Helpful questions:

  • What happened?
  • When and where did it happen?
  • Who was present?
  • What did you and the other people do?
  • What was the outcome of the situation?
  • Why were you there?
  • What did you want to happen?

Example of 'Description'

Here you can explore any feelings or thoughts that you had during the experience and how they may have impacted the experience.

  • What were you feeling during the situation?
  • What were you feeling before and after the situation?
  • What do you think other people were feeling about the situation?
  • What do you think other people feel about the situation now?
  • What were you thinking during the situation?
  • What do you think about the situation now?

Example of 'Feelings'

Here you have a chance to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work in the situation. Try to be as objective and honest as possible. To get the most out of your reflection focus on both the positive and the negative aspects of the situation, even if it was primarily one or the other.

  • What was good and bad about the experience?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What did you and other people contribute to the situation (positively or negatively)?

Example of 'Evaluation'

The analysis step is where you have a chance to make sense of what happened. Up until now you have focused on details around what happened in the situation. Now you have a chance to extract meaning from it. You want to target the different aspects that went well or poorly and ask yourself why. If you are looking to include academic literature, this is the natural place to include it.

  • Why did things go well?
  • Why didn’t it go well?
  • What sense can I make of the situation?
  • What knowledge – my own or others (for example academic literature) can help me understand the situation?

Example of 'Analysis'

Conclusions.

In this section you can make conclusions about what happened. This is where you summarise your learning and highlight what changes to your actions could improve the outcome in the future. It should be a natural response to the previous sections.

  • What did I learn from this situation?
  • How could this have been a more positive situation for everyone involved?
  • What skills do I need to develop for me to handle a situation like this better?
  • What else could I have done?

Example of a 'Conclusion'

Action plan.

At this step you plan for what you would do differently in a similar or related situation in the future. It can also be extremely helpful to think about how you will help yourself to act differently – such that you don’t only plan what you will do differently, but also how you will make sure it happens. Sometimes just the realisation is enough, but other times reminders might be helpful.

  • If I had to do the same thing again, what would I do differently?
  • How will I develop the required skills I need?
  • How can I make sure that I can act differently next time?

Example of 'Action Plan'

Different depths of reflection.

Depending on the context you are doing the reflection in, you might want use different levels of details. Here is the same scenario, which was used in the example above, however it is presented much more briefly.

Adapted from

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

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How To Write A Reflection Statement – A Step-By-Step Guide

Do you know how to write a reflection statement? In this post, we give you a clear process for writing reflection statements.

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Do you know how to write a reflection statement? Reflection statements are tasks that will increasingly be part of your assessments. In the past, reflection statements were only set for Extension 2. Now they will be commonplace in Advanced English for both Year 11 and Year 12.

In this post, we will demystify reflection statements and give you a step-by-step guide to producing statements that will impress your teachers!

What is a Reflection Statement?

A reflection statement is a complementary task that will accompany other assessment types. A reflection statement requires students to discuss the process of producing the associated assessment task.

In a reflection statement, students need to explain why they made the decisions they did. The reflection statement also offers the student an opportunity to say what they think they did well, or did poorly. Students can reflect on what they would change if they could do it over.

If you want to learn more about why self-reflection is such an important skill for students, you should read this excellent article by Cathy Costello at Virtual library .

Why can’t you give a specific definition of what reflection tasks involve?

The exact nature of the reflection task will depend on the assessment task you’ve been asked to reflect on. To give you an idea of this, we’ll look at some examples of the tasks that reflection statements might accompany and what the reflection statements need to address.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of tasks where you could be asked to provide an accompanying reflection task.

How long is a reflection statement?

This will vary.

English Extension 2 reflection statements need to be 1500 words. If you’re not doing English Extension 2, it is unlikely that you will be required to produce something that long.

The tasks you will be set for English Advanced will range between 300 and 800 words. Most reflection tasks will be on the shorter side of things at around the 400-word mark.

Need help perfecting your reflections for Module C?

Learn how to write insightful and constructive reflections with our structured online video lessons, quality resources, and forums to ask your Matrix teachers questions and feedback! Learn more about Matrix+ Online Courses now. 

how to do a reflective presentation

Where will I encounter reflection statements?

You will be set reflective statements throughout Years 11 and 12. They can be attached to any assessment task for any Module.

However, due to the nature of the Common Module: Reading to Write it is likely you will be set one to accompany the main writing task for that Module.

Similarly, in Year 12, Common Module: Texts and Human Experience and Module C: The Craft of Writing are the most likely Modules where you will be asked to reflect on your process of composing.

Remember, there is no limit on how many reflections you will need to produce as they supplement a larger assessment task. You may need to write as many as two in both Year 11 and Year 12.

In the HSC English Advanced Paper 2 (from 2019) and HSC English Extension 1 Paper, you may be asked to write a composition and a reflection statement.

If you study English Extension 2, this is a mandatory accompaniment for your major work. (Please note, while the process discussed in this post is similar to the one for producing an Extension 2 reflection statement, it does not discuss the research and referencing components that you need to complete for an Extension 2 work).

Clearly, it is important to be confident writing reflection statements. Matrix students learn how to produce reflection statements and get help refining them.

The secret to producing killer reflection statements is to follow a process when writing them.

What we’ll do now is look at the process for how to produce ace your reflection statement.

How to write a Reflection Statement – a step-by-step guide

Like everything in English, there is a process you can follow to produce a reflection statement. Even though the specific task may vary. The process for writing the reflection will largely remain the same.

The process for writing reflection statements looks like this:

How to Write A Reflection Statement Step-by-Step

Step 1: Produce the main piece of work for the assessment

Reflection statements are never tasks in and of themselves, they supplement the main task. You will not be able to produce your reflection statement until you have completed and edited your main task.

If you are stuck on your main task and need help, you should read our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English  for detailed advice on all aspects of Year 11 and 12 English.

This can be useful. You may well discover that your reflection statement makes you reconsider some of your choices in your main task. In the process of writing your reflection statement, you may decide you need to redraft your main work.

This is one of the key purposes of writing a reflection statement. It forces you to consider what you have produced and the process of producing it. This is a key part of editing and improving your work.

Step 2: Read the assessment notification

Once you’ve produced your main piece of work, you need to revisit your assessment notification. A task that involves a reflection statement will come in two sections:

  • Section 1 will be the instructions for the main task;
  • Section 2 will be the instructions for the supplementary reflection task.

Rereading the notification is important as it will help you check that you have completed the main task correctly. It will also tell you exactly what you need to do for the second part of the task.

Step 3: Read the marking criteria

For every assessment task that you are given, you MUST be given accompanying marking criteria. Marking criteria are very important. They tell you explicitly what you need to do to get full marks for a specific task.

Reading through the marking criteria at this point serves two purposes:

  • You can double check that you have addressed all the criteria for a Band 6 result for your main task.
  • You can see what you need to do to achieve a Band 6 result for your reflection statement.

Your reflection statement may have very different requirements for a Band 6 mark than your main task. It is important that you are aware of the differences.

Step 4: Unpack what the reflection statement needs you to discuss for a Band 6 result

Now you’re familiar with the notification and marking criteria for the assessment task, you need to get these understandings down in writing.

To do this, you need to take a few steps:

  • Read through the instructions for the task and highlight or underline the keywords (these will usually be the verbs and nouns in the instructions).
  • Now you want to write these words down and define them. If you are unsure of a what a word means, that’s okay. Look it up. This is how you expand your vocabulary.
  • Next, do the same for the marking criteria. Underline what you feel are the keywords and terms. Again, write them down and define them.
  • Now you need to write down what you need to do for a Band 6 result. To do this, write down the instructions in your own words. Include what you need to do for a Band 6 mark in this instruction. Be sure to make note of whether this is meant to be written informally or formally, in the first or third person. You must follow the instruction regarding form for these tasks.

Now you’ve unpacked the question. This means you are now equipped to answer the question you’ve been set.

Next, you need to revisit your main task so you can see what you’ve done and evaluate how you’ve put it together.

Step 5: Reread what you have produced for your main task

Your reflection statement will require you to explain the choices you’ve made in your main composition.

You may not have thought too much about these things when you produced the work. And this is fine. It just doesn’t help you with the reflections statement.

If this is you, you need to read your work with an eye on how you have conveyed information. You must unpack how you have presented your ideas. Essentially, you need to reverse engineer your writing through textual analysis.

Some useful questions to ask yourself when doing this are:

  • How does my work address the assessment instructions and marking criteria?
  • What am I trying to convey here?
  • How does this part of my work address the marking criteria?
  • What technique have I used to convey meaning?
  • Why have I used that technique?
  • Could I have conveyed this idea differently? Would this have been more effective? Why?

Make notes while you do this. You want to be able to refer back to your findings in detail when you write the reflection statement.

Once you’ve finished this, you’re ready to start planning. By now you should have:

  • A detailed breakdown of what your task requires you to discuss in your reflection statement and how to discuss it.
  • A detailed set of notes about the piece you have produced for the main task.

Step 6: Plan your reflection statement

As with any task, you want to plan things before you get stuck in. Planning your work forces you to consider what information you must include and how you will structure that information in your response. This is an important part of the critical thinking process.

Reflection statements need to have structure, too.

You need to ensure that you introduce your ideas clearly, then expand on them, and, finally, summarise and conclude your statement. Even if you only need to produce a 250-word paragraph, you still need to ensure that it follows the conventions of composition structure. You will lose marks for presenting idea soup.

To plan your response, you’ll need to get your notes on the task and your notes on your response together. Then:

  • Read through your notes on the question. Remind yourself what you need to discuss in your reflection statement.
  • Write down what you will discuss in your reflection statement.
  • Now you need to think about what parts of your main task you will discuss. To do this, refer to your notes about your main task. Ask yourself, “which parts of my task are most relevant to what the task is asking me to discuss?”
  • Note down what you think will be the order for presenting your reflection. For example, you may want to start with your structural decisions before discussing your use of techniques or you may want to discuss your influences before discussing your ideas.

Once you’ve got your plan together, you’re ready to write. Matrix students get advice on their assessment tasks from their Matrix Tutors and Teachers. It might be helpful to ask a peer or parent for their thoughts if your school teacher can’t provide advice.

Step 7: Write your introductory statement

The length of your introduction will be contingent on the specifics of your task:

  • If your reflection statement is less than 400 words, you will need to produce one or two sentences.
  • If you are writing a longer reflection statement of more than 400 words, you will need to write a short introduction.
  • If you are producing an Extension 2 reflection statement, this will need to be a longer and more detailed introductory paragraph.

When writing your introduction, you must:

  • Introduce the topic you will discuss;
  • Explain how this reflects on the work that you are discussing;
  • Make reference to the Module you are studying.

Once you have produced your introduction, you are now ready to develop your discussion and discuss the specifics of your main piece of work.

Step 8: Write the body of your argument

Now you’ve introduced your subject matter you need to start presenting an argument. Even though you are reflecting on your own work, you still need to use examples to demonstrate how you’ve set about responding to the main task.

You will need to present several examples to support your argument, but the number of examples will vary depending on the length of the task you’ve been set.

For a shorter reflection, try to present two or three examples and discuss them in detail. If you need to produce several paragraphs, you should be aiming at around four per paragraph.

To do this:

  • Introduce the idea you were trying to convey (this might be an influence on your work, a technique you’ve tried to use, or a theme you’ve tried to explore).
  • Present an example of this idea.
  • Explain how you have attempted to use or explore this idea.
  • Explain how this addresses the instructions and marking criteria for the task.
  • Explain how this is relevant to the Module you are studying.
  • Comment on other choices you could have made and why you didn’t use the other option.
  • Repeat this for each example that you need to support your point.

Once you’ve done this, you need to conclude your reflection.

Step 9: Write your concluding statement

Your final statement needs to address the broad idea you have discussed in your response. It will need to be at least two sentences. A longer reflection will require a longer concluding statement; if you had a separate introduction you will require a separate conclusion.

To write your concluding statement:

  • Summarise the key ideas that you have discussed.
  • Make a statement about what you have taken away from your study of the Module and the process of producing this task and reflecting on it.

Now you need to revise what you’ve written.

Step 10: Proof and edit your work

It is really important that you proof and edit your work before submitting. You don’t want to throw away marks on typos and unnecessary grammatical errors. Proofing your work is something you must do after you finish any task.

To proof your reflection statement:

  • Reread your summary of the notification of the task and the marking criteria.
  • Read your reflection statement aloud.
  • Whenever you encounter a mistake or a sentence that sounds ungrammatical, correct it.
  • Pay attention to the logic of your argument. Does it make sense?
  • Ask yourself, have I addressed the instructions for the task?
  • Ask yourself, have I addressed the marking criteria for a Band 6 response.
  • Redraft your reflection statement in its entirety. Don’t submit your first draft. Your second draft will always be better.

If you would like to know more about the editing process, you should read Part 7 of our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English: How to Edit Your Work .

Now you’ve finished a second draft you can submit. If you can, you should try and get some feedback. Matrix students get regular feedback from their Matrix Tutors and Teachers. Feedback on your work allows you to take somebody else’s perspective and use it to improve your marks.

how to do a reflective presentation

Written by Matrix English Team

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Student Presentation Reflections

how to do a reflective presentation

Teachers as Paragons

I struggle with articulating this point, but for the purposes of this post, I think that the most valid student-teacher dynamic is not the Jedi Master and Padawan method, but instead one where a teacher serves as a paragon of a small set of skills/attributes and the student’s role is to assimilate their experiences with all of their teachers into their own paradigm.

While this viewpoint is not revolutionary, I find that hubris often prevents a teacher from maximizing the benefit of this approach. Too often I find myself or my peers trying to be too many things to too many students. I think it is important for a teacher to make explicit commitments about which skill or attribute they wish to be the avatar for.

I chose presentation skills as my niche of instruction because I benefited greatly from the Public Speaking and Speech and Debate classes I took in high school. When I was in college, I saw very clearly those of my peers who did not have those same opportunities. I vowed that my students would be afforded opportunities to develop their presentation skills in my class no matter the other classes offered by my school.

how to do a reflective presentation

Reflection Process

I plan on creating many posts about the different resources, examples, and assignments that I use to improve my students’ presentation skills. One of the core strategies, and I believe the most powerful, that I use to improve student presentations is a presentation reflection process.

In order to make presentation reflections be a valid assignment, you must film your students as they present—something that my 11th grade Public Speaking teacher Mrs. Shank did for me 15 years ago. Admittedly, being filmed for a presentation was nerve-wracking; however, it was also amazing beneficial. However, instead of recording presentations on VHS cassette like Mrs. Shank did, I record presentations digitally and post them as unlisted YouTube videos .

Recording Presentations

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you use a tripod to record the student presentations. You might think you can cobble together books and tape to hold a camera steady, but this is the wrong call.

  • If you plan on using your phone as the camera, you will need a mount to attach it to your tripod , and an improved microphone will certainly help with the audio quality, but it’s not necessary.
  • If you plan on using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, then you really need to improve the audio. To improve the quality of the video’s captured sound, I suggest using a shotgun microphone .

Whatever hardware you use, it is important to share with the students the camera’s field of view, so they know where they should stand. The reflection assignment is much harder if the student does not appear on camera.

Reflection Assignment

Recording the presentation is the first step, but students will need to thoughtfully watch their presentations to see areas for improvement. To guide the students’ thoughts while they watch their presentation video, I developed three sequential reflection assignments, one for each of the major presentations in my class.

This reflection process is truly eye-opening. Students are routinely shocked when they watch the video and see the nervous fidgeting or hand-wringing that they swear never happened. The pedagogical impact of a student watching themselves on video is many times more powerful than even the most helpful rubric or feedback.

In addition to reflecting on what happened, an important part of the assignment is also identifying five points on which to improve and coming up with action items for each point. An example of an improvement point and an action item would be:

  • I will look up the phonetic pronunciation of the words ahead of time and practice saying them to my teacher.

I always assign this as homework and give students a week to do the assignment after their presentation. I try very hard to make sure the videos get processed, uploaded, and shared with the students as soon as possible to make sure that things are fresh in their mind.

Students sometimes balk at the number of words they have to write. However, since they are writing semi-informally about themselves and have a video to go off, students routinely surpass 1000 words without blinking an eye.

Sometimes when I explain presentation reflections to teachers, they exclaim that it is too much work for them to do or they don’t know how to do the “video stuff” or something else along those lines. The video recording/editing process can be as basic or as advanced as you want it to be. Since video editing is a core part of my multimedia business, there is a lot of stuff that I do to the videos that is unnecessary but a point of pride for me.

In all honesty, a perfectly functional presentation video takes less than 3 minutes more than the presentation itself. Whether you spend 3 minutes or 30 minutes editing a presentation video, that time is returned many-fold by the presentation skill increase of your students.

Hands down, the most consistent piece of feedback I receive from alumni is that they dominate their presentations in college. This makes me very proud. I committed to developing presentation skills in my students since my very first year of teaching. Hearing back from alumni that they are drastically better than their peers at presenting puts a smile on my face every time.

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The Importance of Self-Reflection: How Looking Inward Can Improve Your Mental Health

Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

how to do a reflective presentation

Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program.

how to do a reflective presentation

Sunwoo Jung / Getty Images

Why Is Self-Reflection So Important?

When self-reflection becomes unhealthy, how to practice self-reflection, what to do if self-reflection makes you uncomfortable, incorporating self-reflection into your routine.

How well do you know yourself? Do you think about why you do the things you do? Self-reflection is a skill that can help you understand yourself better.

Self-reflection involves being present with yourself and intentionally focusing your attention inward to examine your thoughts, feelings, actions, and motivations, says Angeleena Francis , LMHC, executive director for AMFM Healthcare.

Active self-reflection can help grow your understanding of who you are , what values you believe in, and why you think and act the way you do, says Kristin Wilson , MA, LPC, CCTP, RYT, chief experience officer for Newport Healthcare.

This article explores the benefits and importance of self-reflection, as well as some strategies to help you practice it and incorporate it into your daily life. We also discuss when self-reflection can become unhealthy and suggest some coping strategies.

Self-reflection is important because it helps you form a self-concept and contributes toward self-development.

Builds Your Self-Concept

Self-reflection is critical because it contributes to your self-concept, which is an important part of your identity.

Your self-concept includes your thoughts about your traits, abilities, beliefs, values, roles, and relationships. It plays an influential role in your mood, judgment, and behavioral patterns.

Reflecting inward allows you to know yourself and continue to get to know yourself as you change and develop as a person, says Francis. It helps you understand and strengthen your self-concept as you evolve with time.

Enables Self-Development

Self-reflection also plays a key role in self-development. “It is a required skill for personal growth ,” says Wilson.

Being able to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, or what you did right or wrong, can help you identify areas for growth and improvement, so you can work on them.

For instance, say you gave a presentation at school or work that didn’t go well, despite putting in a lot of work on the project. Spending a little time on self-reflection can help you understand that even though you spent a lot of time working on the project and creating the presentation materials, you didn’t practice giving the presentation. Realizing the problem can help you correct it. So, the next time you have to give a presentation, you can practice it on your colleagues or loved ones first.

Or, say you’ve just broken up with your partner. While it’s easy to blame them for everything that went wrong, self-reflection can help you understand what behaviors of yours contributed to the split. Being mindful of these behaviors can be helpful in other relationships.

Without self-reflection, you would continue to do what you’ve always done and as a result, you may continue to face the same problems you’ve always faced.

Benefits of Self-Reflection

These are some of the benefits of self-reflection, according to the experts:

  • Increased self-awareness: Spending time in self-reflection can help build greater self-awareness , says Wilson. Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence. It helps you recognize and understand your own emotions, as well as the impact of your emotions on your thoughts and behaviors.
  • Greater sense of control: Self-reflection involves practicing mindfulness and being present with yourself at the moment. This can help you feel more grounded and in control of yourself, says Francis.
  • Improved communication skills: Self-reflection can help you improve your communication skills, which can benefit your relationships. Understanding what you’re feeling can help you express yourself clearly, honestly, and empathetically.
  • Deeper alignment with core values: Self-reflection can help you understand what you believe in and why. This can help ensure that your words and actions are more aligned with your core values, Wilson explains. It can also help reduce cognitive dissonance , which is the discomfort you may experience when your behavior doesn’t align with your values, says Francis.
  • Better decision-making skills: Self-reflection can help you make better decisions for yourself, says Wilson. Understanding yourself better can help you evaluate all your options and how they will impact you with more clarity. This can help you make sound decisions that you’re more comfortable with, says Francis.
  • Greater accountability: Self-reflection can help you hold yourself accountable to yourself, says Francis. It can help you evaluate your actions and recognize personal responsibility. It can also help you hold yourself accountable for the goals you’re working toward.

Self-reflection is a healthy practice that is important for mental well-being. However, it can become harmful if it turns into rumination, self-criticism, self-judgment, negative self-talk , and comparison to others, says Wilson.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • Rumination: Experiencing excessive and repetitive stressful or negative thoughts. Rumination is often obsessive and interferes with other types of mental activity.
  • Self-judgment: Constantly judging yourself and often finding yourself lacking. 
  • Negative self-talk: Allowing the voice inside your head to discourage you from doing things you want to do. Negative self-talk is often self-defeating.
  • Self-criticism: Constantly criticizing your actions and decisions.
  • Comparison: Endlessly comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior.

Kristin Wilson, LPC, CCTP

Looking inward may activate your inner critic, but true self-reflection comes from a place of neutrality and non-judgment.

When anxious thoughts and feelings come up in self-reflection, Wilson says it’s important to practice self-compassion and redirect your focus to actionable insights that can propel your life forward. “We all have faults and room for improvement. Reflect on the behaviors or actions you want to change and take steps to do so.”

It can help to think of what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. For instance, if your friend said they were worried about the status of their job after they gave a presentation that didn’t go well, you would probably be kind to them, tell them not to worry, and to focus on improving their presentation skills in the future. Apply the same compassion to yourself and focus on what you can control.

If you are unable to calm your mind of racing or negative thoughts, Francis recommends seeking support from a trusted person in your life or a mental health professional. “Patterns of negative self-talk, self-doubt , or criticism should be addressed through professional support, as negative cognitions of oneself can lead to symptoms of depression if not resolved.”

Wilson suggests some strategies that can help you practice self-reflection:

  • Ask yourself open-ended questions: Start off by asking yourself open-ended questions that will prompt self-reflection, such as: “Am I doing what makes me happy?” “Are there things I’d like to improve about myself?” or “What could I have done differently today?” “Am I taking anything or anyone for granted?” Notice what thoughts and feelings arise within you for each question and then begin to think about why. Be curious about yourself and be open to whatever comes up.
  • Keep a journal: Journaling your thoughts and responses to these questions is an excellent vehicle for self-expression. It can be helpful to look back at your responses, read how you handled things in the past, assess the outcome, and look for where you might make changes in the future.
  • Try meditation: Meditation can also be a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. Even if it’s only for five minutes, practice sitting in silence and paying attention to what comes up for you. Notice which thoughts are fleeting and which come up more often.
  • Process major events and emotions: When something happens in your life that makes you feel especially good or bad, take the time to reflect on what occurred, how it made you feel, and either how you can get to that feeling again or what you might do differently the next time. Writing down your thoughts in a journal can help.
  • Make a self-reflection board: Create a self-reflection board of positive attributes that you add to regularly. Celebrate your authentic self and the ways you stay true to who you are. Having a visual representation of self-reflection can be motivating.

You may avoid self-reflection if it brings up difficult emotions and makes you feel uncomfortable, says Francis. She recommends preparing yourself to get comfortable with the uncomfortable before you start.

Think of your time in self-reflection as a safe space within yourself. “Avoid judging yourself while you explore your inner thoughts, feelings, and motives of behavior,” says Francis. Simply notice what comes up and accept it. Instead of focusing on fears, worries, or regrets, try to look for areas of growth and improvement.

“Practice neutrality and self-compassion so that self-reflection is a positive experience that you will want to do regularly,” says Wilson.

Francis suggests some strategies that can help you incorporate self-reflection into your daily routine:

  • Dedicate time to it: it’s important to dedicate time to self-reflection and build it into your routine. Find a slot that works for your schedule—it could be five minutes each morning while drinking coffee or 30 minutes sitting outside in nature once per week.
  • Pick a quiet spot: It can be hard to focus inward if your environment is busy or chaotic. Choose a calm and quiet space that is free of distractions so you can hear your own thoughts.
  • Pay attention to your senses: Pay attention to your senses. Sensory input is an important component of self-awareness.

Nowak A, Vallacher RR, Bartkowski W, Olson L. Integration and expression: The complementary functions of self-reflection . J Pers . 2022;10.1111/jopy.12730. doi:10.1111/jopy.12730

American Psychological Association. Self-concept .

Dishon N, Oldmeadow JA, Critchley C, Kaufman J. The effect of trait self-awareness, self-reflection, and perceptions of choice meaningfulness on indicators of social identity within a decision-making context . Front Psychol . 2017;8:2034. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02034

Drigas AS, Papoutsi C. A new layered model on emotional intelligence . Behav Sci (Basel) . 2018;8(5):45. doi:10.3390/bs8050045

American Psychological Association. Rumination .

By Sanjana Gupta Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

TCK Publishing

How to Write a Reflection Paper in 5 Steps (plus Template and Sample Essay)

by Kaelyn Barron | 15 comments

how to write a reflection paper blog post image

If you’ve been assigned the task of writing a reflection paper on a book you’ve read, film you’ve seen, or an event you’ve attended, you may be wondering where to start.

After all, there are few rules when it comes to writing a reflection, since it’s basically just your reaction and thoughts on the material—and all that creative freedom can be intimidating at first! But even with this lack of structure, there are steps you can take to write a reflection paper that adds value to the discussion.

What Is a Reflection Paper?

A reflection paper is a type of essay that requires you to reflect, or give your thoughts and opinions, on a certain subject or material. This type of essay is often assigned to students after they’ve read a book or watched a film.

However, it can also be written in a professional setting, often by those who study education or psychology, to reflect on an individual’s behavior. Or, you can write a reflection paper for your own purposes, to work out your thoughts and feelings on a personal subject.

If you’re a student, in most cases, you’ll be given a prompt or question to guide your reflection. Often, these assignments are completed in class, so the reflections are generally under 1,000 words. The good news is that there are on wrong answers!

However, there are things you can do to write more effective reflections that will give you (and your teachers, if applicable) more insight to your views and thought processes.

How to Write a Reflection Paper

how to write a reflection essay image

Use these 5 tips to write a thoughtful and insightful reflection paper.

1. Answer key questions.

To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you’ve been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions.

For example:

  • What was your first reaction to the material? Was it positive, negative, or neutral?
  • Do you find the writer (or director, presenter, etc.) to be credible?
  • Has the material changed your mind in some way?
  • Which issues or questions does the material fail to address?
  • What new or remaining questions do you have after reading/viewing the material?
  • What have you learned from this material?
  • Does it remind you of any personal experiences, or anything else you’ve seen or read?

Answering these questions will help you formulate your own opinions, draw conclusions, and write an insightful reflection.

2. Identify a theme.

Once you’ve answered a few basic questions, look at your responses and see if you can identify any common themes .

What’s the main takeaway? If you could summarize your thoughts on this piece in one sentence, what would you say?

Think about what you’ve learned, or how the material has affected you. Be honest about how you feel, especially if the material incites any strong opinions or reactions from you.

3. Summarize.

Your reflection paper should not be just a mere summary of the material you’ve read or studied. However, you should give a recap of the most important aspects, and offer specific examples when necessary to back up any assertions you make.

Include information about the author (if you’re writing about a book or article). If you’re writing about a work of fiction, very briefly and concisely summarize the plot. If writing about nonfiction, share the author’s thesis, or the main argument they’re trying to make.

Just be careful to not overdo the summary—you don’t want to reproduce or offer a play-by-play of the original work, but rather offer enough context so readers can appreciate your reflection and analysis.

4. Analyze.

Your reflection paper is a great place to practice your critical thinking skills , which include analysis. The questions in Step 1 will offer you a good start when it comes to thinking more analytically.

Once you’ve offered enough context for your readers by including a brief summary, analyze the

  • the overall tone of the work
  • the credibility of the writer (or producer of the content)
  • potential biases
  • the intended purpose of the material

If you’re writing a reflection paper on a work of fiction, be sure to check out our guide to writing a literary analysis.

5. Make connections.

reflection paper tips image

Does the material remind you of any personal experiences you’ve had, or other books or films you’ve encountered? Can you connect it to any current events or real-world examples?

Then, zoom out and try to see the bigger picture. What do these connections have in common? Can you point out a larger, more universal theme?

The more of these connections you can tie in to your reflection to create a cohesive picture, the better.

Reflection Paper Template

Reflection papers don’t really require a rigid structure—the most important thing is that you communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. (Of course, if you received specific guidelines from your instructor, you should stick to those.)

The following is a loose outline that you can use to guide you through your reflection paper:

  • Include: Title, Author Name (or Director, Photographer, etc.).
  • Briefly summarize the work and its main themes.
  • Write a thesis that states the work’s overall impact on you.
  • When relevant, include specific quotes or examples to support your claims.
  • Explore your main reactions and thoughts after reviewing the material.
  • Build connections to personal experiences and other works you’ve encountered.
  • Show how the ideas from your body paragraphs tie together to support your thesis.
  • Summarize the overall effect the material had on you.

Reflection Paper Example

The following is an example of a reflection paper I wrote for a university course in response to an academic article on conflict resolution, found in the book Managing Conflict in a World Adrift :

In “Understanding the Gendered Nature of Power,” Oudraat and Kuehnast explain how peace theorists have fallen short in their analyses of the role of gender (and of women especially). Because gender roles are a reflection of power dynamics within societies, they can also serve as valuable indicators of dynamics within conflicts and post-conflict processes.

The authors emphasize the importance of using international intervention wisely. Although postconflict reconstruction might seem like an opportunity to rethink gender norms and roles, it seems that postconflict programs tend more often to reproduce gender norms that “no longer contribute productive approaches to society and escalate social tensions.” While I think we should always strive to bring more opportunities to women and eradicate gender biases, I agree with the authors that international actors must “be attentive to the gendered nature of the societies in which they intervene.” We have seen many cases where international intervention, although well-meaning, can end up hurting a community even more by meddling without truly knowing the conditions of a local situation.

One example of such misguided help is the campaign for “clean stoves” in African villages, based on the idea that women are assaulted when they look for fuel and water outside their camps. Providing clean stoves does nothing to address the root of the problem (sexual violence), and in fact further confines women to their homes, while many studies show that times of collecting water or other supplies are often critical opportunities for women to communicate, socialize, exchange ideas, and so on. In many cases it is the only time they will leave the home or village that day. The solution proposed by the clean stoves campaign reminds me of the culture surrounding sexual violence in the United States, where rather than working to attack the root causes of such crimes, we instead teach women that it is unsafe to go out late, or to dress in a certain way.

In order to make any progress, I agree with the authors when they suggest we need qualitative data that capture the changing nature of societies coming out of war. We must first identify the information we lack in order to move forward wisely and effectively.

Writing a Reflective Essay

Whether you’ve been assigned a reflection paper for school or simply want to write one for your own exercise, these tips will help you get the most from the experience.

Remember that when you’re consuming any type of media, it’s good practice to reflect on what you’ve absorbed and ask critical questions so you can draw your own conclusions.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:

  • 19 Books That Make You Think: A List of Thought-Provoking Reads
  • Why You Should Keep a Reading Journal: Tips for More Reflective Reading
  • How to Write a Literary Analysis: 6 Tips for the Perfect Essay
  • How to Summarize a Novel: 4 Steps to Writing a Great Summary

Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

15 Comments

Glecie Centeno Pagilagan

Very helpful, thanks a lot!

Marielle

Thankful for this! Thanks to you!

Kaelyn Barron

we’re glad you found the post helpful! :)

Frehiwot Kebede

In my understanding, this post helped me to guide my students while I was teaching them how to write effective reflection paper. In addition to this, I had time to correct my past through this post. Thanks a lot!!!

I’m so glad you found this post helpful for your students! :)

Larry Sharif

I believe I understood the steps and instructions on how to write a reflection paper and it makes lots of sense to me now than before . What I was really hoping for was that you could give us an example of a text or an article written followed by a reflection that was done on that article . Maybe I`m asking too much. Thank you though!!!!

Hi Larry, I’m glad the article was helpful for your reflection paper! I tried to provide an example of one of my own papers, but I couldn’t find the full text of the article I wrote on (it was from a textbook). I’ll try to find another example though :)

Benjamin Hussaini Gwamna

am very empress with this information. it really helps me to write an effective reflection papers

thanks Benjamin, we’re so glad you found it helpful! :)

Mark

This is very helpful as I am preparing for my portfolio defense. Many thanks Mark

I’m so glad you found it helpful, Mark!

Sara

Very informative.

Thanks Sara, I’m glad you found the post helpful! :)

Lyn gamora

Many thanks for this information,,very needed today for my final exam.

You’re very welcome Lyn, I hope it helped for your exam! :)

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how to do a reflective presentation

Guide on How to Write a Reflection Paper with Free Tips and Example

how to do a reflective presentation

A reflection paper is a very common type of paper among college students. Almost any subject you enroll in requires you to express your opinion on certain matters. In this article, we will explain how to write a reflection paper and provide examples and useful tips to make the essay writing process easier.

Reflection papers should have an academic tone yet be personal and subjective. In this paper, you should analyze and reflect upon how an experience, academic task, article, or lecture shaped your perception and thoughts on a subject.

Here is what you need to know about writing an effective critical reflection paper. Stick around until the end of our guide to get some useful writing tips from the writing team at EssayPro — a research paper writing service

What Is a Reflection Paper

A reflection paper is a type of paper that requires you to write your opinion on a topic, supporting it with your observations and personal experiences. As opposed to presenting your reader with the views of other academics and writers, in this essay, you get an opportunity to write your point of view—and the best part is that there is no wrong answer. It is YOUR opinion, and it is your job to express your thoughts in a manner that will be understandable and clear for all readers that will read your paper. The topic range is endless. Here are some examples: whether or not you think aliens exist, your favorite TV show, or your opinion on the outcome of WWII. You can write about pretty much anything.

There are three types of reflection paper; depending on which one you end up with, the tone you write with can be slightly different. The first type is the educational reflective paper. Here your job is to write feedback about a book, movie, or seminar you attended—in a manner that teaches the reader about it. The second is the professional paper. Usually, it is written by people who study or work in education or psychology. For example, it can be a reflection of someone’s behavior. And the last is the personal type, which explores your thoughts and feelings about an individual subject.

However, reflection paper writing will stop eventually with one very important final paper to write - your resume. This is where you will need to reflect on your entire life leading up to that moment. To learn how to list education on resume perfectly, follow the link on our dissertation writing services .

Unlock the potential of your thoughts with EssayPro . Order a reflection paper and explore a range of other academic services tailored to your needs. Dive deep into your experiences, analyze them with expert guidance, and turn your insights into an impactful reflection paper.

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Free Reflection Paper Example

Now that we went over all of the essentials about a reflection paper and how to approach it, we would like to show you some examples that will definitely help you with getting started on your paper.

Reflection Paper Format

Reflection papers typically do not follow any specific format. Since it is your opinion, professors usually let you handle them in any comfortable way. It is best to write your thoughts freely, without guideline constraints. If a personal reflection paper was assigned to you, the format of your paper might depend on the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers (also known as reflection essays) can typically range from about 400-800 words in length.

Here’s how we can suggest you format your reflection paper:

common reflection paper format

How to Start a Reflection Paper

The first thing to do when beginning to work on a reflection essay is to read your article thoroughly while taking notes. Whether you are reflecting on, for example, an activity, book/newspaper, or academic essay, you want to highlight key ideas and concepts.

You can start writing your reflection paper by summarizing the main concept of your notes to see if your essay includes all the information needed for your readers. It is helpful to add charts, diagrams, and lists to deliver your ideas to the audience in a better fashion.

After you have finished reading your article, it’s time to brainstorm. We’ve got a simple brainstorming technique for writing reflection papers. Just answer some of the basic questions below:

  • How did the article affect you?
  • How does this article catch the reader’s attention (or does it all)?
  • Has the article changed your mind about something? If so, explain how.
  • Has the article left you with any questions?
  • Were there any unaddressed critical issues that didn’t appear in the article?
  • Does the article relate to anything from your past reading experiences?
  • Does the article agree with any of your past reading experiences?

Here are some reflection paper topic examples for you to keep in mind before preparing to write your own:

  • How my views on rap music have changed over time
  • My reflection and interpretation of Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Why my theory about the size of the universe has changed over time
  • How my observations for clinical psychological studies have developed in the last year

The result of your brainstorming should be a written outline of the contents of your future paper. Do not skip this step, as it will ensure that your essay will have a proper flow and appropriate organization.

Another good way to organize your ideas is to write them down in a 3-column chart or table.

how to write a reflection paper

Do you want your task look awesome?

If you would like your reflection paper to look professional, feel free to check out one of our articles on how to format MLA, APA or Chicago style

Writing a Reflection Paper Outline

Reflection paper should contain few key elements:

Introduction

Your introduction should specify what you’re reflecting upon. Make sure that your thesis informs your reader about your general position, or opinion, toward your subject.

  • State what you are analyzing: a passage, a lecture, an academic article, an experience, etc...)
  • Briefly summarize the work.
  • Write a thesis statement stating how your subject has affected you.

One way you can start your thesis is to write:

Example: “After reading/experiencing (your chosen topic), I gained the knowledge of…”

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should examine your ideas and experiences in context to your topic. Make sure each new body paragraph starts with a topic sentence.

Your reflection may include quotes and passages if you are writing about a book or an academic paper. They give your reader a point of reference to fully understand your feedback. Feel free to describe what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt.

Example: “I saw many people participating in our weight experiment. The atmosphere felt nervous yet inspiring. I was amazed by the excitement of the event.”

As with any conclusion, you should summarize what you’ve learned from the experience. Next, tell the reader how your newfound knowledge has affected your understanding of the subject in general. Finally, describe the feeling and overall lesson you had from the reading or experience.

There are a few good ways to conclude a reflection paper:

  • Tie all the ideas from your body paragraphs together, and generalize the major insights you’ve experienced.
  • Restate your thesis and summarize the content of your paper.

We have a separate blog post dedicated to writing a great conclusion. Be sure to check it out for an in-depth look at how to make a good final impression on your reader.

Need a hand? Get help from our writers. Edit, proofread or buy essay .

How to Write a Reflection Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: create a main theme.

After you choose your topic, write a short summary about what you have learned about your experience with that topic. Then, let readers know how you feel about your case — and be honest. Chances are that your readers will likely be able to relate to your opinion or at least the way you form your perspective, which will help them better understand your reflection.

For example: After watching a TEDx episode on Wim Hof, I was able to reevaluate my preconceived notions about the negative effects of cold exposure.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas and Experiences You’ve Had Related to Your Topic

You can write down specific quotes, predispositions you have, things that influenced you, or anything memorable. Be personal and explain, in simple words, how you felt.

For example: • A lot of people think that even a small amount of carbohydrates will make people gain weight • A specific moment when I struggled with an excess weight where I avoided carbohydrates entirely • The consequences of my actions that gave rise to my research • The evidence and studies of nutritional science that claim carbohydrates alone are to blame for making people obese • My new experience with having a healthy diet with a well-balanced intake of nutrients • The influence of other people’s perceptions on the harm of carbohydrates, and the role their influence has had on me • New ideas I’ve created as a result of my shift in perspective

Step 3: Analyze How and Why These Ideas and Experiences Have Affected Your Interpretation of Your Theme

Pick an idea or experience you had from the last step, and analyze it further. Then, write your reasoning for agreeing or disagreeing with it.

For example, Idea: I was raised to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight.

Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of research to overcome my beliefs finally. Afterward, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key to a healthy lifestyle.

For example: Idea: I was brought up to think that carbohydrates make people gain weight. Analysis: Most people think that if they eat any carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, and sugar, they will gain weight. I believe in this misconception to such a great extent that I avoided carbohydrates entirely. As a result, my blood glucose levels were very low. I needed to do a lot of my own research to finally overcome my beliefs. After, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key for having a healthy lifestyle.

Step 4: Make Connections Between Your Observations, Experiences, and Opinions

Try to connect your ideas and insights to form a cohesive picture for your theme. You can also try to recognize and break down your assumptions, which you may challenge in the future.

There are some subjects for reflection papers that are most commonly written about. They include:

  • Book – Start by writing some information about the author’s biography and summarize the plot—without revealing the ending to keep your readers interested. Make sure to include the names of the characters, the main themes, and any issues mentioned in the book. Finally, express your thoughts and reflect on the book itself.
  • Course – Including the course name and description is a good place to start. Then, you can write about the course flow, explain why you took this course, and tell readers what you learned from it. Since it is a reflection paper, express your opinion, supporting it with examples from the course.
  • Project – The structure for a reflection paper about a project has identical guidelines to that of a course. One of the things you might want to add would be the pros and cons of the course. Also, mention some changes you might want to see, and evaluate how relevant the skills you acquired are to real life.
  • Interview – First, introduce the person and briefly mention the discussion. Touch on the main points, controversies, and your opinion of that person.

Writing Tips

Everyone has their style of writing a reflective essay – and that's the beauty of it; you have plenty of leeway with this type of paper – but there are still a few tips everyone should incorporate.

Before you start your piece, read some examples of other papers; they will likely help you better understand what they are and how to approach yours. When picking your subject, try to write about something unusual and memorable — it is more likely to capture your readers' attention. Never write the whole essay at once. Space out the time slots when you work on your reflection paper to at least a day apart. This will allow your brain to generate new thoughts and reflections.

  • Short and Sweet – Most reflection papers are between 250 and 750 words. Don't go off on tangents. Only include relevant information.
  • Clear and Concise – Make your paper as clear and concise as possible. Use a strong thesis statement so your essay can follow it with the same strength.
  • Maintain the Right Tone – Use a professional and academic tone—even though the writing is personal.
  • Cite Your Sources – Try to cite authoritative sources and experts to back up your personal opinions.
  • Proofreading – Not only should you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but you should proofread to focus on your organization as well. Answer the question presented in the introduction.

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Self Reflection on 1st Presentation

Self-Critique of my first presentation                                             Presenter: Drilona Aliu

Description of Experience 

Since I was the last one to present in class, I had the advantage of seeing everyone else presenting and catching on their strategies. It seemed that all the previous presenters were very comfortable on presenting and they rarely showed any sign on nervousness. Usually, I am able to control my nervousness by giving a “talk” to myself and I imagine myself as the subject matter expert. By having these positive thoughts in my mind, I am able to control nervousness that may be created as a result of the fear of talking in front of people and sharing something very personal such as part of my childhood.

The most challenging aspect of this presentation was creating a meaningful story through an effective framework that would transmit my emotions as a child and my journey to learn English. I find it very challenging when I have a lot to share but do not know how to properly deliver my message in a logical order. While watching the DVD, I was able to identify that this challenge was evident although I tried to hide it as I was speaking. The most surprising aspect of my speech was that I used a lot of facial expressions. This might have always been the case but because I never watched myself presenting I have not been able to identify this habit. I could have done better in certain areas such as volume and speech rate, but I believe that I gave a good overall impression.

I believe that my first speech was effective and kept the audience interested. There is more room to improve upon the introduction and conclusion such as engaging the audience in my opening question: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Such questions are always a good way to start the speech as it keeps the audience interested. I also think that due to time management constraints, I could have done a better job on the conclusion such as ending my speech how this journey affected the path I chose in life. This would “justify” how English has played a role in my life and how he has influenced my personal and professional growth.

I believe that my delivery was generally clear and organized;  however, while watching the DVD I noticed that I need to work more on the speech flow and find effective ways to engage the audience. My posture and eye contact were good but I definitely need to work on my speech rate, such as making more pauses so the audience is able to “digest” the information provided and not feel overwhelmed with the amount of the information at a fast pace. I also think I “overdid” my hand gestures and this is something that I need to improve. Being from the Balkan region, it is part of our culture to excessively use hands when we talk. We are very expressive that way and that may be distracting for many people in the audience. There is also room for eliminating fillers such as um as I tend to use them quite a bit, especially in the beginning of my speech.

Overall, I believe that I have many strengths such as the ability to speak without feeling overwhelmed or very nervous,  to quickly think and avoid mistakes without getting frustrated (mistakes are for human beings), and to deliver my speech with  effective voice projection and eye contact. The main areas for improvement would be to engage the audience as they may relate more to my speech, use fewer facial and hand gestures, speak at a slower pace and make appropriate pauses, and use fewer fillers throughout the speech.

As a result, my goals to improve in public speaking are:

  • Effectively organize and clearly deliver my main points. Each main point should be backed up with effective supporting points and examples to make it more illustrative for the audience. The steps I would take to improve on this goal are to develop  a detailed speech outline and rehearse it several times while timing itso I do not run out of time.
  • Improve my speech rate. I tend to talk too fast and make very few or short pauses. It is my goal to improve my speaking pace so the audience will be able to follow it better. This can be achieved through multiple rehearsals and ability to select only worthy arguments (quantity vs quality).
  • Last but not least is hand gesture control. Watching myself on the DVD made me realize that I use my hands a lot when I speak and sometimes that can be distracting for the audience. I need to work on using my hand gestures appropriately and a way to improve that is through recording myself every time I deliver a speech and reviewing it as that is something I do unconsciously.

There are many other things to improve and I am confident that I will be able to incorporate these changes in my next presentation!

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    Reflection Assignment. Recording the presentation is the first step, but students will need to thoughtfully watch their presentations to see areas for improvement. To guide the students' thoughts while they watch their presentation video, I developed three sequential reflection assignments, one for each of the major presentations in my class.

  15. PDF A short guide to reflective writing

    Models of reflection There are frameworks that you can use to aid your reflective process. Alternatively, you may want to create your own. It needs to be a set of questions that you can ask yourself about an experience, plus a process by which you apply and learn from your reflection. Here are just two examples of models of reflection:

  16. Self-Reflection: Benefits and How to Practice

    For instance, say you gave a presentation at school or work that didn't go well, despite putting in a lot of work on the project. Spending a little time on self-reflection can help you understand that even though you spent a lot of time working on the project and creating the presentation materials, you didn't practice giving the presentation.

  17. PDF Self-evaluation after a presentation

    Self-evaluation after a presentation Giving a presentation at university is a learning opportunity, so it is always a good idea to reflect on how to improve for next time. Use the following questions to support your reflection. If the answer to any of the questions is 'no', decide what action you will take to improve for next time. Content

  18. How to Write a Reflection Paper in 5 Steps (plus Template and Sample

    Use these 5 tips to write a thoughtful and insightful reflection paper. 1. Answer key questions. To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you've been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions. For example:

  19. How to Write a Reflection Paper: Guide with Examples

    Your reflection may include quotes and passages if you are writing about a book or an academic paper. They give your reader a point of reference to fully understand your feedback. Feel free to describe what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt. Example: "I saw many people participating in our weight experiment.

  20. 160 Questions to Ask After a Presentation

    Questions to Ask After a Business Presentation. Can you elaborate on the primary objectives and expected outcomes of this business initiative? How does this strategy align with the overall mission and vision of the company? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you'll be monitoring to gauge success?

  21. Self Reflection on 1st Presentation

    Self Reflection on 1st Presentation. Self-Critique of my first presentation Presenter: Drilona Aliu. Description of Experience. Since I was the last one to present in class, I had the advantage of seeing everyone else presenting and catching on their strategies. It seemed that all the previous presenters were very comfortable on presenting and ...

  22. Individual Reflective Presentation

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  23. How to Write a Reflection

    Here is a quick explanation on the purpose of reflective writing.👉Check out T... Reflective writing is a powerful tool for improving your writing and thinking. Here is a quick explanation on ...

  24. Welcome to our Sabbath Service, April 20th, 2024

    Welcome to our Sabbath Service, April 20th, 2024