Reflective Portfolio

Reflective Portfolio Definition

A reflective portfolio is a set of works that sum up knowledge and experiences that a student has derived from practical assignments. The aim of the portfolio is to serve as an assessment of student's participation in the fieldwork and their ability to apply the theory on practice. The reflective portfolio is distinguished by the freedom that students have while dealing with this type f work. While the major requirement of an academic paper is to be unbiased and impersonal, in the reflective portfolio, students are allowed to express their viewpoints and feelings.

The Structure of the Reflective Portfolio

The contents of a reflective portfolio may have different forms depending on the discipline, but it will inevitably contain short written pieces that sum up and explain the experiences of practical work placements.Additionally, it may include:

  • Samples of Your Work. This may have different forms depending on your field of study. For instance, Art students will usually be required to attach photographs or scans of some of their work, while trainee teachers will most certainly need to give sample lesson plans.
  • Journal Entries. As a rule, students need to keep an informal journal during their practical work which should also include a summary of the tasks they have performed and reflections on the skills they obtained. Furthermore, it is important to keep track of the situations that were perplexing or challenging and any of professional insight.

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  • Critical Incidents Reports. These are basically brief summaries of moments which were especially fundamental for your learning process. While dwelling on such incidents, students should specify how they contributed to their development of new skills or helped them to understand the course material in a deeper sense.
  • Evidence of Achievement. In this part, students should give written evidence of their achievement, such as placement time sheets, employer's recommendation letter, etc.
  • Personal Statement. This part enables students to sum up their acquired skills and professional philosophies. On the grounds of the experience you gained, how would you characterize yourself professionally? Has your experience prompted you to adopt a philosophy concerning your profession or adhere to a particular set of methods? What kind of practitioner will you be, and how your practical fieldwork helped you to achieve this?

Tips on Effective Reflective Portfolio Writing

  • Be critical. While you can be quite candid in this type of paper, you also need to be critical to make your essay more credible and meanigful.
  • Be comprehensive. Ensure that you can provide a sufficient number of experiences that would testify to your work for the period of your practical assignment. You can select or underscore one or two particular periods of your work but they need to be placed within the scope of your overall experience.

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  • Be candid about your weaknesses. Telling about your professional insecurities and weak points testifies to your development throughout the course. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on theories and methods you can make use of in the future.
  • Draw up a plan for development. Your reflective portfolio must account for your professional growth during the course. But other from that, to produce an effective portfolio, you need to provide an actionable plan for future development. Reflect on the knowledge and skills that can testify to your professional weaknesses and think of how you can improve the situation.

Common Mistakes

The most typical mistake students make when dealing with a reflective portfolio is either being too objective and scholarly or too emotional and not sufficiently analytical.

One more common mistake is giving an insufficient amount of relevant evidence to back up your reflections.

Finally, keep in mind that your portfolio should be done in a professional and formal manner and be well-organized.