Reflections: How and Why?

Reflections: How and Why?

Writing personal CAS Reflections is often cited by students as the hardest part of CAS. If it does not come easily at first, stick at it – active and regular reflection can be a very valuable skill when striving for personal growth and improvement.

What do we want as a reflection?

Consider the following ideas: 

  • How you felt 
  • What you perceived
  • What you thought about the experience
  • What the experience meant to you
  • What the value of the experience was
  • What you learned from the experience and how this learning might apply more widely

Be sure to directly address one or more of the CAS Learning Outcomes in each reflection. 

   

Some helpful reflection sentence starters:

  • One thing I learned about myself…………(positive or negative)
  • If I were in charge of this activity I would……….
  • One thing I liked(or disliked)……………………….
  • This activity left an impression on me because….
  • This activity was good because………………………..
  • The thing I enjoyed most was……………………………
  • I influenced………………………………………..
  • I realised that…………………………………………….
  • I am pleased with……………………………………….
  • Next time what I would do differently would be…………………
  • My initial intentions were…………………………………….

Further help how to write your reflections for your CAS Experiences:

  1.   Pre-Reflection: 
  • What goals do I hope to accomplish? 
  • Which learner objectives do you hope to meet?
  1.     Post-Reflection: 
  • Did you meet the goals you set out? 
  • Why or why not?
  • What CAS Learning Outcomes did you address? 
  • Why or why not? 
  • If you could do this activity again, what would you do differently?
  1.     Specifically:

LO1:      Increased awareness of strengths and areas for growth

  • Did this experience humble you?
  • Boost your self confidence?
  • Why weren’t you aware of this strength/weakness before?
  • How do you feel now that you’re aware of it?
  • Why is it important for us to know our strengths? Our weaknesses?

LO2:      Undertaken new challenges, new skills:

  • What was so challenging? 
  • Why was it challenging?
  • Have you done anything similar before?
  • How did you overcome this challenge?
  • If you didn’t overcome it, why not and what will you do differently next time? 
  • How do you feel about having undertaken this challenge?
  • Why is it important for you to undertake new challenges? 
  • What new skills did I develop?
  • Why did you not have them before? 
  • How could this skill be useful to you in the future?
  • How does having this new skill make you feel about yourself?
  • Why is it important to learn new skills?

LO3:     Planned and initiated activities:

  • How did you organise yourself?
  • Are you usually an organised person?
  • Did you discover any skills you hadn’t known or learned yet that you had to use for the planning and initiating of this activity?
  • What was harder? The planning or the initiating? Why?
  • Do you think planning or initiating anything in the future will be easier now?
  • Why is it important to know how to plan and initiate activities? 

LO4:     Showed perseverance and commitment.

  • What made this activity difficult where perseverance or commitment was necessary?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • Is it easy for you to commit to things? To be persistent? Why or why not?
  • Why is showing perseverance and commitment important?

LO5:      Worked collaboratively:

  • Is working with others generally easy or hard for you? Why?
  • So, based on your answer to the above question, was this particular activity easy or hard for you to work with others? 
  • Did you have to work with anyone difficult? How did you handle it?
  • Why is it important to be able to work collaboratively with others?

LO6:      Engaged with issues of global importance:

  • What were the issues?
  • Why are they important globally? How? Where? How did you know?
  • How does knowing about global issues contribute to your personal growth?
  • How does it make you feel now that you are aware of this global issue?
  • How does your work in this CAS activity make you feel about that global issue? 

LO7:      Consider ethical issue 

  • Do you understand what ethics are?
  • How do you know if something is ethical? How did you learn that?
  • What ethical issues were involved in this activity? Explain.
  • Did the ethical issues affect you directly or indirectly?
  • How did the issue make you feel? What was your opinion on this issue before this activity? Has it changed or stayed the same after   this activity?
  • What could you do to increase the awareness of others about this issue?
  • Why is an ethical education important?

 Some things to remember:

  • Aim to be concise (4-5 lines) though if you only write a sentence or two, it is unlikely to be enough to “get personal”. Quality is more important than quantity. 
  • Video/audio reflections are strongly encouraged and can be completed as a group. But try not to ramble on for your whole bus ride home – maximum 1-2 minutes please.
  • The reflection is just as important as actually doing the activity and maybe even more so as it’s the time when you consider what you have learned, build upon and do differently in future.
  • CAS is supposed to be meaningful to you and about personal growth. The evidence of this growth is the reflection. That’s HOW you make it meaningful. Pick experiences that you think will lead to interesting reflections.
  • Reflections should be more about emotions and thoughts than a factual description of the activity.