1 Peter Lia: Learning Support Tutor: Disability Advisory Service: KCLUsing Gibbs’ Reflective CycleGibbs’ Reflective Cycle (or Gibbs’ Reflective Model)Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a theoretical model often used by students as a framework in courseworkassignments that require reflective writing.The model was created by Professor Graham Gibbs and appeared in Learning by Doing (1988).It looks like this:Gibbs’ reflective cycle has 6 stages. They are usually given the following headings:1. Description2. Feelings3. Evaluation4. Analysis5. Conclusion6. Action PlanGibbs’ model was developed from an earlier theoretical model; David Kolb’s 4 stage experientiallearning cycle (1984).Whereas Kolb’s model is sometimes referred to as an experiential learning model (which simplymeans learning through experience), Gibbs’ model is sometimes referred to as an iterative model(which simply means learning through repetition).DescripitonWhathappened?FeelingsWhat wereyou thinkingand feeling?EvaluationWhat wasgood and badabout theexperience?AnalysisWhat sensecan you makeof thesituation?ConclusionWhat elsecould youhave done?Action planIf it aroseagain whatwould youdo?2 Peter Lia: Learning Support Tutor: Disability Advisory Service: KCLThe version of Gibbs’ model given to students may be slightly adapted, such as the one thatappears in Bulman and Schultz (2013) Reflective Practice in Nursing p232.It looks like this:Using analysis in Gibbs’ modelIn theory, the reflective process follows the 6 steps of the model so that each step informs thenext. In practice, students often confuse the Evaluation, Analysis and Conclusion stages. Theseparts seem to ask similar questions and as a result, there can be a lot of repetition. Analyticalwriting is only required in the Analysis stage. The other 5 steps are made up of statements ofdescription, statements of value (whether something was good or bad), statements of summationor statements of justification (why something was done).The aims of using Gibbs’ reflective cycle: to challenge your assumptionsto explore different/new ideas and approaches towards doing or thinking about thingsto promote self-improvement(by identifying strengths and weaknesses and taking action to address them)to link practice and theory(by combining doing or observing with thinking or applying knowledge) A template for using Gibbs’ modelUse the questions and guidelines in the template below to help you write each stage of the model.You do not have to answer all the questions. Try to select those that are relevant.Descriptionwhathappened?What were yourfeelings and howdid you react?Initial evaluaionof the experiencewhat was goodand bad about it?Critical analysiswhat sense didyou make of theexperience?Conclusionwhat have youlearnt fromreflecting on thisexperience?Final evaluationand action planwhat would youdo differently?3 Peter Lia: Learning Support Tutor: Disability Advisory Service: KCL DescriptionUsing specific and relevant detail, give a concise description of your experience (i.e. what you are reflecting on).this part is not analytical, it is descriptive, it describes an experience FeelingsAnswer any of the following questions that you think are relevant to the experience: How did you feel and what did you think prior to the experience? How did you feel and what did you think during the experience? How did you react during the experience? How did you feel and what did you think after the experience?this part is not analytical, it is descriptive, it describes personal feelings and thoughts and actions (reactions) EvaluationAnswer any of the following questions that you think are relevant to the experience: What went well during the experience (what worked)? What went badly during the experience (what didn’t work)? How did the experience end? Was the experience complete (was there a resolution) or incomplete?this part is not analytical, it makes positive and/or negative judgements about an experienceif a lot of different things happened during the experience, focus on one or two, try to choose the things thatare most important, most relevant or most representative of the experience DescriptionFeelingsAnalysis EvaluationConclusionPlan ofActionGibbs’ReflectiveCycle4 Peter Lia: Learning Support Tutor: Disability Advisory Service: KCL AnalysisDo any of the following that you think is relevant:Reconsider the things that went badly and write why you think they went badly (causes of action).Reconsider the things that went badly and write what you think this lead to (consequences of action).Think about what could have been done to have avoided these negative consequences.Reconsider the things that went well and write why you think they went well (causes of action).Reconsider the things that went well and write what you think this lead to (consequences of action).Think about how this positive action could have been further improved.Think about your contribution to the experience and say how useful it was and why it was useful(did a previous experience help you? can you compare it to a previous experience?).If you were unable to contribute to the experience say why.Think about other people present during the experience and try to assess whether their reactions weresimilar or different to yours. Try to say why they were the same or different.this part is analytical, it does not describe, it tries to explain the causes and consequences of things thathappened, it asks questions like why?, so what? and what if? ConclusionReconsider the experience and answer any of the following questions that you think are relevant: What should or could I have done differently? What stopped me from doing this? What did I learn about myself during the experience (positive and/or negative)? What did I learn about my current knowledge or level of practice (strengths and weaknesses)? Did the experience achieve any of my learning goals or meet any of my required competencies?this part sums up what you learnt from the experiencetry to be specific about what you learnt or realised about yourself, give specific details (avoid makinggeneral statements like “I didn’t have the adequate knowledge”) Action PlanAnswer any of the following questions that you think are relevant to making a plan: What do I need to do in order to be better prepared to face this experience in future? Even if the experience was positive and I did well, in which areas can I improve? What are the priority areas that need to be developed? What specific steps do I need to take in order to achieve these improvements?this part is not analytical, it states actions designed to improve knowledge, ability, experience etc., youcan include the justification for and value of actions in the action plan (i.e. why you plan to do something)try to be specific about what you plan to do (e.g. state specific training you may need to undergo, booksor policy guidelines you will need to read, resources you may need to use and become proficient in etc.) 5 Peter Lia: Learning Support Tutor: Disability Advisory Service: KCLStructure of a reflective coursework assignmentIf you include an Introduction and Conclusion, your assignment will have the following structure:IntroductionDescriptionFeelingsEvaluationAnalysisConclusionAction PlanConclusionunless told otherwise, keep the Introduction and Conclusion shortUsing a word countIt may be useful to use a word count for each step of the cycle in order to avoid overwriting. Usethe table below as a general guide. Remember to adjust the word count if you need to include anIntroduction and Conclusion as part of your assignment. Approximate number of words for each stage of the reflection:Steps%1,000 wordreflection:1,500 wordreflection:2,000 wordreflection:2,500 wordreflection:1Description20%*200*300*400*500*2Feeling10-20%1502253003753Evaluation20%2003004005004Analysis30%3004506007505Conclusion5-10%751121501876Action Plan5-10%75112150187 *try to keep the Description step as short as possible; it carries the least marks in terms of assessmentIncluding references in your reflective writingIf you are asked to include references in reflection, you can use research (recent studies are best),policy documents (from relevant bodies) or theory (from academic sources) to support yourreflections. You might use references: to show why something is done in a certain way (e.g. by referring to a policy guideline)to explain what brought about certain feelings or reactions (e.g. by quoting a theory)to explain what went well or what went badly (e.g. a policy guideline, a piece of research or atheory could be used to explain why a certain action had a positive or a negative outcome)to discuss what could have been done differently (e.g. policy, research or theory could be used tosupport your reflection that doing things differently could have had a better outcome)to justify why you plan to do something (e.g. a research paper might be used to show the value ofdeveloping a skill or of acquiring knowledge) The Introduction should state what the experience was, where it took place and how long it lastedstate that Gibbs’ model is being used (a diagram can be includedimmediately after the introduction or in the Appendix) The conclusion should not be a repetition of the Conclusion in stage 5 of the model.Instead, it could briefly address any of the following questions: How valuable was the reflective tool in identifying your strengths andweaknesses and improving your practice or knowledge?Was Gibbs’ model easy to use?Do you now understand the value of reflective learning and of using areflective learning model like Gibbs’ model?
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