Developing Reflective Writing among Psychiatry Students

Watts, N (2013) Developing Reflective Writing among Psychiatry Students. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


AIMS • To develop medical students as reflective learners • To help medical students become reflective practitioners • To create and evaluate online learning activities in reflective writing Background REVIEW Schön (1983) developed the concept of the reflective practitioner based on his studies of how professionals actually worked - by analysing, reflecting and learning from their experiences. Raw et al (2005) describe reflection in medical practice as thoughts or feelings about a situation, a critical analysis of that situation, leading to the development of a new perspective. The medical students used a short online, interactive presentation to familiarise themselves with reflection and reflective writing. Then they participated in online group discussions of a thought-provoking article on Psychiatry. Each student had to write posts at three, increasingly deep levels of reflection. Tutors gave feedback in the forum. Finally, students wrote a reflective essay. Most of the students’ grade was for this essay. They were assessed for knowledge, communication and reflection. The students received a small grade for participating in the online discussion. METHOD To determine the effectiveness of this approach, usage data from the Blackboard virtual learning environment was analysed. Student participation was measured by counting the number of posts. The number of posts was compared with the grade for the reflective essay and the grade for the reflective component of that essay. Some students were surveyed and interviewed on their motivation for engaging with the resources. RESULTS There was a close relationship between the number of posts and high grades in both the essay and the reflective component of the essay. Students had both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for participation. CONCLUSIONS Use of the online learning resources helped the students to develop their reflective writing skills. The reasons for little or no participation by a minority of students should be further investigated.

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