How to Write Reflections for Your CAS Experiences

Reflection helps you to see what you have achieved.Reflection makes links between your experiences and the future. Reflection gives you feedback and helps you to generate your own questions. Reflection should help you to gain a better understanding of yourself.

It is a required part of the programme but it shouldn’t be too arduous! You can reflect in any way which suits you and ManageBac helps you to do that.

If you like writing, then record your thoughts in the journal section. If you love taking photographs, then take and upload photos - but try to also add a comment. If you are into vlogging, then create, edit and upload a video.Perhaps you are a good talker - then record an audio reflection.

If you do some other style of offline reflection, just make a note about it or photograph/scan it to add to your portfolio.

The focus of your reflection should be affective. Try to move beyond just giving a commentary of what your experiences and actions were, and talk about how you felt and how the experience will change you in the future.

A useful structure to follow might be:

  • Describe what happened: retell your memorable moments, identify what was important or influential, what went well or was difficult, obstacles and successes.
  • Express feelings: how do you feel about your experiences?
  • Generate ideas: Re-examine the choices you made and actions you took.
  • Ask questions: What questions do you have about people, processes or issues as a result of your experiences?

You could also reflect on which of the Learning Outcomes you think you are achieving, and why.

Reflection is very personal but it doesn’t have to be totally individual. You could undertake some group reflection exercises or meet with a peer or an adult in order to reflect. Your CAS meetings can be an important stage in your reflection when you draw out learning that you have gained from your experiences.

An example of a group reflection could be a volleyball team meeting to review their performance in a tournament. With a whiteboard, they discuss and record what went well, what didn’t, and why? They then brainstorm the things they need to improve upon and come up with a plan for their next few training sessions. One person photographs the whiteboard and shares the picture for all to upload as evidence. Another talks over training plans with the coach and adapts them to include the teams findings. This is good use of the CAS Stages.

Reflection does not only happen at the end of a process. Stopping to think before, during and after an experience can really add value to it for you. The CAS Questions section on ManageBac can also help you to reflect on your experiences.

Evidence is different to reflection - it is just information that corroborates you have done what you are claiming. A photo is evidence; a photo with commentary explaining how you felt about it is reflection.

It is good practice to keep adding evidence and reflections little and often to your CAS Portfolio. If you have one, you can use your smartphone to add directly to your CAS Portfolio via the ManageBac App. ManageBac tracks the number of reflections/evidence that you record against the learning outcomes you select and this helps your CAS Coordinator keep track of your progress.

However, the quality of your reflection is more important than the number of brief reflections. Don’t let recording your evidence and reflection take away from the value of your experiences: it should add to them.