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Critical reflection for assessments and practice

About this guide

Critical reflection is core to any professional role. It allows you to develop greater self-awareness, engage in ongoing learning, and improve your practice. In fact, reflective practice, using critical reflection, impacts everything from writing an essay to leading a work project or providing health care!    

This guide provides strategies, tools and ways of thinking to build your critical reflection skills. Through engaging with the content and activities you will learn how to: 


Recognise the main features of critical reflection

Use critical reflection models in your assessments

Build your critical reflective language and writing skills

Distinguish between recount and reflection

Critical reflection and assessments

Reflection is a core skill for your uni work. Deakin University units and courses often have critical reflection based assessments. The assessments can take different forms, everything from a reflective essay to a video presentation, a reflective art piece to a digital portfolio blog post. While the focus of reflective writing can include:

  • describing how a critical experience in your life has shaped your world view
  • making connections between your learnings and your workplace practice
  • critiquing your art performance or creative output
  • analysing your experience of working on a group project
  • evaluating a teaching or learning activity.



This guide will share a few approaches to critical reflection. However, always check your assessment instructions in case there is a particular reflection model or set of questions that you need to use.

Getting started

When you move through any learning, whether for study or workplace needs, it’s important to take a minute to ask yourself three related questions:



What do I already know?


What's the next step in this knowledge?


How will this knowledge influence my doing?

Consider your confidence as a critical reflector, draw from your practice and previous experiences. Identifying your current skills and knowledges in an area are the first step to developing them further.

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Attribution and acknowledgement

Crediting creators or attributing content is a core part of both academic integrity and of being a digital citizen more broadly. This guide was co-created by Deakin Library and Deakin Language and Learning Advisers (Study Support). Academics from Early Childhood Education, Creative Arts and Global Studio also provided feedback or writing examples that impacted this guide.