Providing written feedback on reflection

One of the most comprehensive looks at written feedback on reflection comes out of Brown University. They’ve established a standardized approach to feedback on reflective writing that allows the reader a chance to read through a reflection, think about how you respond to the reflection, and then craft feedback after you’ve digested your own reactions to the reflection. There are also specifics in the article itself (link below) about how to craft inviting questions that you may  find useful.

Here is a distilled version.

The BEGAN Model of offering Feedback on Reflective Writing◊

Step 1: Read from beginning to end without pen or keyboard

Step 2: Record initial impressions

  • Overall impressions
  • Your own (contextual) reactions
  • Your own related experiences, personal views and biases

Step 3: Re-read and analyze

  • Underline salient quotes, key concepts, expressed emotions
  • Identify and comment on key themes
  • Identify and comment on lessons learned and learning opportunities
  • Offer reflection-inviting questions

Step 4: Craft Summary Feedback

  • Prioritize what is educationally valuable
  • Look for opportunities for positive feedback
  • Offer recommendations to facilitate deeper reflection

There is much more detail in the article noted below.

If you are new to USU’s Reflective Practice curriculum, and looking for other assessment tools, we have recently developed an assessment tool that we are currently piloting, which will look at reflective capacity over time, as a skill set, which we intend to build throughout our 4-year (and beyond) health sciences curriculum. It (hopefully) allows for some students to start as superficial in reflection and, between course content and facilitator guidance, grow to be more critically reflective over time. It pulls from principles outlined in the Brown model, as well as from other theories of reflection. You can find it here.


◊ Reis, Shmuel P. et al. “Begin the BEGAN (The Brown Educational Guide to the Analysis of Narrative) – A framework for enhancing educational impact of faculty feedback to students’ reflective writing.” Patient Education and Counseling , Volume 80 , Issue 2 , 253 – 259