Students’ Experiences of Reflective Writing as a Tool for Learning in Physiotherapy Education

In: Writing for Professional Development

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine physiotherapy students’ experiences of reflective writing. The students (n = 32) were asked to video record their practical activities at school and at workplaces, and to write reflective journals on their experiences. The research data about students’ experiences of reflective writing were collected by interviewing the students. The data were analyzed phenomenographically. The findings revealed four qualitatively different experiences of reflective writing: 1) writing as a useless task; 2) writing as a tool for deepening understanding; 3) writing as a tool for self-reflection; and 4) writing as a tool for professional development. These categories differed from each other in six themes of variation: function of writing, focus of reflection, contribution to professional learning, emotions, main attribute of writing, and importance for learning. The various experiences raise pedagogical challenges and suggest the need for support especially to those students who do not see the value of writing in their studies. For most students, however, the combination of video recording and reflective writing proved to be a valuable and effective learning tool. It is recommended that reflective writing be used more systematically and frequently in the physiotherapy education.

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