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Reflective Practice

Reflective Practice
Writing and Professional Development

Fifth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2018 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Reflecting thoughtfully on your work is vital for improving your own self-awareness, effectiveness, and professional development. This newly updated Fifth Edition explores reflective writing as a creative and dynamic process for this critical inquiry.

This bestselling book has been used worldwide in various disciplines including: education, social work, business & management, medicine, and healthcare. It is essential reading for students and professionals seeking to enhance their reflective writing skills and to examine their own practice in greater critical depth.

Chapter 1: Reflective Practice: an Introduction
Chapter 2: Values and Principles of Reflective Practice
Chapter 3: Theories and Contexts of Reflective Practice
Chapter 4: The Power of Narrative
Chapter 5: Perspective
Chapter 6: The Power of Metaphor
Chapter 7: Writing as Reflection
Chapter 8: How to Do Reflective and Reflexive Writing
Chapter 9: Reflective Practice Journals
Chapter 10: Assessment and Evaluation
Chapter 11: Reflective Writing and Team Development
Chapter 12: Reflection on Reflection

I particularly liked the chapters relating to stories and metaphors. The author talks about the importance of stories in story form, a creative approach that really catches the imagination. The book is beautifully written and the vignettes are like stories in themselves. The Write to Learn exercises are a great way to consolidate knowledge and practice reflective writing skills.

Angela Hodgkins
Course Leader BA (Hons) Integrated Working with Children and Families, University of Worcester

Abraham Flexner a physician and educator at Princeton wrote in 1939 that “the conception of what is useful may not have become too narrow to be adequate to the roaming and capricious possibilities of the human spirit”. Whilst striving towards a collection of knowledge that is immediately useful and relevant, we overlook that deep learning, the kind that leads to the transfer of ideas, requires the pondering of information that seems irrelevant or useless.  Bolton’s work provides a toolkit for students and academics contemplate the opaqueness of knowledge, to spend time ‘letting go’ of certainties, and thus create a higher mental state for problem solving.

Alex Forsythe
Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool

This ‘go-to’ book is an absolute must for everyone concerned with professional development. In this fifth edition, the writers have enhanced the examples and activities of reflective writing and questioning, leading the reader to deeper understandings of reflection and reflexivity. It is a wonderfully supportive book for all practitioners.

Regan Shaw
School of Education and Social Work, University of Dundee

It's a book which is easy to dip into and take from it what you will This popular book has been used worldwide in various disciplines including education, social work, business and management, medicine and healthcare and is essential reading for students and professionals seeking to enhance their reflective writing skills and to examine their own practice in greater critical depth. It covers all the essential issues as well as including plenty of references to enhance the information.

Sarah Brew
Parents in Touch

Reflective Practice is a rich treasure trove of theories, case studies, references, online resources and exercises. While not all of it will be relevant or easy to implement, there is bound to be something that you can use to develop your own skills as a teacher, and also something that you try out with your colleagues. Sharing experiences or insights arising from writing a journal certainly sounds a lot more interesting to me than just discussing the school’s new homework policy!

Terry Freedman
ICT & Computing in Education blog

great overview of reflection.

Dr Paul Summers
Faculty Of Business Sport And Enterprise, Southampton Solent University
November 17, 2021

This book is very helpful in advancing the knowledge of our students about the ethos of reflective practice. On the course in question, we utilise academic reflection, and for many students who go into the world of Law Enforcement post graduation, this grounding really helps their understanding of reflection in professional practice. Recommended.

Mr Tim Kelly
Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University
April 4, 2019

Enjoyed reading this book gave a indepth insight into reflection that practitioners of today need to support their practice.

Mrs Janet Gargiulo
Health and Social Care, Glyndwr University
May 15, 2018

Excellent accessible text

Ms Nakissa Campbell
Dept of Care and Early Years, Weston College
May 5, 2018

This book provided our MA students with important information regarding reflective practice. A very helpful source of information

Dr Bev Orton
Criminology & Sociological Studies, Hull University
June 25, 2019
Key features


  • An expanded range of exercises and activities
  • A new emphasis on using e-portfolios
  • Further guidance on reflective writing assignments
  • Enhanced discussion of reflection as a key employability skill
  • Additional online resources