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Acad Med. 2012 May;87(5):603-9. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31824d22e9.

Reflection in/and writing: pedagogy and practice in medical education.

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Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, Ohio 44272, USA.


During the past decade, "reflection" and "reflective writing" have become familiar terms and practices in medical education. The authors of this article argue that the use of the terms requires more thoughtfulness and precision, particularly because medical educators ask students to do so much reflection and reflective writing. First, the authors discuss John Dewey's thoughts on the elements of reflection. Then the authors turn the discussion to composition studies in an effort to form a more robust conception of reflective writing. In particular, they examine what the discipline of composition studies refers to as the writing process. Next, they offer two approaches to teaching composition: the expressivist orientation and the critical/cultural studies orientation. The authors examine the vigorous debate over how to respond to reflective writing, and, finally, they offer a set of recommendations for incorporating reflection and reflective writing into the medical curriculum.

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