Teaching and assessing reflective writing in a large undergraduate core substantive law unit

Tina Cockburn*, Mary Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In addition to a continuing focus on developing students' substantive discipline knowledge, the focus of legal education has now shifted to include a focus on building students' skills and self-awareness in preparation for future employment. This means that there is an increasing need to embed approaches within teaching and learning that provide a context within which law students can engage in developing specific professional skills as well as the ability to think critically about their experiences and learning. When students document their reflective thinking, these texts can be used as evidence of their professional development, that is, their preparedness for the transition from legal education to professional practice as reflective practitioners. Given this, a model for teaching and assessing reflective writing has been implemented in a large, core second year undergraduate law unit, The teaching and learning approaches utilised in the model adopt the four features of the effective teaching of reflective practice identified by Rogers’clarity of expectations, structure, exemplars and feedback (2001). Following implementation of the model, data were collected to evaluate students’ views about the value of the reflective task for their learning and future career. The level of reflection that students were able to demonstrate by analysing samples of reflective writing was also evaluated. This chapter is divided into three parts. The first part will describe why teaching and assessing reflective writing was embedded in LWB240 Equity. The second part will describe the teaching and learning approaches that were implemented to embed reflective writing in LWB240 Equity. In the final part we analyse the data collected from evaluations and reflect on the way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Reflective Learning in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationA Systematic Approach Using Pedagogic Patterns
EditorsMary Elizabeth Ryan
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319092713
ISBN (Print)9783319092706
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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