The importance of self-reflection

Self-reflection is a really important skill to develop and, whilst it can seem difficult and challenging, is crucial in helping you to develop in your work as you review your competencies and develop your learning. It is an essential element to your professional development. 

To improve, try to reflect on your skills and then make a decision to take action as a result.  Helen Barrett argues that reflection leads to deeper levels of learning because it enables learners to tell the story of their own development and competencies. You can read more about this here Digital Stories of Deep Learning (electronicportfo)

A person’s level of achievement and learning can be raised by engaging with reflection particularly when it is considered part of a joined up teaching and learning approach. Read more about this here Impact study of e-portfolios on learning (

Reflective learners are more likely to be more self-aware, self-critical, independent in their learning, motivated and self-managed, and open to feedback and alternative approaches.  It may hard to find the time and space to reflect but it is essential in helping you to grow and develop as a research leader. Although it might be difficult at first it will certainly get easier with practice.

Examples of self-reflection questions:

Here are a few questions to start to consider about yourself:

  • What have been my main achievements?
  • What are my strengths? (You could draw on the RDF and pick a set number of descriptors)
  • What are my weaknesses? (You could draw on the RDF and pick a set number of descriptors)
  • What areas would I like to develop professionally and what support do I need to do that?
  • What motivates me?
  • Am I spending enough time on developing my skills?
  • How will I develop my skills over the next 12 months?