Reflective Practice Writing and Professional Development Fifth Edition

Reflective Practice Writing and Professional Development FIFTH EDITION With Russell DelderfieldSage Publications

With Russell Delderfield
February 2018


Reflecting thoughtfully on your work is vital for improving your own self-awareness, effectiveness and professional development. This newly updated fifth edition of Gillie Bolton’s bestselling book explores reflective writing as a creative and dynamic process for this critical enquiry.

New to this edition:

  • 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

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.


‘Reflective practice is probably the most important tool in the repertoire of any professional. It is a key way of dealing with all the problems for which there is no straightforward response. Gillie Bolton’s practical and illuminating book is the key resource for those who want to be more reflexive and build reflective writing into their own activities. She takes important but elusive ideas and shows clearly what they mean for making sense of one’s own practice.’
Professor David Boud, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

‘During a long, rich and varied career in nursing I have learnt that how we care, how we give of ourselves to others, begins and ends with understanding of who we are. In Reflective Practice, Gillie Bolton provides a torch that helps us to shine a light on our personal motivations, anxieties, needs and defences, giving us the insights we need to better care for the patients, families and carers that we serve.’
Kate Billingham, CBE, Senior Advisor, Nurse Family Partnership International

‘Getting students to apply their personal and professional experiences to practice is an essential part of continuing professional development. Bolton’s 4th edition is a key text in the expanding literature on reflective practice for all practitioners. It remains the most contemporary, readable and relevant book for many subject areas.’
Richard Race, Senior Lecturer in Education, Roehampton University, UK

From Professor Stephen Brookfield’s Foreword:

This new edition of Gillie Bolton’s Reflective Practice Writing and Professional Development demonstrates its enduring relevance for practitioners. Gillie argues forcefully and persuasively that conducting internal dialogues questioning practice is not enough and that an essential component of reflective analysis is writing. There is something fundamentally different about writing down your understanding of, and reaction to, a situation; and it can take you wholly by surprise.

In clear and lively prose Gillie builds her case for the importance of writing and provides numerous examples of helpful activities and exercises, not only in this book but also in the accompanying web site. Narrative and story are powerful; metaphors can galvanize a group, communicating in a shorthand way a vision of where we wish to go in a project. When we write our reflections on events we not only create meanings for ourselves, we produce a version that can be communicated to others.

As Gillie points out, we all have internal supervisors, justifiers and saboteurs who undermine and distort our versions of events. Writing a story down, however, is an act imbued with a sense of permanence and seriousness. When I write a story of some event I am made far more aware of my tendency to edit out troublesome details or contradictions. When I speak it, on the other hand, the reactions of listeners embolden me to forget these inconveniences. There is something about writing your version of events that brings home to you the editorial power of the narrator. Gillie deals with the ethical issues involved in narrative writing. She is also not afraid to confront the ways we sometimes become stuck in our stories.

This book travels across multiple territories and terrains. You will be provoked and impressed by the breadth of authors and concepts Gillie invokes and the variety of narrative forms she explores. I was challenged by this book to experiment with poetry and metaphor in a far more intentional way. It has always surprised my books that have had most impact, and the parts of those books that people remember most clearly, have pretty much always featured narrative. Gillie has helped me understand better why this is the case and also why the power of narrative is sensed, and sometimes avoided, by students.

Reflective Practice Writing and Professional Development is packed with examples of activities, exercises and instructions that can be adapted in multiple contexts. Although theoretically well grounded, the book tackles head on matters of practice, in particularly the thorny question of assessment. But it is the stories of contradiction, loss, and perplexity, as well as those of self-insight, transformation and change, that you will remember the most.
Professor Stephen Brookfield, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, USA

Buy here
ISBN: hb 978-1-4462-8234-2; pb 978-1-4462-8235-9