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Reflective Practice

Reflective Practice
Writing and Professional Development

Third Edition
Additional resources:

304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Praise for the previous edition:

'Reflective practice and writing can change lives. It changed mine. The very act of writing down the problem, clarifying, thinking, working through the issues, being forced to commit, is powerful. Read…and learn more' -Kenneth C. Calman, Vice-Chancellor and Warden, University of Durham

'The book gives me fresh ideas for my teaching, solid theoretical frameworks for understanding it, infused commitment to the method, and grateful pride to be a member of this band of the searchers for truth and joy through writing' -Rita Charon, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University, New York

In this fully updated and revised third edition, the author draws on her considerable experience and extensive research to demonstrate a creative dynamic mode of reflection and reflexivity. Using expressive and explorative writing combined with in-depth group work/mentoring alongside appropriate focused research, it enables sensitive and critical examinations of practice.

The author offers a searching and thorough approach which increases student and professional motivation, satisfaction, and deep levels of learning. She clearly explains the use of reflection; reflexivity; narrative; metaphor; complexity, and the literary and artistic methods used are firmly grounded in educational theory and pedagogical principles.

New to this edition:

  • A new chapter presenting different ways of undertaking and facilitating reflective practice
  • Further international coverage, including material from Australia, New Zealand and USA

This edition also includes a 'how to use this book' section; an annotated glossary explaining key terms; end of chapter activities and exercises plus suggested further reading. It also has an accompanying website which includes discussion and workshop exercises; a glossary; and online readings.

The methods are appropriate to, and used worldwide by, student professionals and professionals undertaking continuing professional development, across education; medicine and healthcare; clinical psychology; nursing; therapy; social work; counseling; business management.

A password-protected Instructor Teaching Site and an open-access Student Study Site are available for this book at

Mind the Gap: How to Use This Book
Reflective Practice: An Introduction
Reflection and Reflexivity
Principles of Reflective Practice
Through the Mirror
Writing as Reflection
Reflective Writing: A 'How-to' Guide
The Learning Journal
Assessment and Evaluation
Group Processes and Facilitation
Reflective Practice and Team Development
Reflective Practice: Other Methods
The Power of Narrative
The Power of Metaphor
Wider and Deeper: Other Writing Forms
Reflection on Reflection

'The text is liberally sprinkled with quotations and references from practitioners, scholars, philosophers and key thinkers...Bolton’s overall argument is persuasive; anyone involved in the academic world or in a ‘thinking’ profession would find it hard to challenge the suggestion that the process of writing

is developmental, helping to identify gaps in knowledge and adding to the journey of

exploration of one’s assumptions, ideas and knowledge'
- Susan Khan, Educate

'A student of mine said that this book not only made him understand how to use reflective method with international perspectives, but opened up his postgraduate studies in many positive directions. I can think of no higher praise for a text that remains both core and contemporary and encourages professional creativity not only for teacher trainees and for students at Masters and Doctoral levels in Education but across many other subject areas' - Richard Race, Senior Lecturer, Roehampton University, UK

Brilliant, simple and inspiring. All of the teachers in my practice are now reflecting much more as well as using reflexive thinking to aid their teaching.

Mrs Michelle Grainger
Sheffield Centre, LifeSkills
July 5, 2014

This book helped students in becoming a reflective practitioner. It gave students an insight in how they can use reflective practice in their setting alongside models of reflection. This was particularly useful in the education module.

Mrs Laura Cochrane
Health and Care, Middlesbrough College
May 22, 2014

Really useful for making links between theory and practice whilst completing QTLS

Miss Amy Smith
Early Years and Child care, Wakefield College
May 18, 2014

This book is highly recommended for anyone wanted to understand reflection more deeply or for whom reflection is a key component of their studies.

Mr David Biggins
The Business School, Bournemouth Univ.
May 16, 2014

Bolton's guide is excellent for both experienced practitioners and those writing reflectively for the first time.

Mr Matt Kirby
Performance, University College Falmouth
February 21, 2014

This book offers critical evaluation of the political and social implications of reflective practice. The detail and evaluative content is highly useful in ascertaining principles of reflective practice, including ethical issues and considerations.

Bolton also offers a critical review the different approaches and models of reflection, which is useful in determining which approaches best suit practitioners or the situations upon which they choose to reflect.

Miss Leanne Humphries
Media Depatrment, South Staffordshire College
February 18, 2014

I have encouraged my preregistration students to read this book. It is well written, sequential and supports level 6 writing and encourages critical reflection.

Mrs Adele Nightingale
Faculty of Health (Liverpool), Edge Hill University
January 31, 2014

Outstanding text that would help any practitioner at any level of training. Will use from UG to Doctoral work.

Well writen and helps reflect correctly

Miss Helen Thornalley
Education, St Mary's College
January 3, 2014

Would recommend this book for supplementary reading. An interesting view of reflective practice.

Mrs Susan Draper-Todkill
Counselling, South Nottingham College
October 30, 2013

New to the 3rd edition:

  • A new chapter presenting different ways of undertaking and facilitating reflective practice
  • Further international coverage, including material from Australia, New Zealand and USA
  • A brand new companion website with discussion and workshop exercises
  • A glossary
  • Online readings

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Gillie E J Bolton

Dr Gillie Bolton is an international authority on writing and author of a long publication list including nine books (one in 4th Edition), academic papers (many in top ranking journals), as well as professional articles, poetry, and for a lay readership.  She has peer-reviewed for many journals and  has been a long serving editor of an academic and two professional journals. More About Author