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Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model

Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model - Gauging the Broader Dimension

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Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model with Examples
 John Millar   Published On Aug 12, 2020 | Updated on Dec 06, 2023  Writing Service

Gibbs reflective cycle model was published by the American sociologist and psychologist Graham Gibbs mainly to encourage people to think systematically about their experiences related to a specific event, situation or activity. Taking the Gibbs reflective cycle reference, one can structure their experiences in phases and gain an in-depth perspective of the negative and positive impacts to change their behaviors.

Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model - Understanding the Phases

Gibbs reflective cycle model is based on several stages, which requires you to answer several questions to understand the depth of your reflections. For example, the Gibbs reflective cycle model 1988 starts at Description followed by Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusion and ending at Action plan, to return to Description.

Let’s now discuss each phase of the Gibbs reflective cycle model in detail:

Step 1: Description

In the first stage of the reflection models by Gibbs, you describe the situation or event in detail without drawing any immediate conclusion. So here're some questions to help you set an objective for the description of the Gibbs reflective cycle model:

  • What happened?
  • When and where did it happen?
  • Who was there?
  • What did you do?
  • What did the others do?
  • What was the outcome of the actions?

Note: Don't leave out important details. For example, why people were involved in the event in the first place? Every point is crucial for understating the relevance of a situation.

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Step 2: Feelings

This Gibbs reflective cycle model phase highlights the feelings triggered by the event or an individual. Since emotions cannot be evaluated or judged, one intends to spread awareness through the Gibbs reflective cycle phase.

For reference, consider the following questions:

  • What did you feel at the time of the event?
  • How did you feel during the event?
  • What was your feeling post the event?
  • What’s the impact of the event?
  • What others were feeling during the event, do you think?
  • How do the others feel about the event afterwards?

Most of us struggle to put our emotions into words. But it can become easier to counsel and learn about another perspective of the events using the Gibbs reflective cycle model. Refer to other Gibbs reflective cycle examples for reference to formulate your questions.

Step 3: Evaluation

In this step, you determine whether the event mentioned in step 1 was as per your liking. Next, you must evaluate the positive and negative approaches and what didn't work for you. The following questions may help to evaluate using the reflection models by Gibbs:

  • What was good about the event and why?
  • What was wrong with the event, and why?
  • What was your contribution – positive or negative?
  • What was the other's contribution?

Note: Evaluate the bad experiences as well, so people can learn from them in the following steps of the Gibbs reflective cycle model.

Step 4: Analysis

This phase of the Gibbs reflective cycle model discusses what you learned from the situation or event and how you would tackle similar problems in the future. This means you have to analyze both positive and negative aspects and develop a deeper understanding.

Here are some Gibbs reflective cycle model reference questions related to this phase:

  • Why did the event go good or bad?
  • How can the theory explain the circumstance?
  • What is your experience compared to the literature?
  • What approaches help you to support your analysis?
  • Could you respond differently?
  • What could have changed or improved things?

The analysis phase of the Gibbs reflective cycle model is a tricky part of the assignment. Most students blindly refer to free Gibbs reflective cycle templates or Gibbs cycle reflection examples and struggle to bring the theory and experience together.

Step 5: Conclusion

In the “Conclusion” phase of the Gibbs reflective cycle model, you have to focus on what you have learned from the event or situation and create a reasonable conclusion by answering the following questions:

  • What have you learnt in general or in specific?
  • What was the positive effect of the problem or event?
  • What was the negative impact of the cause or event?
  • How would you handle the situation differently if it happened in the future again?
  • What skills would you develop to handle the situation better?

Step 6: Action plan

In this final phase of the Gibbs reflective cycle model, you need to sum up everything you need to work on for handling future events. Therefore, refer to the conclusion phase, determine the following:

  • Where and how can you use your new skills and knowledge?
  • What should you do to build or improve your skills?
  • What new approach would you take to tackle a similar situation in the future?
  • What would you do to encourage yourself to adapt to changes?

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Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model Example

The following text is a Gibbs reflective cycle example following the model. Please note that it is a simplified example of the Gibbs reflective cycle model to demonstrate what each phase could look like.

Step 1: Description

My roommate and I share chores, and it was my turn to cook and host an evening.

Step 2: Feelings

Being the host, I felt anxious as I had never cooked for more than five people, and I wasn't confident about the portion size. However, things changed, and I started feeling positive when my friends began to compliment me for my effort and the dishes I cooked. Although the compliments kept pouring in, I did worry about the dishes not being as delicious as my roommate’s.

Step 3: Evaluation

On the bright side, the evening was fun, and everyone seemed to enjoy the food and have a good time. But unfortunately, the pasta was overcooked, so I had to put extra effort to prepare a fresh batch at the last minute. As a result, the vegetables were overcooked, and we had to skip our game night.

Step 4: Analysis

On reflection, I realized that I should have used my cooking timer carefully and timed the boiling time of the pasta. On balance, though, the evening was a lot more fun than expected, even with some mishaps with the pasta and overcooked veggies, which weren’t the sole part of the evening. Considering the positive feedback from my friends, I realized that it was my friendly and outgoing personality that made the evening an enjoyable one.

Step 5: Conclusion

This experience boosted my confidence levels and made me realize that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

Step 6: Acton Plan

The next time I am the host and cooking dinner, I will use the tried and tested approach, have a trial dinner the night before, and plan everything. I will undoubtedly seek support and guidance from those who often do this and implement their feedback to become more organized and confidently host the event.

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