Reflective Writing – Colour-Coded Exemplar
Here is an example of using the 4R’s model of reflective thinking to reflect upon and write about a
sample situation of watching people swim outside the flags at the beach.
Sample Reflection using 4Rs Model of Reflective Thinking
On the weekends I like to do a long walk along the beachside path. Last Sunday, I stopped to
what the waves for a minute. While I stood there I was horrified to watch a family with young
children enter the water outside the flagged area. I wonder why they did that. Did they not see the
signs? As I stood there watching the children struggle in the choppy waves, I remembered my surf
lifesaving training from school, and how crucial it is to swim between the flags. I also remembered
reading an article about how many people choose to swim outside the flags. I looked around to find
that no one else was watching. Despite being a strong swimming myself, I decided not to go down to
I spent a few more minutes watching and worrying about that family. I think perhaps that
they were from overseas, and that they weren’t aware of the rule that you should swim between the
flags. I suspect also, that they underestimated the strength of the waves Research by Surf Lifesaving
Australia (2010) revealed that international visitors are high risk in the ocean because many do not
speak English well, they do not know very much about surf safety and they limited swimming skills.
Even though I was hesitant, at this point I decided that I had an ethical obligation to tell the family
that they needed to swim between the flags.
As I crossed the sand I saw another person talking to the family in the water, and they all
walked out together. I was glad that a potential crisis was averted. Since then I have found that 35
of the 78 people who have drowned at Queensland beaches since 2005 were international visitors or
migrants (Hinchcliffe, 2015). In future, I could just keep walking, hoping that someone else would
help, but what might happen if I do that? What I will do, though, is head straight down to the water
and try everything I can to get their attention, rather than standing by and waiting. This incident has
had a strong emotional impact on me as the outcome could have been very different, so I am also
going to explore ways that I can become more involved in community education about beach safety.
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