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In this reflection essay I will discuss my experience in working in-group, writing skill and take notes skill, witch is really touch my needs.
To began with, my first work in group at UWIC that was at the beginning of term one, we informed by the leader of business in context module that we have 20% of total assessment will be a group presentation (15 -20 minutes), also the topics will be assigned in third seminar (Week 4-12), and the presentation will start from week 33 (14 March 2011). That sound makes me exciting because I liked to work in-group, where I already have some knowledge from my working in ministry of health, Sultanate Of Oman.
After that, during that term, the module tutor, Andrea steel divided the class student to different groups. Me, George Cliff, Laura Colligan, and Catherine Casey to be in one group called group E. Because of the group is mixed between boys and girls, I though the group will be more active. Anyway, this group must sit to gather during the seminars until the tutor give us the topic of the presentation that we have to do. Than, seminar after seminar, I shocked that no one came to that group except Laura, me, and sometimes Catherine attended. I discussed with Laura that we couldn't work without the rest group. So, we decided to speak to our tutor to see what can she do. The response from our tutor was to think about allotment us to anther groups and she would send an e-mail inform us witch group that we will join. I became Sade because I will not work in that group.
In the last week of the first term, exactly on 16/12/2010, I received an email sent to all students in the class for re-formation all groups. Also the topics were given (To what extent is leadership different from management?) that is my group topic. Fortunately, there was no change in my group members; also the tutor increased the team members to be five rather than four. William Gray has been joined the group (Appendix 1). Moreover, there is a deadline that we must submit a copy of the presentation on 04/03/2011.
After Christmas break, in the second term, we started the study. As usual, most group team did not attend the seminar group. My colleague Laura triad to contact some members that we should met to finish the work, but no Convincing answer.
Day by day, Laura and me started to prepare the presentation. That make me to work under presser, we had to finish the presentation before the deadline. And also the work will be limited to two. This does not achieve the goal of the group's work. But we don't have option except complete our work, and me, her and maybe Catherine and George both will join us at the presentation day (as Laura said). Differently we completed (Laura and me) the work and handed in I-zone on time. It is really bad experience to me to be in group not seriously and did not take the responsibility of the work that we should did as a group. I agreed that the work finished by the time, but not by two members only from originally five members. The Surprising is, at the suggested day of the presentation, all group work met for the first time. Indeed, that mad me disappointed from this group. As a group we should know the advantages of working in-group and what we should achieved. At least, I should inform module Tutor about that but I did not do that due to Laure takes the responsibility of our work. She said; she would like to be the team leader, so the team leader must inform the module leader of any not active members in the team as we informed previously. I am embarrassed that I did not took the responsibility to inform the module leader or the tutor about what happened in this group from the beginning and left that to Laura. Because she is sympathetic with the members, she did not inform the specialist.
As Burns and Sinfield (2003) concluded, "If you cannot work with other people, you are unlikely to be able to keep a job". I think the simple and very effective strategy is to choose my group with care. Choose people who are as motivated, positive and industrious. Consequently, I faced the problem with my group since the group may not interest to work in this group in particular. Also some students may find it difficult to participate in a group. Group work offers many advantages to us as a student. One thing it offers an opportunity to share the workload. It is easer to do some research in the presentation topic if I share it out. Moreover, it gives the chance to discuss things in-group and every one in the group will learn more if they had just done something on their own. Not only this, it also get to refine the personal and inter personal skills if we learn to discuss ideas and negotiate strategies with tact and diplomatic in my group. Another advantages of group work is that a good group offers social support that can break down some of the isolation sometimes associated with being a student.
Another skill I would like to discuss about in this essay is my writing style. Trough the academic Year there is a number of assignments I had to do. The tutors' feedbacks indicate the improvement in my writing. For example, in the Entrepreneurship and Enterprise module assignment feedback form was mention that, I am excellent in research and very good in structure presentation (appendix 2). That gives me the incentive to improve my writing for the next assignments. That is due to the techniques that I used within to improve the quality of my response to the assignment task. As Wallace (2004) and Longman and Atkinson (2005) Argues, the techniques are:
Using definitions and examples: when writing it is often useful to define key terms in order to prevent confusion or misunderstanding. Generally, I can make clearly argument by giving an example. But I cannot prove anything by giving example. There may be counter-examples that I have ignored or overlooked. In my assignment I tried to use definitions and examples because I know it makes my view clearer, also that gives indicate to reader of my points.
Evidence, implication and inference: when I want to support my argument, I have to include some evidence. Because that implied the reliability of my writing.
Drafting and re-drafting: writing assignment not like writing an answer in an exam, I probably have time to write my answer only once in exam. Whereas writing an assignment is not timed. So, that able me to write more than one draft. Re-drafting is painless when I used a word processer for my writing; it is greatly enhance the quality of my written work.
Overall impact (cohesion and signposting): many first drafts suffer from not being coherent enough and from being inadequately signposted. To avoid being in that situation, I tried to achieve much greater impact in my writing by:
Signpost the structure in a helpful way.
Make it clear to the reader (hangs together)
Proofreading: its second and final stage of re-drafting. I concerned to check in details for example, spelling, punctuation, pages numbered, spell-check, and whether grammar is correct.
References: I always make sure that all sources referred to in the listed of references. Moreover, references must to be in the correct alphabetical order, displayed in the appropriate style, and also complete in that they contain all the required source information. Author's surname is most important for alphabetical ordering.
Writing actually help me to develop creativity and contribute to my ability to analyze main ideas and reflect in my writing. I will focus in reading more books because that will provide me with the knowledge of writing different styles such as reports or dissertation.
Taking note is another important factor that contribute to the success of students in their academic years. That is one of my weaknesses since the beginning of the academic year. I never take the significant of taking note during the lectures or seminars. I face problem when I performed the economic exam in the managing markets module in second term, because I had not take the responsibility of the important of note taking. Notes serve several purposes. First, some lecture information might not be in the text or handouts, so I need to record this information for future reference. Second, the information emphasized in a lecture often signals what will be on exam, and that's reason enough for taking notes. Third, class notes serve as a means of external storage. As I am a busy student, I cannot remember every thing I hear accurately. Thus, notes serve as alternative form of memory (Longman & Atkinson 2005).
Note taking aids recall in several ways. First, note taking is a multisensory activity that requires more effort than mere listening does. This additional effort increases my learning and provides additional ways for me to store, and later retrieve, information. Because I don't have time to write ever thing that's said by lecturer, I have to be selective. This selectivity helps me to be attention to the information. Given that I have already made some conscious decisions about the importance of the information, I am more likely to remember it. Finally, as I am taking notes, my paraphrase, organize, and understand information to connect this new information to my background. Thus, integrate new ideas more fully and recall them more effectively (Longman & Atkinson 2005).
There is no single right way to take notes. Some note taking strategies my will help to improve this skill. For example, symbols, layout, highlighting, circling on paper, abbreviation, underlining, and use of capital letters. Also I need to date each day notes because this provides reference point if I need to compare my notes with someone. Moreover, I have to review my notes as soon as possible after taking them. That allowed me to achieve more then students who don't review notes. (Wallace 2004) & (Longman & Atkinson 2005).