Reasons for studying a Master degree at Bangor

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Dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Success is never an accident but always by design. Hard work in the right direction is the price we must pay for success. One can accomplish anything if one is willing to pay the price. I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen. I believe that we live this life only once, so why not give it the best shot we can and put the best efforts in every step of life.

From the beginning of my college career, I had my goals pretty clear in my mind. I had a strong desire to pursue a course in MBA Marketing in an internationally acclaimed Institution such as yours (Bangor University). I feel, I have the right frame of mind to gain the maximum from the MBA curriculum. I look forward to the stimulation and challenge of living and studying in the charged environment of United Kingdom. The opportunity to interact and make friends with people from diverse backgrounds will definitely enrich my life experiences. The exposure will help widen my horizons and help me gain the expertise to meet international standards of work and survive in a world of global competition.

In the current era where the globe is shrinking and Internationalization is the buzzword, I decided to look for International exposure to help me enrich and expand my horizons. Overall I am a people's person and believe strongly in good teamwork being at the core of success. I would like to be a leader that works from within and carries the group forward as a cohesive team. Efficient planning and co-ordination of various efforts has been a part of my numerous responsibilities and each success has added to my self-esteem. I believe that my commitment to goals and sincerity of efforts have helped me to achieve what I want and will always be my greatest strength.

Over the years, I have realized that my strength lies in my ability to negotiate, think clearly and grasp quickly. I consider I have good functional intelligence and analytical abilities. I also have excellent presentation skills. The one year program offered by your esteemed institution will not only develop my ability to look beyond my present, but also will help me envision what might be and how to accomplish it in future.

I certainly have the determination to go ahead and realize my dream. I hope I am given a chance to do the same by permitting my admission to the course. I look forward to an affirmative response from your esteemed University.

My parents and Education Link consultancy motivated and helped me in finding the areas of my choice and interest. After a long time my search has found the target in MBA as an entrepreneur. I need the competence, the skill, the perception and a complete understanding of the norms and standards that govern the global markets of trade and commerce. There is no doubt that in India also, the working conditions are improving, research and development facilities expanding and business studies coming up the globalize standards and matching with the best in the world. Yet the lack of appropriate infrastructure, paucity of funds at the higher levels of learning coupled with the uncertain policies of the governing bodies only hinder the growth and spoil the work atmosphere. It is to acquire these competencies that I wish to study at your university in the U.K. I feel that an international education experience will equip me with the abilities to succeed in the competitive world both locally and globally.

These types of work will not only help me in getting fame but will also make me a better person. The current emphasis on globalization and the need for every professional to work according to international standards had prompted me to study abroad.

Question 2:- What is your approach to learning?

Development is the process of learning. We learn in different ways in our childhoods, adolescence and in adulthood and as we move from beginning to perfect in particular areas.

Learning approaches are not static; the approaches changes over time and in different parts which depends on what we are learning, our experience with the subject and where and how we are learning it from.

Part of learning plays a critical role in how well we are supported. Context to this includes the fit between us and our instructor, our environment, our values, our approach and how we are learning, the learning activities and material.

Learning is known as a social process. Social constructivism which is firmly affected by Vygotsky's (1978) work, suggests that the fact of knowing is first constructed in a concerning context and then it is suitable for an individuals ( Burning et al., 1999; M. Cole, 1991; Eggan & Kauchak, 2004 ). According to the concerning constructivists, the process of sharing individual perspectives-called collaborative elaboration (Meter & Stevens, 2000)-results in learners constructing understanding together that wouldn't be possible alone (Greeno et al., 1996)

Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves, hence the importance of encouraging guesswork and intuitive thinking in learners (Brown et al.1989; Ackerman 1996). In fact, for the social constructivist, reality is not something that we can discover because it does not pre-exist prior to our social invention of it. Kukla (2000) argues that reality is constructed by our own activities and that people, together as members of a society, invent the properties of the world.

Other constructivist scholars agree with this and emphasize that individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in. Knowledge is thus a product of humans and is socially and culturally constructed (Ernest 1991; Prawat and Floden 1994). McMahon (1997) agrees that learning is a social process. He further states that learning is not a process that only takes place inside our minds, nor is it a passive development of our behaviours that is shaped by external forces and that meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities.

Vygotsky (1978) also highlighted the convergence of the social and practical elements in learning by saying that the most significant moment in the course of intellectual development occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge. Through practical activity a child constructs meaning on an intrapersonal level, while speech connects this meaning with the interpersonal world shared by the child and her/his culture.

There should be collaboration amongst the learners.

Learners who are with the different backgrounds and skills should collaborate in their discussions and tasks to reach at a shared knowing of the truth in a particular field (Duffy and Jonassen 1992).

Most of the social helpful models given by Duffy and Jonassen (1992) stressed at the demands for collaboration among learners in direct opposite to beliefs competitive approaches. One understanding that has an important completion for difficulty in collaboration is that of region of nearness growth. It is defined as the distance between the actual growth level as settled by uncontrollable problem-solving and the level of possible development as settled through problem-solving under the guidance or in collaboration with more practical peers (Vygotsky 1978).

Underlying the notion of the learner as an active processor is "the assumption that there is no one set of generalised learning laws with each law applying to all domains" (Di Vesta 1987:208).Decontextualised knowledge does not give us the skills to apply our understandings to authentic tasks because, as Duffy and Jonassen (1992) indicated, we are not working with the concept in the complex environment and experiencing the complex interrelationships in that environment that determine how and when the concept is used. One social constructivist notion is that of authentic orsituated learning, where the student takes part in activities directly relevant to the application of learning and that take place within a culture similar to the applied setting (Brown et al. 1989). Cognitive apprenticeship has been proposed as an effective constructivist model of learning that attempts to "enculturate students into authentic practices through activity and social interaction in a way similar to that evident, and evidently successful, in craft apprenticeship" (Ackerman 1996:25).

[edit]Assessment

Holt and Willard-Holt (2000) emphasize the concept of dynamic assessment, which is a way of assessing the true potential of learners that differs significantly from conventional tests. Here the essentially interactive nature of learning is extended to the process of assessment. Rather than viewing assessment as a process carried out by one person, such as an instructor, it is seen as a two-way process involving interaction between both instructor and learner. The role of the assessor becomes one of entering into dialogue with the persons being assessed to find out their current level of performance on any task and sharing with them possible ways in which that performance might be improved on a subsequent occasion. Thus, assessment and learning are seen as inextricably linked and not separate processes (Holt and Willard-Holt 2000).

According to this viewpoint instructors should see assessment as a continuous and interactive process that measures the achievement of the learner, the quality of the learning experience and courseware. The feedback created by the assessment process serves as a direct foundation for further development.

[edit]The selection, scope and sequencing of the subject matter

[edit]Knowledge should be discovered as an integrated whole

Knowledge should not be divided into different subjects or compartments, but should be discovered as an integrated whole (McMahon 1997; Di Vesta 1987).

This also again underlines the importance of the context in which learning is presented (Brown et al. 1989). The world, in which the learner needs to operate, does not approach one in the form of different subjects, but as a complex myriad of facts, problems, dimensions and perceptions. Learners should constantly be challenged with tasks that refer to skills and knowledge just beyond their current level of mastery. This captures their motivation and builds on previous successes to enhance learner confidence (Brownstein 2001). This is in line with Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, which can be described as the distance between the actual developmental level (as determined by independent problem-solving) and the level of potential development (as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers) (Vygotsky 1978).

Vygotsky (1978) further claimed that instruction is good only when it proceeds ahead of development. Then it awakens and rouses to life an entire set of functions in the stage of maturing, which lie in the zone of proximal development. It is in this way that instruction plays an extremely important role in development.

To fully engage and challenge the learner, the task and learning environment should reflect the complexity of the environment that the learner should be able to function in at the end of learning. Learners must not only have ownership of the learning or problem-solving process, but of the problem itself (Derry 1999).

Where the sequencing of subject matter is concerned, it is the constructivist viewpoint that the foundations of any subject may be taught to anybody at any stage in some form (Duffy and Jonassen 1992). This means that instructors should first introduce the basic ideas that give life and form to any topic or subject area, and then revisit and build upon these repeatedly. This notion has been extensively used in curricula.

It is also important for instructors to realize that although a curriculum may be set down for them, it inevitably becomes shaped by them into something personal that reflects their own belief systems, their thoughts and feelings about both the content of their instruction and their learners (Rhodes and Bellamy 1999). Thus, the learning experience becomes a shared enterprise. The emotions and lifecontexts of those involved in the learning process must therefore be considered as an integral part of learning. The goal of the learner is central in considering what is learned (Brown et al. 1989; Ackerman 1996).

[edit]The structuredness of the learning process

It is important to achieve the right balance between the degree of structure and flexibility that is built into the learning process. Savery (1994) contends that the more structured the learning environment, the harder it is for the learners to construct meaning based on their conceptual understandings. A facilitator should structure the learning experience just enough to make sure that the students get clear guidance and parameters within which to achieve the learning objectives, yet the learning experience should be open and free enough to allow for the learners to discover, enjoy, interact and arrive at their own, socially verified version of truth.

[edit]Constructivism for Adult Learners

Adults learn in fundamentally different ways than children. Children have fewer experiences, so their brains are able to create new neurological structures when they learn. Adults have previously existing neurological structures due to their vast amount of experience, so new learning for adults requires new connections between already existing neurological structures.

There are several processes that are important for working with adult learners: mechanisms for mutual planning, diagnosis of learner needs and interests, cooperative learning climate, sequential activities for achieving the objectives, formulation of learning objectives based on the diagnosed needs and interests, selection of methods, materials, and resources, and evaluation of learning. Adult learners should be informed why something is important to learn and be shown how to direct themselves through information. The topic being presented should be related to the learners' experiences. People tend not to learn until they are ready and motivated, and they may need help overcoming inhibitions, behaviors and beliefs about learning.

Personal relevance of the content, involvement of the learner in the process, and deeper understanding of underlying concepts are some of the intersections between emphases in constructivism and adult learning principles.

Question number 3:- What issues do you anticipate in the group work?

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