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Learning is an observable and measurable change in behaviour that is the result of an experience (Jaques & Salmon, 2007). It can be defined as 'creation of meaning from past or current events that serves as a meaning for future behaviour' (Seibert & Daudelin, 1999, pp.18). Learning occurs in four most important ways such as acquisition, accretion, transmission and emergence. Acquisition is the conscious variety to learn and this method involves exploring, experimenting, self-instruction, inquiry, and general curiosity. Accretion is the ongoing, often unintentional, process by which we learn things like language, culture, habits, prejudices, social rules and behaviours. Transmission is a teaching program to others regarding information, knowledge, ideas and skills through purposeful, conscious telling, demonstration, and guidance. Emergence is the result of creation of new ideas that did not exist before, but which emerge from the brain through thoughtful reflection, insight and creative expression or group interactions (Jarvis, Holford & Griffin, 2003). This form of learning can be called as intellectual creativity (Clark, Nguyen & Sweller, 2006). In addition to that learning and skills can be obtained through books reading, dramas, group discussions, electronic media and playing games (Hewitt, 2008).
The word reflection comes from the Latin root reflectere, meaning "to bend back" (Seibert & Daudelin, 1999). Copland & Knapp (2006) believes the concept of bending back is important in understanding the nature of reflection. Reflection can be defined as 'the process of stepping back from an experience to carefully and persistently contemplate its meaning to the self through the development of inferences' (Seibert & Daudelin, 1999, pp.20). By using this definition, reflection is the mechanism that results in the product of learning. There are some characteristics of the process, and encourage you to amplify your own favored ways of developing it. It is an important aspect of helping students and residents develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum. It is a critical thinking that supports learning objectives by expecting students to make perceptive observations, to demonstrate inductive or deductive analyzing skills, and to consider multiple stance, theories, and types of data (Fook & Gardner, 2007). McDrury & Alterio (2003) suggests three pre requisites essential to effective reflection in terms of belief in the value of reflection, knowledge of what would be a worthwhile focus for reflection and a rich repertoire of reflection skills. Reflection is thinking for a purpose, if we want to become a more effective and capable learner. Consequently, reflection is also analyzing and evaluating how we learn in our own learning processes (Gould & Baldwin, 2004). It becomes a more meaningful activity if it can be shared, either in a group or with another student. Putting your thoughts and ideas into words and getting a response from someone else, then maybe listening to their reactions, makes the process more interactive and developmental. This communication can be face-to-face or might be by telephone or electronically, interest in learning might well enjoy sharing with you some of the activities in this unit (Conzemius & O'Neill, 2001). Reflection is not just an 'add-on-extra' to academic learning, but it is an essential constituent of good quality learning and the image of that learning (Hoyrup, 2004).
Physical setting, content, instructors are the eminent factors which affect the quality of learning environment (Kidd & Keengwe, 2009). Physical setting consist of location (e.g. outside or inside, or in a classroom or a particular room), ratio of the number of the instructors to the students, style (e.g. traditional classroom style) and technology. Content is what a person is learning and it would motivate and promote him to study harder in a good learning environment.
Careful thought is very essential for assessing reflection, how you will ensure that students employ in the task. If you are going to assess it, the following points may be helpful: Reflection outcomes for students generally divided into three group's namely academic learning outcome group, personal development outcome group and civic engagement outcome group (Hewitt, 2008). Academic learning outcome is reflection groups to facilitate students achieve a deeper understanding of what they learn, applying what they learn to real life situations, and developing increased problem solving skills. Personal development outcomes are a reflection of awareness of changes in oneself, a sense of community and ability to take charge of one's own. A civic engagement outcome demonstrates reflection is a forecaster of directness to new ideas, ability to see issues in a new way (Jarvis, Holford & Griffin, 2004).
The modern educational system of India originates from the British educational system, which was introduced by the British colonial masters in the 19th century. The British colonial government established colleges for boys and girls separately. As far as my country is concern, the government policy in general education compulsory schooling period lies of age 5 to 14 of the student. The entire education System is threefold as Secondary School leaving grade (10th standard), Higher secondary grade (12th standard) and University grade.
Admission to primary cycle is at the age of 5 years. During primary cycle parents have to play a vital role on their children's education and teacher taught us not only the syllabus, behavioural approach as well. The secondary cycle of education is sub-divided in to junior Secondary [Grades 6-10] and Senior Secondary [Grades 11-12]. During this period teachers made us to gain general knowledge, spiritual knowledge and curricular activities. Given knowledge from the school was insufficient, thus I went to private tuition and temple to obtain additional acquaintance. It helped me to fulfil my attainment task appropriately. The curriculum of junior secondary cycle consists of five compulsory subjects and in senior secondary cycle I taught six compulsory subjects (Mother Tongue, English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology).
At the end of the Secondary Cycle the students sit for the public examination called the Higher Secondary Examination (H.S.E). Those who secure passes at the Higher Secondary Examination but fail to gain admission to a University may enter the Open University to follow a degree or a diploma course or follow one of the Professional/Technical Courses for job-oriented training.
This level was a very crucial for me, I had to face many difficulties to overcome the obstacle like 'peer pressure' and teenaged. Teenage is transitional stage of physical and mental human development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. Our education system and examination system were mostly relied on textbook, no more beyond that, no need to give in text citation and references. As a result our education system obstructed me to gain enormous knowledge in my academic career. I was worked hard during HSE period and finally got 89%.
After completing HSE, I was joined in Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Dr. MGR Medical University. Our course prospectus were limited and designed depend on textbook; the examination of the university also considered within prospectus, further references was not compulsory during our academic activities. Most students spend their time in individual study in library referring textbooks, hardly ever group studies or group discussions took place. In Our University, there was no information technology network system in library which made me to consume additional time to locate appropriate books. However in worldwide Universities continue to invest large sums of money in corporate technology networks, systems and applications to help improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility and satisfaction of teaching and learning in higher education. This early stage one of the main problems experienced by students was the originality of the type of learning process. Students were faced with the view of engaging with new technology. I feel that I am lacking in technical ability compared to some people on the course as I was not accustomed to technology network system during my graduation.
Overseas students have a difficult time adjusting to a new environment. If they feel comfortable in their surroundings, then learning can take place. Teaching tactics were significantly different from those at undergraduate level, where the teaching model was the imperfect. I am exposed to completely different ways of learning; I have come from this extremely different learning environment to this new learning environment which was totally unfamiliar. I was frustrated by it, as I am in state of cultural shock. Studying at Master's level we will come across a range of different challenges. However, So far I have completed more than three months in Northumbria University in the UK I have learned many things through this course.
Before I started studying in this University, I did not pay any attention to learning environments. Thus, when I heard about our main projects, observing learning environments with technology in use, I had no idea what to do. I did not even think. I could finish my Bachelor's project satisfyingly in my country, but now, each time I see a different environment, I find myself evaluating the environment without noticing. This is a big change, an excellent change that I realized.
Situated in the context of the Northumbria University, the teaching and learning process is a mix of formal and informal experiences that take place in a range of built environments. The primary formal settings include lecture theatres, seminar rooms, practical laboratories, IT spaces and libraries. More informal settings include cafes, learning commons where effective learning may also take place.
Our academic staff of this university range and balance of teaching helped me to learn a lot here, learning materials/practice used by staff were advanced. Module support classes [e.g. seminars, workshops, tutorials, etc] facilitated me to learn efficiently. Moreover, non-class works for the module [e.g. field trip, independent studies, etc] are very useful for me to gain additional information. Especially, E- Learning portal facility (blackboard) is very helpful for me to get information regarding our course materials when I fail to attend lecture.
The assessment methods used related well to the learning outcome of the module, the criteria that were used in marking were clear and easy to understand. Feedback on my work, written or verbal helped for my learning. Accurate information about the module, course materials (paper - based and on line) were very constructive. Academic staffs provide support when appropriate in humanitarian manner.
This University provides excellent learning environment including appropriate physical setting, proper content and well experienced academic staffs. They motivate me to share the knowledge, either in a group or with another student. It enhances me to accomplish my curricular activities. Once I glanced the course module I thought, it was ineffective for my career but now I am realizing which assists me to perform my final dissertation.
In master level study critical thinking is vital because 'It is a skill and active interpretation and evaluation of observations and communications information and argumentation' (Gould & Baldwin, 2004, pp.43). According to that, the module is designed to organize master's level student to meet a range of different challenges. It is an inevitable arrangement for our future task. Unbearable climatic change and inability to understanding accent thoroughly are main barriers for me to perform my daily activities. Still I am struggling to overcome above mentioned obstacles I hope, I will overcome it in the future with a help of our tutors. (Words count: 1960)