The Applied Management Project Education Essay

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This module should be completed at the end of the taught part of your programme. It is assumed that you have successfully completed the first two semesters of study and therefore have a thorough grasp of the taught elements of the programme. You will be expected to draw on the learning that you have achieved in the taught modules.

The Applied Management Project is the final assessed piece of work of the masters' programme. It is designed to simulate a realistic management situation, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to use the knowledge and skills acquired through the taught element of the course. The purpose is to bring together the taught elements of the programme, re-enforcing their relationships enabling you to move from the understanding of a discrete knowledge base to synthesising and exploring new areas in more detail. It simulates the working environment where individuals are constantly required to combine knowledge in different ways and increase their understanding in different areas.

The AMP gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of business. The aims of this module are to enable you to take the knowledge understanding and skills you have been developing in individual modules and use them in a complex, multifunctional situation.

formulate a problem

identify information needs

retrieve information

synthesise information

produce creative solutions

produce a well argued and supported report in response to the problem identified

work effectively in a group

work effectively in a time constrained situation

reflect on the learning achieved through the process

It is the vehicle through which you as a masters students can show that you are able to work at Masters level as defined in the University's level M descriptor: Students 'should be working within complex, unpredictable and normally specialised fields demanding innovative work which involves exploring the current limits of knowledge'.

2. How it works

You must form groups of 8 to begin the work. You may choose your own groups to work with, but the responsibility is yours. Each group should contain students from the same award programme although students of "Business and Management" may choose to work with any other group, or may form a group within their own programme.

You will be given a business scenario, together with a small number of chosen articles to read. This pack of information will comprise a problem, issue or area of investigation. The task of your team is to decide on the issues, formulate the problem and identify information needs to deal with the issues identified. We call this "Enquiry Based Learning" as you will be establishing yourselves precisely what to investigate.

Your group will then set out to collect the information that you have identified as necessary. You should share the information between the group members, as it is intended that the research process will be extensive.

Following collection of the data by the group, you will write a 12,000 words (± 5%) report. This MAIN REPORT is INDIVIDUAL. Students are expected to use the information gathered by the group to provide an individual analysis of the problem and appropriate actions to deal with it. It may be that you provide a solution to the problem or that you simply analyse the dimensions of the problem.

Alongside the completion of the main report, you must produce an individual reflective report of 3000 words (± 5%). This reflective analysis will look at the process of the project. You should be self analytical as well as critical of your group.

3. Module Timetable

For Health and Safety reasons the class will be divided into four cohorts by course.

Cohort A

Cohort B

Cohort C

Cohort D

International Business

Business & Management (general)

Marketing

Finance

Logistics

E-Business

Information Systems

Sports & Leisure

Entrepreneurship

Monday [15th of June]

Time

Room

Activity

Tutor

Cohort

9.30 - 10.45

A004, Park Square

Introduction to the Module

Vincent Ong and Peter Patrick

ALL cohorts

10.45 - 11.00

Break

11.00 - 13.00

A004

What is reflection and why is it relevant?

Rob Carman

ALL cohorts

13.00 - 14.00

Lunch (You are on your own! Please return promptly!)

14.00 - 15.00

A004

Sourcing relevant information and referencing it.

Alan Bullimore & Peter Godwin, Academic Liaison Librarian

ALL cohorts

15.00 - 16.30

A004

Formation of groups and allocation of topics

Vincent Ong and Peter Patrick

ALL cohorts

Tuesday [16th of June]

Time

Room

Activity

Tutor

Cohort

9.30 - 12.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort A

International Business

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort B

Business & Management (general)

Marketing

13.30 - 16.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort C

Finance

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort D

Logistics

E-Business

Information Systems

Sports & Leisure

Entrepreneurship

Wednesday [17th of June]

Time

Room

Activity

Tutor

Cohort

9.30 - 12.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort A

International Business

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort B

Business & Management (general)

Marketing

13.30 - 16.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort C

Finance

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort D

Logistics

E-Business

Information Systems

Sports & Leisure

Entrepreneurship

Thursday [18th of June]

9.30 - 12.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort A

International Business

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort B

Business & Management (general)

Marketing

13.30 - 16.30

Business Pod 1 (J103)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort C

Finance

Business Pod 3 (J303)

Work on project in groups/ library sessions

Business School staff/ Business Librarians

Cohort D

Logistics

E-Business

Information Systems

Sports & Leisure

Entrepreneurship

Friday [19th of June]

9.30 - 11.00

A004, Park Square

Writing a report

Steve Briggs, Learning Support Tutor

ALL cohorts

11.00 - 11.30

Break

11.30 - 12.30

A004

Plagiarism and TurnitinUK (Submitting your assignment electronically)

Prof. Brian Mathews

ALL cohorts

12.30 - 13.00

A004

Final questions

Vincent Ong and Peter Patrick

ALL cohorts

NOTE: After June 19th, you will not meet with your tutors. You should work with your team in data collection and alone in writing up.

4. Handing in the Assignment

Date for Submission - Monday 14th September 2009

Final submission of both components (Main Report & Reflective Report) of the AMP and completion of programme. The assignment must be submitted:

To the Modular Office at the Student Centre by 4pm with TWO hard copies* of your work and an electronic disk (attached to one of the hard copies).

To TurnitinUK electronically via the BREO system ** (Please submit according to your MSc Programme, see Appendix 5 on how to submit to TurnitinUK)

Note:

* Please bind the Main Report and Reflective Report together with a clear title page for each section.

** You have ONLY ONE chance to submit your final Main Report and Reflective Report in TurnitinUK. Please submit separately. Include everything except appendices.

5. Report Format

The AMP simulates the type of task that you will be asked to do when you are employed. The Main Report has a recognised format, which you should use.

Title Page - Module Code, Topic, Your Name, Your Student Number

Acknowledgement - Only put these in if you have received help from an outside body. There is no need to thank your tutors.

Table of Contents - Use a consistent approach to numbering the sections of your report.

Executive Summary - One side of A4 summarising the key points of your report

Aims and Objectives - This should outline the way in which you are tackling the question set.

Literature review ,Analysis and Discussion - This is the main body of the report in which you demonstrate your ability to find, evaluate, analyse and synthesise information to produce an original piece of work

Conclusions - This is the section where you summarise the previous section in such a way as to clearly provide a response to the question posed in the topic you were given.

Recommendations - If appropriate recommendations for action should be provided in this section.

References - All sources from which you have quoted MUST be listed here in alphabetical order according to the Harvard referencing system.

Bibliography (optional) - Sources which you have read but to which you have not made specific mention in your work should be listed here in alphabetical order according to the Harvard referencing system.

Appendix/appendices - are not a necessary part of the report . It/they contains supporting material you wish to present but which is not essential to the understanding of the main report.

Your report should be printed in Arial 12pt, 1.5 line spacing and bound.

Note: The above format does not apply to Reflective Report (refer Page 8 for the recommended headings for Reflective Report).

6. Referencing

References should be made to sources of material throughout the report. There are various conventions that can be used for referencing and ultimately it does not matter which is used, as long as it is used consistently. Perhaps the easiest and neatest convention is the following one, since it does not take up undue space in the text and thereby does not distract from the flow of arguments.

Effectively, this convention gives enough information in the text to allow full identification of the source from the reference. An author can be referred to in a number of ways.

In the case where the author is referred as saying something in an unquoted way:

Maslow (1970) argues that ....

On the other hand, when quoting verbatim (direct quotation) and needing to attribute the source:

"... is no longer a source of motivation." (Maslow, 1970, p 43)

Since the quote is direct, it requires a precise page reference.

The references list at the back should detail all books, articles, etc, that have been referred to in the text, first by author (alphabetically) and next by date of publication. If the source is a book, these details will be followed by the full title (underscored), the place of publication, and the publisher, e.g.

Maslow A H (1970) Motivation and Personality New York, Harper and Row

Another example might be:

Lloyd P Jones A and Brown S (1984) Introduction to Psychology: An Integrated Approach London Fontana

In this instance there are a number of authors, and in the text with three or more authors you should use the style Lloyd et al. (1984). The "et al" is a shortening of et alia, a Latin term meaning and others.

Referring to journal papers in the text is the same procedure, but they are detailed rather differently. In this case it is the source journal or book that is underscored, the title of the paper appearing in inverted commas, e.g.

Maslow A H (1943) "A Theory of Human Motivation" Psychological Review Vol. 50 No. 2 pp 370-396

If an author quoted has published two or more items in one year, these should be distinguished between as follows:

Agee (1986a) and Agee (1986b)

Sometimes authors are not identified, but the book is published under the auspices of an institution, e.g. Institute of Personnel Management or The Royal Commission for .......... These should be listed under the names of the institutions.

Proper referencing is a crucial aspect of the dissertation and, in some cases, it can make the difference between a pass and a fail. You are therefore strongly advised to take particular care over this..

7. Reflective Analysis Report

"The reflective analysis report is designed to consolidate the student learning from the dissertation experience. It is designed to allow students to examine individual and group experiences through critical reflection. Students are advised to take some cognisance of current theory and application of reflective practice.

The following should be taken into account in compiling this report. Firstly, the analysis is not about demonstrating:

How perfect you are

How you've done everything perfectly well

That others have let you down

Secondly, the analysis is about what you have learnt from the experience, both personally and as a group.

Reflection under the following headings might be considered.

Introduction

Recollection of experiences

How the development process worked. Diarised recollection of key stages and 'events' in the development of both the literature review and the integrated marketing plan. Any particular internal crises or elements of enlightenment should be identified.

In compiling this element, students are advised to keep regular and detailed diaries or logs.

Personal feelings and learning from the experience

Personal feelings regarding the process and one's own contribution to the experience. Identification of any specific personal problems either with content, process or other group members. Identification of how issues were resolved and over what time period.

How, if at all, was my performance compromised by the actions of others? How might my actions have compromised the performance of others? Any other comments regarding personal feelings and learning.

Group dynamics and learning from the experience

How did the group respond to the process? Identification of any problems with the group as a whole. How did the group dynamic evolve? How did the group respond to you and your input? What new group insights evolved? How would the other members of the group have regarded you? What more might the group, or individuals within the group have done in solving the problem(s)? What value was gained from the supervisor consultations?

Lessons for future projects

Identify up to 5 key lessons to improve your performance in future group activities and projects.

Conclusion

General conclusions from the process.

You might also consider the following:

Don't rely on your memory: compile regular detailed progress logs

Be prepared to discuss issues and feelings with other members of the group

Prepare for some discomfort and 'hostile information'

Through foresight and hindsight you can gain insight."

(Hunt, N (2005)Dissertation Handbook)

More detailed information is given in Appendix 2

8. Plagiarism and Chunking

Work presented by a student in an assessment is expected to be the student's own, and while quotations from published sources are usually acceptable, such cases must be clearly identified and the source fully acknowledged.

As a guideline, verbatim (direct) quotations should not exceed 5% of your 12000 words in the main report and 3000 words in the reflective report.

Plagiarism is

Copying chunks of unascribed text from elsewhere, including downloading material from the internet

Incomplete or inaccurate referencing

Copying other student's work

Allowing others to have access to your work which they may copy

Plagiarism is a serious offence that will be punished. The University has set of regulations to govern how plagiarism is treated and you should make yourself familiar with these (They are available on the website). As a minimum penalty, student who commits plagiarism will normally receive a fail grade, and this means that the project must be taken again and the student has to pay to do so. The offence is also recorded and may be mentioned is references are requested.

The reason we penalise plagiarism because it is often a form of theft and the intention in all cases is to deceive. It constitutes unethical behaviour.

Chunking is the use of substantial amounts of other people's work which is correctly referenced.

Students whose work consists of a series of quotations from other people's work, which is correctly referenced, are not guilty of deception . Nevertheless they are likely to fail the module because they have not demonstrated that they are capable of the Master's level skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas. Recognising the relevance of other people's ideas is only a first year undergraduate skill.

As you will discover in the session on plagiarism we have access to software which compares work submitted by students with a database which is added to by every piece of work that is checked. As more universities join the scheme the database becomes more comprehensive..

We now have a policy to check every project so you are asked to hand in a disk with your work.

9. Marking of The Assignment

You will receive a single grade for the Applied Management Project. The balance of the grade between the project and the reflective report will be reflected in the word count allowed for each section.

The Main Report carries 80% of the mark and the Reflective Report 20%.

The table in Appendix 1 shows the criteria used to mark your work

Your work will be double marked, which is why we ask you to hand in two copies of your report. It will also be checked for chunking and plagiarism, which is why we ask for a copy on disk. If you do not provide what we ask, there will be a delay in marking your work which may lead to a delay in obtaining your award. You should hand in TWO hard copies of your work and an electronic disk. And you should also submit your both main report and reflective report electronically via BREO's TurnitinUK (under the Assignments link).

10. Tutor Support (only available during the AMP week)

You will NOT have a personal tutor in the style of the old fashioned project. A team of tutors with a range of subject specialism will support your work during the AMP's group-work sessions. After June 19th, 2009, you will receive no more tutorial help. You will then be alone with your group to complete the work. The tutors will work as a team during the group-work sessions and will advise and guide you as you request (i.e. guidance on literature review, secondary research, research analysis etc.).

During the AMP week, Academic Liaison Librarian will also be around to provide support in academic sourcing and referencing.

11. Administration Support over the Summer

If you have any general enquiry, please send your email to amp@beds.ac.uk instead of the direct email of module leaders. This email will reach all module leaders and one of the module leaders will reply you.

Appendix 1 - Applied Management Project Marking Scheme

Aims and Objectives

The AMP is designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of business as well as the skills essential to effective operation in a business environment. In particular the aims of this module are to enable the students to take the knowledge, understanding and skills they have been developing in individual modules See below) and use them in a complex, multifunctional situation.

formulate a problem

identify information needs

retrieve information

synthesise information

produce creative solutions

produce a well argued and supported report in response to the problem identified

work effectively in a group

work effectively in a time constrained situation

reflect on the learning achieved through the process

It is the vehicle through which masters students can show that they are able to work at Masters level as defined in the University's level M descriptor: Students 'should be working within complex, unpredictable and normally specialised fields demanding innovative work which involves exploring the current limits of knowledge.'

The work to be assessed is in two parts - the first a 12,000 word report and the second a reflection on the process of doing the assignment.

Two marking schemes are presented one for each assignment .You should provide a separate mark for each component.

Assessment criteria.

There are two sets of sets of outcomes which are identified in the M level descriptors. The first are cognitive outcomes and the second are generic skills

Broadly speaking the cognitive outcomes can be evaluated through the report, whereas the reflective essay should give an insight into the generic skills. It is however, the case that the generic skills can also be measured by the student's success or lack of it in producing an adequate piece of work.

Cognitive outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Should be able to autonomously analyse new and/or abstract data and situations using a wide range of techniques appropriate to the discipline(s) and to his/her own research or advanced scholarship

Should be able to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and a systematic understanding of his/her discipline(s), across specialist and applied areas, and be critically aware of and deal with complexity, gaps and contradictions in the current knowledge base with confidence

Although the task is based on secondary data, there are numerous sources - academic journals, newspapers, trade press, government reports, and books - which the student can use as well as www.google.com! The data may and probably will be contradictory. Students may deal with this by ignoring conflicting findings or by engaging in a debate to examine the reasons for the disparity

A -The student provides a comprehensive answer that shows a clear understanding of the breadth of the issues involved. The answer demonstrates the student's ability to provide a balanced response taking account of disparity and differences in the secondary data. The answer clearly supports a view that the student has mastery over the subject matter.

B -The student demonstrates a good understanding of the issues involved and the relation of these issues to their business specialism. They are able to manipulate ideas well to produce a reasoned answer to the question

C- The answer demonstrates an ability to use ideas which are easily accessible. No evidence of a student's attempt to go beyond the obvious. Discussion accurate but shallow. Correct referencing for the most part

D- Heavy reliance on very limited set of thoughts. Little evidence of any attempt to collect a broader range of information. Discussion narrow and possibly not well argued or supported. .

E - Discussion lacks breadth. The student fails to demonstrate a real understanding of all the issues involved

F -Very little or no evidence of the student's ability to appreciate a range of different ideas

- Alternatively heavy reliance on large chunks of other's work. Referencing

may not be full and accurate but is present and the intention is NOT to

pass work off as the student's own

Synthesis/creativity

Should be able to autonomously synthesise information and ideas and propose new hypotheses, create original responses to problems that expand or redefine existing knowledge or develop new approaches to changing situations

A - a well constructed piece of work which clearly demonstrates the student's ability to synthesise complex arguments and to use the data to come up with novel solutions. It has a logical flow and The work will be well argued and the conclusions will follow naturally from the evidence presented. No doubt will be left in the reader's mind as to their validity.

B - a well constructed piece of work. Literature critically evaluated not merely a précis. Good use of secondary data sources to support the arguments. Literature supports the discussion which has been developed from the information collected. The work will be soundly argued and the conclusions will be largely convincing

C - A range of appropriate points made but more as a list then as a unified piece of work. 'Reader presented with bricks rather than building'. The work will be reasonably argued but the conclusions will not be entirely convincing Secondary sources will usually provided to support the points made

D - A limited number of points made with little attempt to interrelate them to form a coherent discussion. Poorly argued with rather unconvincing conclusions. The reader may well doubt that the conclusions are valid .Poor use of any external data to support the points.

E - Some evidence of an attempt to provide an answer to the question but insufficient detail to pass. No real attempt to move on from a few pieces of information. Poorly argued and with conclusions that just do not follow from the evidence presented 'Chunking' calls into question the student's in depth understanding of the issues presented..

F - A random collection of statements based on the students own point of view with no attempt to use evidence to support the arguments. Alternatively, serious 'chunking'.

Evaluation

Should be able to independently evaluate current research, advanced scholarship and associated methodologies and appropriately justify the work of self and others

A small group of students complained that they needed more time because of the mass of information available so under this heading the ability to recognise worthwhile and less valuable information should be included.

A - The answer demonstrates the ability to deal with data from a wide variety of sources with a clear understanding of its relative value. There is clear evidence of the student's ability to critically evaluate ideas and sources. Referencing is full and accurate

B- A good range of literature used from a broad range of sources. The answer demonstrates appreciation of its appropriateness. Full and accurate referencing

C- Some evidence of critical evaluation of secondary data. Correct referencing for the most part

D- Indiscriminate use of (probably) very limited information. Poor referencing

E - Some attempt to use secondary data. No attempt at appraising its reliability. Poor referencing

F -Very little or no use of published work. Poorly referenced if at all

Generic skills outcomes

Although the generic skills will to some extent be obvious in the output of the business report they should also emerge from the reflective essay.

Needs analysis

Should be able to explore the demands of a task and formulate viable proposals for meeting these demands

A - an excellent answer will demonstrate a comprehensive consideration of the issues and configure the response to enable different arguments to be presented in a logical order.

B - a good answer will structure the problem in a logical way demonstrating a breadth of understanding of the issues

C- an average answer will show consideration of some of the issues in a reasonably coherent way

D - a poor response will take a very narrow view and consider a limited range of issues

E- a referral answer will not consider the issues posed in the question in a coherent or detailed way,

F - a failing answer will not demonstrate an understanding of the issues posed in the question

Performance planning and management

Should be able to plan the task, and meet their own skill-development needs, and gain the necessary commitment from others

Should be able to manage the task, adapting their strategy as necessary to achieve the quality of outcomes required

Presentation and Evaluation

Should be able to present the outcomes of the task in a manner appropriate to the intended audience(s) and evaluate their overall performance

The Reflective Report

Based on the preceding model, the following guidelines should be used for assessing the student's reflections:

Is the work complete?

Is the work thorough

Is the work truly reflective or merely a diarised account of the process?

Does the work identify both personal and group dynamics and evolution?

Is there any evidence of linking the reflection to theory?

Is there evidence of real learning from the dissertation experience?

Is there any evidence of feedback that might help tutors improve the experience for future students?

Tutors are advised to take a holistic view of the students' reflections as the work is likely to be presented in a variety of quite different forms.(Hunt.N , 2005)

The following reflection under the following headings might be considered by students.

Introduction

Recollection of experiences

How the development process worked. Diarised recollection of key stages and 'events' in the development of both the literature review and the integrated marketing plan. Any particular internal crises or elements of enlightenment should be identified.

Personal feelings and learning from the experience

Personal feelings regarding the process and one's own contribution to the experience. Identification of any specific personal problems either with content, process or other group members. Identification of how issues were resolved and over what time period. How, if at all, was my performance compromised by the actions of others? How might my actions have compromised the performance of others? Any other comments regarding personal feelings and learning.

Group dynamics and learning from the experience

How did the group respond to the process? Identification of any problems with the group as a whole. How did the group dynamic evolve? How did the group respond to you and your input? What new group insights evolved? How would the other members of the group have regarded you? What more might the group, or individuals within the group have done in solving the problem(s)? What value was gained from the supervisor consultations?

Lessons for future projects

Identify up to 5 key lessons to improve your performance in future group activities and projects.

Conclusion

Appendix 2 - Introduction to Reflection

Used with the permission of the author Dr Chris Johns,

Faculty of Health and Social Science, University of Luton

Edited by Ann Mathews, Luton Business School

Aim of the booklet

To increase understanding and utilisation of the reflective process

Objectives

By the end of this booklet you should be able to:

Define reflective practice.

Describe the process/stages of turning reflection into learning and Identify the skills required to engage in reflective practice.

Recognise strategies, which may promote reflection as a learning tool.

Reflection

Can be defined as: a technique for turning experience into learning or a way for individuals to become self-reliant and problem solving.

Other definitions:

Kolb (1975) said reflection is central to the process of turning experience into learning.

Boyd and Fales (1983) suggest that: 'The process of reflection is the core difference, whether a person repeats the same experience several times between becoming proficient in one behaviour, or learns from experience in such a way that he or she is cognitively or affectively changed.'

Rogers (1986) said it was using one's own experience to provide learning, he said that self-initiated learning concerns the whole person, both feelings and intellect, and in this way the learning becomes lasting and pervasive.

Reid (1993) said 'a process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyse and evaluate and so inform learning from practice' (p 305)

What is Reflection?

The complex and deliberate process of thinking about and interpreting experience in order to learn from it - a conscious process.

Reflective learning is the process of internally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self, and which results in a changed conceptual perspective (Boyd and Fales 1983).

Reflection Introduced

So often in our every day lives we get caught up with the pressures and demands, we react to situations automatically and find little time to reflect on what we are doing and why. In daily life or on a demanding course students and staff may find similar problems. The pressure to complete assignments, learning new skills, meeting the needs of families and friends may seem to leave little time to ponder one's personal and professional development as one progresses through life or a course. One way of taking time to think throughout experiences and to learn from them is to keep a journal, or notes, on specific happenings. Tthis allows reflection during the writing or at a later time. Many people have been introduced into the reflective process by this mechanism. Holly and McLoughlin (1989.page 281) suggest that keeping a personal/ professional journal is:

'both a way to record the journey of teaching and growing, and to experience the processes purposefully and sensitively. It is a method for exploring our inner worlds and histories; of probing the educational and cultural milieus within which we teach; and of inquiring into the meaning of teaching. Professional development provides the context within which assessment and appraisal reside and make sense'.

Reflective notes tend to be written at times of critical incidents.

Holly and McLoughlin (1989) indicate several benefits of keeping a journal, or notes, on a critical incident.

Provides a permanent record, which we can return to from a variety of perspectives. Writing to reflect provides a cyclical process; reflecting as you write and returning at a later date to reflect on what has been written which may provide new ideas for further reflection. Writing necessitates 'time out' for reflection. They argue that time to reflect is not a luxury but a professional necessity.

Patterns and the themes of life become apparent over time. We act on our situational perceptions yet our perceptions are dependent on what we see and experience. We tend to function on autopilot and therefore we may not be aware of the patterns and themes in our lives. Writing over time makes seeing these themes and patterns possible.

Learning from practice can increase awareness, self-knowledge and confidence. We need not keep repeating our mistakes and defeats. As we write about our professional practice and note patterns and themes in the ways that we influence and are influenced by our circumstances we can learn more about ourselves. We can begin to understand why we do what we do and make unconscious behaviour conscious so that we may change it as appropriate. We can become more aware of our environment and the contexts in which we teach and can begin to anticipate and define events rather than just reacting to them.

Writing brings to conscious level much that was tacit. As we write and play with ideas and images other ideas emerge, begin to fuse together and we come to consciously know what we already knew tacitly.

Writing provides a comprehensive and ongoing database for professional development. Using words to describe our experiences in practice increases our range of language available to describe our practice to others. Through our writing we may become more comfortable and clear about our ideas and can enter into discussion with others and so enrich our practice. Used in this way the journal mimics the researcher's diary as it accumulates a database for the study of practice. However individual events can be written in a similar way.

Learning from Reflection

Reflection is central to the process of turning experience into learning. Boyd and Fales (1983) suggest that:

'The process of reflection is the core difference whether a person repeats the same experience several times between becoming proficient in one behaviour, or learns from experience in such a way that he or she is cognitively or effectively changed'.

Since this type of writing is an essentially process of learning from experience the ability to reflect on your experiences will be central to learning.

The Process of Reflection

Recall an experience to mind as soon after the event as possible and write a brief description of what happened. The intention with recall is to get in touch with what you experienced, it is important not to evaluate or judge the experience, (Cell,1984). Next, take some time to write your thoughts and feelings about the experience. This can be quite light hearted and relaxed. Allow your thoughts to flow spontaneously as you write. When you have explored the experience you can begin to focus your thoughts more specifically. The following are suggestions, which might prove useful.

What did you do well? How would you support this belief?

In retrospect is there anything that you would now wish to change and if so why?

What were you thinking about during the experience?

How did you behave? How did other people behave?

What did you expect to happen in the situation? Did it turn out as you expected?

What emotional or feeling responses did you have and what caused you to feel this way, did these affect your behaviour?

Were you aware of any interpersonal dynamics and how did these influence you? For example were you feeling cross, hurried or happy?

Did you do what you said you would do? If not what happened to change your mind? This can provide valuable knowledge of situations or be useful in future situations.

Did you learn anything new as a result of this experience which you could use in a similar situation in the future?

Are there areas you feel you need to improve or develop. If so what EXACTLY are they and how can you go about this?

Did this knowledge help you in developing new strategies in the future?

Did this experience help you to gain greater conceptual understanding?

Did any of the theoretical perspectives help to broaden your awareness or aid your understanding of what was happening in this situation?

Is there an area of theory you need to brush up on or look up?

Once you have finished writing, read through what you have written

This can be undertaken at a later date if necessary. Are there any aspects that you have taken for granted, assumptions made judgements or implicit values being expressed that you were not aware of at the time? You can use this reading to examine these in order perhaps to clarify, refine or modify any areas. Over time you may begin to see familiar patterns emerging as you read through what you have written.

It is important to see the reflective process as a critical dialogue with your experience and with your observations on the experience. This gives you the opportunity to reflect on the usefulness of the assumptions you habitually make. You can consider alternative ways of viewing situations. It is often valuable to discuss these ideas with peers or those involved in the same experience.

When you are writing in your journal or reflecting on an experience avoid using over generalisations such as "everyone knows", "nobody does that" or "it is always done that way". When you are tempted to use these terms try substituting "I", for example "I don't do that".

These entries will enable you to consider the judgements that you make about others and patterns in the way that you interpret your experiences. These are more likely to be noted when you re-read entries after a period of time has elapsed. By reflecting on several entries you can begin to identify the constructs and criteria implicit in your thinking patterns.

Be aware of the thoughts and feelings, which may be evoked when reading through the journal! Through this process you begin to clarify, modify and develop the values, beliefs, criteria and constructs which you use to interpret your experiences.

Clearly not all of these questions would be relevant in every situation but is useful to get into the habit of asking these kinds of questions of your personal experience.

It can be defined as a staged process

First Stage

Awareness of a difficult issue.

Clear understanding that an issue needs to be addressed, as the knowledge the individual was applying in the situation clearly was not effective.

Acknowledgement of an achievement.

Second Stage

A critical analysis of the situation, involving an analysis of feelings and knowledge.

Examination of how the individual affected the situation, and vice versa.

Third Stage

Development of a new perspective. Outcome of reflection is therefore learning:

Clarification of an issue.

Development of a new attitude or way of thinking

Resolution of a problem.

Change in behaviour.

What qualities are needed to become a Reflective Practitioner/Learner?

Skills Needed

Open mindedness

Motivation

Commitment to change

Recognition of personal biases

Receptive to new ideas

Keen to develop personal insight

Time and energy

Barriers to the development of reflective practice

Lack of time

Low morale

Lack of the theoretical base

Unwillingness to develop self awareness and insight

Lack of skill development

A wish to carry on as always

NB. If you always do what you have done before, you will always have only what you have already got!!

To summarise the criteria for Reflection on Practice

it is part of self appraisal and self awareness

it is an exploration of feelings as a result of experiences

it is describing one's actions and describing the outcomes of actions

its identifying what was worthwhile, what one would do differently and why

it is the analysis of this to explain why things work well or not - it identifies what learning has occurred, and evaluates knowledge level

it identifies what further learning is required, = self growth and personal and professional development

The Potential of Reflective Practice allows critical analysis and synthesis

Examines the components of a situation

Identifies and scrutinise existing knowledge, and how relevant this is to the situation.

Explores the feelings you have or had about the situation.

Challenges any assumptions you may have had.

Allows exploration of alternative knowledge and actions

Advantages to the Practitioner/Learner

Helps you to make judgements

Develops competence through critical reflection on

experience

Generates new knowledge

Gives empowerment

Develops a wider knowledge of social and political change

Examples of models of Reflection

Schon (1983) states:

'In the varied topography of professional practice, there is high hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solutions through application of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowland, messy confusing problems defy technical solution. The irony of the situation is that the problems of the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant to individuals or society at large while in the swamp lie the problems of greatest human concern.

To me, an educated person, first and foremost, understands that one's ways of knowing thinking and doing flow from whom one is. Such a person knows that an authentic person is no mere individual, an island unto oneself, but is a being in relation to others, and hence is, at core, an ethical being.

Moreover, a truly educated person speaks and acts from a deep sense of humility, conscious of the limits set by human finitude and morality, acknowledging the grace by which educator and educated are allowed to dwell in the present that embraces past experiences but is open to possibilities yet to be'.

A Simple Model of Reflection

1

The Significant Experience

The salient events - one's behaviour

ideas / knowledge

feelings good / bad

2

The Reflective Process

1. Describe the events. Avoid making judgements

2. Attend to feelings - good ones or negative ones. Casual circumstances or influencing factors

3. Re-evaluate the experience How it felt, self, others, clients Connect existing knowledge and attitudes with ideas and feelings from experience

4. Consider modification of knowledge, attitudes, behaviour for future use Explore and challenge any assumptions you made

3

Outcome

Evaluation of the reflective process

4

Critical analysis

A new way of doing something, or an alternative way of dealing with the situation clarification of an issue development of a skill resolution of a problem, greater confidence in one's abilities changed set of priorities

5

Results Action Plan/ goals

Results into practice

Learning needs

Changing practice (Koch 1989)

Future Experiences

Links theory to practice

Stop and take stock then progress (Kemmis 1895)

Enhanced level of confidence

To Summarise

Behaviour 1. Describing the events New Perspective

Ideas 2. Addressing ones feelings Changes in behaviour

Feelings 3. Re-evaluating the experience Commitment to action

The experience 4. The reflective process Outcomes

Conclusion

Learning through reflection places control with the individual Helps the individual with the challenges of practice.

"Experience is never limited, and is never complete. It is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider's web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air borne particle in its tissue." Henry James 1843

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