An on-my-way-to-being-an-engineer undergrad student, reflection has never been mentioned (let alone taught and given value) in any of my highly technical engineering courses. So I approach this proposal – that to reflect “is key...to unearth[ing] new and important meaning” (Daudelin, 1996) – with scepticism and perhaps uncalled for bias. Hence, I decided to carry out a “trial” reflection experiment to determine if my scepticism is indeed correct, or rather, if these long-studied academics can in fact be trusted.
The problem reflected upon is as follows: What do I do with the way I feel about Management 300 from this brief introduction?
I was just sitting at my desk one day, and thinking about my courses, having read the wiki for MGMT300 earlier in the day. I had also read over the word “reflection” several times (although had not yet done the readings). Having not yet realised exactly what “reflection” was to be defined as, I decided to think about how I felt about the course from what information had been relayed so far. I felt a myriad of emotions, including: a little dread (from teamwork aspects – there is always the possibility of weak team members that enforce a larger workload on other members, a “biggie” for me as engineering tends to take over one’s life), a little excitement (from the hands-on, simulation nature of the project) and dread again (as an engineer [yes, blame it all on that], writing journals, etc. is not my strong suit). Finally, when I really thought about it, I felt hope – as in, the hope flying out of Pandora’s box as there is the possibility of this being a really fun, rewarding, reasonable-grade course.
I then pondered a few possible situations I could action from these feelings: I could drop the course so that the “dreaded” possibilities could never possibly come into play. I could live out (make a conscious decision to get rid of my scepticism) the hope (and somehow squelch all fear of disappointment) that the course would be amazing. Or – door number 3, which I did end up putting into action, I could tell myself that these emotions are irrelevant, useless. Could be shut away and destroyed (if only to be dredged up in this learning journal). Tested against past experiences, for me, this was the best option – has worked in the past and allows me to achieve my end goals. So, I decided to approach MGMT300 void of the dread and hope of my initial impression – this is not to say I won’t be emotional, just that these first impressions won’t be included in these emotions.
Did I learn? If learning is “the creation of meaning from past or current events that serves as a guide for future behaviour” (Daudelin, 1996), then I think I did? Although the entire process could have occurred in my subconscious – I’m not sure that reflection was required. People will jump to argue that point with me I’m sure. However, I did come to realise that this is a process I go through. It’s something that, while not actively done, I do it when I prioritise and when I decide not to let things get to me, and other such issues.
This entire learning journal has in fact been a reflection about a (trial) reflection – and while no longer completely convinced of the uselessness of reflection, I am still not completely persuaded. I guess I require greater “adequacy” (Nentl & Zietlow, 2008) of research - and I am given ample opportunities for this, given the number of reflections I will need to complete in the future of this course. Success or nay? I’ll keep trying.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36-48.
Nentl, N., & Zietlow, R. (2008). Using bloom’s taxonomy to teach critical thinking skills to business students. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 15(1-2), 159-172. doi:10.1080/10691310802177135