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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.

 

References

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

4 Comments

  1. So firstly I just want to say it was very brave of you to let everyone read and critique your reflection in class! Haha and secondly I think your reflection is such a good example for everyone to learn off (smile) I like how you really went into detail about how you felt and you informed the readers about what degree you are doing and why you would find reflections un-assuring so they can see things from your point of view. I think there's two main things which you can do to make your next reflection even better than this one, the first is to talk about the readings more and let the readings serve as a guideline for your reflections. And secondly, just try not to put in as many brackets because it kind of draws the readers attention away from the more formal material. But overall, great reflection (smile)

    1. Thanks Sharlin! Yeah - a lot of people said those two things too - I'll try take them into account for next time (smile)

  2. Sorry for the late feedback. First of all I didn't know I had to give feedback to you. During class I though this is insane (I thought no one actually done the journal yet). Second back to the reflection, I really liked how you felt about this course and reflect some of the things that you hope to get out of this course. Personal reflection is a good way to start I think and addressing your point as a engineering student was a excellent point in my mine. Like you commented on Sharlin's feedback, i agree with them; try to emphasize further readings and deepen your reflections based around it. Overall I thought this was a excellent reflection

     

  3. From jwar892: This journal appears to be filled with a lot of emotion, which I think is what makes it feel relatable; however, I think it would be beneficial if you wrote just as you did, full of emotion, and then stopped and took a step back and detach yourself from that (or maybe have someone else edit), and go through and clarify pieces.  For example, the second sentence of the 4th paragraph would be better if you went through and separated the emotional pieces from the facts, so that the sentence itself would flow more smoothly.