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Why do reflective assignments

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Thomas Hoyland

on 5 August 2015

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Transcript of Why do reflective assignments

Tips for Reflective Writing
Why do reflective assignments
Reflection has been identified by top researchers and business leaders as very important for improving skills
Many large organisations now use reflective elements for staff development & appraisal
The reflective assignment links the theories you learn to the experiences you have
Reflective learning is a core skill & linked to career progression
Aim of reflective writing assingments
Link theory with experiences
helps you identify how you can do things differently (better - hopefully!) in the future (to make you a more successful manager)
An Example From My Past (Experience then theory)
My line manager and I have been experiencing tensions when we are managing projects together. He complains I do not have good attention to detail, I find him cold and difficult to approach.

I believe our different working styles may be the cause of the tensions. Leonard & Strauss (1997) suggest interpersonal conflicts may arise because of differences in cognitive style. Cognitive style is defined as the “consistent individual differences in the preferred ways of organising and processing information and experiences” (Messick, 1984). Cognitive style research suggests that analytical people can focus on detail but may appear cold and unfriendly (Kirton, 2003). Analytical people may find more intuitive individuals unfocussed and impulsive (ibid).
Researchers suggest that behavioral differences can cause conflict but can also be beneficial to team performance (Jehn, 1995; King et al, 2009)...
My manager and I completed the Cognitive Style Index, we found that we have very opposite scores (Tom = 12 (intuitive), Manager = 67 (analytical) ). To overcome our differences research suggests there are a number of measures we can take...
Example 2 (Theory then experience)
Decision Making in Teams
Decision making is a critical action within the workplace (Maciejovsky et al, 2013)
[discuss some of the literature on decision making in teams].
Human decision making is susceptible to various cognitive bias such as anchoring and confirmation (Kahneman & Tversky, 1972)...
During the management game our team quickly made a decision to
[describe action]
. Despite one team members efforts we continued with our plan
[describe the consequences].

I was very upset to lose the game, I think we could have done better.
On reflection we should have...
[discuss with evidence how you might avoid making such mistakes in th future]
This was a BRIEF introduction to reflective writing. Its quite different to a "normal" essay and can be difficult for some.
The problem
Possible reasons for the problem
Possible solutions (this needs more explaining)
Another definition might have been good to mention too! It would show I have read widely.
The example above is very brief but covers the main points of a learning journal; The problem (in yellow), possible causes (Orange & Purple) and suggested solutions (Green). I have also used a questionnaire (CSI) and several journal articles to support my thinking. What could I do to improve this section?
Possible future actions
How did you feel?
Section title
These are just two VERY BRIEF examples. In your essay you will want far more detail.Explain the concepts - What is decision making? What is special about decision making in teams? Why did people ignore the single person? etc...
BUT follow these tips and check the resources below and you will find it is not so difficult :)
The study skills handbook (available on the module ebridge site
“Reflection is an active and purposeful process of exploration and discovery,
often leading to unexpected outcomes. It is the bridge between experience
and learning, involving both cognition and feelings” (Boud et al., 1985),

Concrete Experiment
Engage with the task best you can
Reflective Observation
How did you do? What went well? What could have been done better? What were your emotions? What was the nature of the task/problem? Has this happened before? Is there a pattern?
Abstract Conceptualisation
Explore what the potential reasons for outcomes are.
Active Experimentation
Implement solutions and monitor changes. Was there a change? For better or worse?

From information to knowledge
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