braindribbles

Monday’s study update: relaunching the reflective journal

Posted on: 16/05/2011

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One of the things I’m supposed to do as part of my training is become more self-aware by learning to reflect back on various experiences.  There are various models you can use to steer you in the right direction, such as Johns or Gibbs, though just writing down your thoughts is immensely beneficial.  After each learning experience it is recommended that you have a reflective journal to (a) help the learning sink in more easily, (b) be in a better position to accept and deal with any issues that have arisen and (c) work out what you would do differently next time.

Sound boring?  Well, it’s a bit of a hassle, but there are times when it’s extremely worthwhile.  I use it less often than I intend to, but when I do it can have a major impact on my attitude to the subject.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to cover this base, yet because I’ve been on time out till two weeks ago, I haven’t really had the opportunity to use it in that way…until now.  Teachers may find this more interesting than the rest of you, but from now till I complete I’m planning on using my Monday blog entries as my regular reflective journal.

I had a tutorial on Saturday, my first since September last year, and gave a presentation in the process, so I’m going to reflect on the presentation for now.

What happened?

I gave a presentation on relationships after becoming a family.  It started with looking at a typical day in the life of a new dad and a new mum, where they had both had a rotten day (teachers among you will know the one!).  It then looked at ways in which relationships can suffer and people sectioned off into groups to discuss possible solutions, as couples might in a class environment.  Finally, we looked at how to get balance in a relationship.

What were you thinking and feeling?

I was surprised how nervous I felt.  But then it has been over a year since I last taught a real class.  I felt very thrown by the odd number in the group, because ideally I wanted the middle exercise to be in couples.  In a real class situation I would (and have in the past) partner myself off with the odd person, but that did make me feel like I couldn’t keep an eye on the others.  Also the person I was partnered off with was the least experienced there and took longer than the others did.  I also found my voice wouldn’t behave itself. My normal voice kept trying to turn itself into a whisper, which loses points.  Also, the situation felt very false.  In a normal class I suspect I’d have been in my element, but here I felt like it wasn’t working so well.   Having said that, I very much enjoyed teaching the last activity.

What was good and bad about the experience?

The good thing was, I enjoyed the first and last activity and will happily repeat them in a class setting.  The middle activity was not so good, and- might be better left to a handout, or read out and discussed in a large group setting rather than going off into couples.  My nerves meant that I was more concerned about saying the right thing than I was listening to the group; hopefully that would not be an issue in a real class.  I would have liked a little more visual stuff, but the subject didn’t lend itself very well to pictures, and it would have been almost impossible to find anything kinaesthetic.  Finally, my handout was ace, and I’ll be using that properly unless my tutor slates it in her marking.

What sense can you make of the situation?

I love this question!  It always makes things sound twice as bad as they really are.  Ultimately, unless I get such a bad mark that I have to re-do it, it’s another piece of work under my belt and a bit of practice for when I’m back teaching properly in a few weeks’ time.  It affirmed my confidence in the first and last activities if not the middle one.

What else could you have done?

I could have found a way to incorporate more visual stuff into it, but I can’t work out how.  I think if I hadn’t had to incorporate small group work into the presentation, I would have kept the middle activity as a large-group discussion, which would work just fine.  I can certainly teach that way happily, even if I couldn’t do that originally.

If it arose again, what would you do?

Well, the only way it is likely to arise again is during teaching.  So I would keep everything the same but change the middle activity to a group discussion rather than couples work.  And I might try and find a way to put more pictures in – I won’t lose points teaching without pictures, but it does help stave off boredom if there’s something pictorial to look at every once in a while..  And hooray! I never need to present again!!  Only proper teaching from now on  🙂

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4 Responses to "Monday’s study update: relaunching the reflective journal"

Hi Sacha,
I really enjoyed this post thanks. Reflective journals were covered with the course I’m doing last week and seeing your example has helped to cement things in my head.
Tx

Hi Tracy,

It’s a funny thing to get your head round, isn’t it? Glad that it was useful 🙂

Hi Sacha,
I found your post very intresting and can reflect my own experiences in the same way its good to read what you have been up to and how you feel about it. Well Done.

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