REFLECTIVE LOG ON MY EDUCATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIENCE
My personal educational biography was my first homework and it was a daunting task as I had no adequate program for completing the homework. I had a problem in completing the assignment as I was working too many shifts, with my little extra time dedicated to my family. The task looked very easy in the beginning, but I was stuck due to lack of adequate words in developing the subject and theme of my biography. Furthermore, I got a rude surprise when the printer which I had not used for a long time, was not working.
I finally, managed to qualify, learn, and acquire skills essential in completing the task. The factors that enabled me to succeed were incorporating a time table in my daily operation, reduction of working shifts, and support from family and friend who encouraged me. However, since I qualified, certain aspects of my life have tremendously changed. For instance, these days everything is done on the compute, which I am not conversant with its operation.
The problems that I have encountered in completing the task can be solved only by being up to date. Therefore, the course will enlighten me of the current trends in professional writing, research, and excellent typing and grammar skills. Furthermore, I will be able to be at par with my colleagues, which would be essential in boosting my self-esteem. In my experience, I felt out of place, ineffective, and dumb and that is why my self-esteem was very low.
In the future, it would be wise to develop a curiosity culture and self-belief that would be crucial in completing challenging tasks. It would also be important to enroll in courses that would keep me up-to-date in latest trends and technological applications. Lastly, a work schedule is to be developed and followed religiously to innate my skills.
REFLECTIVE LOG ON KEY SKILLS
DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIENCE
My second task was about development of a Graduate Skills Workbook. In completing the task, I had the feeling of being back in school. The skills I learned were library skills, communication, problem solving, numeracy, working with others, and IT. I dealt with these aspects on a daily basis, but never reflected on them and their importance. Therefore, the aim of the task was to help me evaluate my graduate skills, and to identify areas that I needed help.
As a professional practitioner and lifelong learner, it was fun testing myself on skills to be developed. The first thing was to knowing my level of skills before embarking on self-improvement. The skills that I lacked were majorly in IT and Library skills, which I realized I had when I was unable to come up with concrete information on assignments. However, they were improved through tutorials, and self-learning.
At the beginning, I was afraid I might not be able to complete my test successful, but working through the book, it was easier and interesting. Graduates having difficulty in completing workbook skills are because of factors such as mental attitude, and self-esteem issues. Therefore, gaining the confidence in applying my vast knowledge from my life and work experience enabled me complete my test successful.
In keeping myself up-to-date, I have to find time for study and reading, so I have to organize my time better and include studying in my day-to-day life. Furthermore, I have to believe in my capabilities in tackling challenging tasks.
REFLECTIVE LOG ON FINDING INFORMATION
DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIENCE
My task had two main parts: formulating a search strategy and identifying sources. I had to develop search strategies from a case study. I learned searching for information through usage of IT, library skills, and fast reading. This journey was very interesting as it enabled me gain valuable research skills for my assignments.
The beginning was slow, but it was a start. Now I can properly use IT in searching for sources in my assignments. Furthermore, my library skills are above average since I can locate sources quickly and also reference them.
As a Health and Social care practitioner, I am required to provide the best care and service for the people seeking my help or support. In doing this, I should be aware of current research and recommendations for my area of professional practice. This module is designated to enable me develop the skills I will need to search for, find, and begin evaluating evidence that supports best practice. I therefore find it very useful and already more confident.
REFLECTIVE LOG ON FORMATIVE PIECE OF WORK
DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIENCE
My 500 words formative piece of work should cover everything I have learned until now, and should be one-step forward toward my main assignment. It is advised that the formative piece of work be used as a blueprint in preparing learners for future assignments. My task was made easier by carrying out few researches in the library, and practical application of what I had learned.
I was able to complete my assignment and submit it through turnitin software. I had a big surprise when the report came back negative. It looked like I had plagiarized from the Internet, and nothing was original in my essay. I therefore had to start all over again and avoid plagiarism through proper citations and referencing at the end of the assignment.
It looked easy at the beginning, but I realized my hard work was just about to start. I understood that I was pressed by time and I had much to do in a short period, so I had to find more time to study. At this point, I organized a personal session with my teacher, which would guide me with a few new ideas and also what I needed to change in writing at the right academic level. In the next few days, I spent more time for my assignment and finally, after all the hard work, my teacher’s opinion was satisfactory.
I have to learn proper citation styles and paraphrasing in avoiding plagiarism in my work. Furthermore, I have to allocate adequate time in completing tasks so that I can have time for proofing and de-bug sentences plagiarized.
An academic module is the first step in a professional development. The whole course is about improving a student’s writing, and about the most appropriate strategy is to incorporate reflections while learning. The module takes one into a journey with different small steps, which assembled at the end, gives a better approach to searching information and writing proper essays. There are few different choices of reflective cycles of frameworks; one of the most used is John’s Model for Structured Reflection (2000). This model can be used as a general reflection on a learner’s experience, and supports the need for the learner to work with a supervisor throughout the experience.
This model helped me during the entire course. In the beginning, it was difficult to put together 250 words for my first essay. Nevertheless, at the end, with appropriate guidance, I completed the 3000 words assignment. The start was a bit difficult and could not organize myself. Furthermore, having completed school more than 10 years ago and English not being my first language, coming up with grammatically accurate sentences was a challenge. However, the course helped me to understand to start with a clear introduction, followed by a main text and all these reflected in a strong conclusion.
Using a clear description of a situation, evaluation of the experience, analysis of feelings, and future actions I understood how an essay is structured (Gibbs, 1988). My first piece of work was my step forward in managing to understand successfully what it was all about. Three other similar pieces of work followed my first piece, which helped me to speed up a bit and get more familiar with this work. In all this time, the classes I attended provided me with clear answers concerning IT usage and research skills, which are crucial in any academic learning (Johns, 2000). Having guidance through the entire process was very important and essential, since I was able to learn how to search a database, and how to find relevant information and written material useful for major writing assignments (Cottrell, 2008). I also discovered many other ways of finding useful information, with the most effective ones being the use of IT applications and library skills. The learning process is fascinating and interesting once a positive mentality is applied.
At one point, I had started my main assignment but my first attempt was not very positive. More than that, my first turnitin report was a failure as I had plagiarized a lot of information from my sources. Plagiarism according to Bolton (2010) is the quoting of information without giving credit to the owner of the information. I did this a lot and so I had to re-do my work paraphrasing and quoting information in the assignment. This was an indicator that I realized I had much work ahead of me in completing the module successful. In the beginning, it looked easy and more like a game, but I decided I had to change this approach and dedicate myself more to my school. Time was pressing me as well, and thinking of the expectations from those close to me, I just motivated myself. Family life and work are important as well as the boost self-esteem and confidence, but I realized I had to allocate more time for study (Cottrell, 2008).
Unfortunately, for my studies, a long holiday took my family and me away for a month. I have to admit that I had missed a couple of classes, and when I returned I had to start again. Using a structured study time table helped me to recover quickly the time lost (Johns, 2000). The library has a vast collection of books, and I decided to spend some time in there doing researches for my work. I have read a few books like: Cottrell (2005), “Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument”; Bolton (2010), “Reflective Practice: writing and professional development”; and Howatson-Jones (2010), “Reflective Practice in Nursing.” These books have changed my approach not only toward school but also toward my profession and life as well. They have changed my approach through: developing a reading culture, skills in reflection and critical thinking, and being objective in thinking.
Using CINAHL, as a search engine for finding the relevant information and literature, the tool made my work easier in doing the assignment. I have learned as well how to reference appropriately using Harvard referencing. All the information accumulated during the course proved to be very useful. The tutor was there to guide me systematically. At my last meeting with her, she showed me the expectations in an assignment including what I had to change in achieving them. She gave me hope as well as reassuring me that I was on the right path. I believed I was getting closer and this motivated me even more. I started my hard work again and kept in touch with her via e-mail. I finally posted my final assignment in getting her opinion. When I received her positive message, I felt very happy and relieved at the same time.
All this learning experience was very useful and now I am not scared any more of IT applications used while learning. I am now more confident in finding information I need in the future, and more quickly. I know how to use applications such as Word Pad, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel which are easier to use than the typing machine I was used to. Furthermore, I am more skilled in typing now, achieving approximately 50 words per minute. This journey started as a game with simple tasks and it finished with tasks more complex. This journey gave me a better view and understanding of academic learning, so now I can write an academic essay and use appropriate references.
All these skills are beneficial to me in the future. They will reflect in my own practice in sustaining progress in my profession and in my day-to-day life. Reflective practice is associated with learning from experience. I view it as an important strategy in my life, and as a health professional who embraces lifelong learning. Engaging in reflective practice is associated with the improvement in the quality of care, stimulating personal and professional growth, and closing the gap between theory and practice. It has opened my view toward a better future.
Bolton, G., 2010. Reflective Practice: writing and professional development. Los Angeles: Sage.
Cottrell, S., 2008. The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Gibbs, G., 1988. Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. Oxford Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.
Howatson-Jones, L., 2010. Reflective Practice in Nursing. Exeter: Learning Matters.
Johns, C., 2000. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner: a Reflective and Holistic Approach to Clinical Nursing, Practice Development, and Clinical Supervision. Oxford: Blackwell Science.
Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2002. Code of Professional Conduct [Online]. Available from
http://www.nursingstandard.co.uk/professional/codeprof-cond.doc. [Accessed 06 June 2011]