Reflective practice allows us to look at something we have carried out and allows us to see whether or not we handled the situation properly or whether we would handle it differently if we were giving the opportunity to do it again. By doing this reflecting enables you to see how you have improved in certain areas and pinpoint areas which may need some improvement. It’s basically a way of seeing what you have learnt and perhaps shedding light on what could be done in the future.
Moon’s theory runs parallel to this as he says that reflective practice is “a set of abilities and skills, to indicate the taking of a critical stance, an orientation to problem solving or state of mind” (1999:63). Suggesting that reflective practice is directly linked with the thinking you do surrounding something you have learnt. Using reflection on the way in which you learn is a very positive thing to do, it helps you to look back at scenarios that may have proved difficult or that you weren’t certain how to deal with and help you learn from it.
By reflecting in circumstances like this it enables you to take a step back and improve upon the way in which we act. Reflective practice not only helps us improve upon the way we act in everyday situations but also recent work from Chon and Kola suggested that reflecting helps us also improve our “professional practice”. The aim of reflective practice has been understood to be a way of improving our critical thinking abilities. Reflection is practiced by many reflective practitioners however; there is no definite definition of the term.
There is however many personal definitions of the term. Biggs describes it as “A reflection in a mirror is an exact replica Of what is in front of it. Reflection in professional practice, however, gives back not what it is, but what might be, an improvement on the original” (1999:6). In the first part of this diary I am going to address the problems that arose room initially trying to find a placement which was fitting with the course its self. ROR to starting my placement I had countless problems actually trying to find one. Was eager to find a placement which I would really get something out of and which would help me in my studies. I applied for many volunteering positions, including the youth offending teams in South Identities and also various different agencies such as victim support After receiving nothing back from the positions I had applied for I realized it was going to be harder than I initially thought to get a placement.
As most of the places had applied for and been unsuccessful had said all of their positions had been filled it became apparent that would have to try harder as it was not only me who was applying for these jobs, most other people in my class were as well. It was evident that I would have to try harder and it became apparent that I was constantly getting distracted. As I was working part time as well as carrying out my studies and looking for a placement decided had to utilize my time management and come up with a way of juggling all of these.
This is linked in with action research. Action research is a term used to describe the activity within the environment of which someone works. Came across some of Carr and Semis’ work while looking for a placement: “Self -reflective spiral of cycles of planning, acting, observing, reflecting then re planning, further action, further observation and further reflection” this further helped me while trying to utilize my time management.
Carr and Semis helped me to look at the situation as a whole and see what could be changed in order to help the procedure. It helped me realism that if I had of planned ahead of tarring to look I would have been benefited in that would have realized how little time I had to find a placement and therefore would have urged me to try harder in the first place. From releasing this I began to think about other areas I could carry out my placement in and applying for volunteer positions further field. Darted to ask at schools if there were any positions helping out working with challenging children but the majority of the schools were reluctant to let someone with no experience working with children in. I eventually after 2 and a half months of searching found a placement in a school in Cumberland, Barrington Community Sports College. I am aware that will have to start another search for a volunteering position again in the second year of my course, only this time it has to be more specific to multi- agency working making it harder again when searching.
Moon proposes that reflective practice is an automatic duty in everyday life, suggesting that it is an essential part of our learning curve. From looking back and reflecting back at how difficult it was to find a placement in my first year I have already started joking now, 5 months before start my second year for another placement. By doing this I am hoping that it will help reduce the stress come September when I start my second year as I am hoping to already have a placement lined up, again this was developed by Carr and Semis’ cycle theory.
This part of the diary is going to reflect upon the time I spent at my placement at the school. It will attempt to look at how the experience has influenced me, in the way in which learn, and the attitudes I have towards certain things and how they have changed, and also the skills I gained and further developed. My first ay at my placement was December 15th 201 1; went in after the schools lunch break to meet the staff would be working with, and most importantly the children. Before I even got to the school I was unbelievably nervous.
I was very aware of the fact I hadn’t done anything of this nature before and I was only a few years older than the children I was going to be working with. When arriving at the school I was warned that the children I would be working with could be very challenging and although there were only 4 in the class they were very hard work. When first meeting the children I wasn’t sure how would act around them and was nervous about how they would feel about me coming in to work with them.
I soon found out that being shy around them only made them more likely to target me and insult me. At first found it hard to establish the balance between being friendly with the children and also being professional with them at the same time. However a positive was that, in some aspects I found it very easy to relate to the children as I was in the same position as them only 4 years previous. Helping them revise for their Geese’s and helping with coursework I felt confident with as could still member some of the things had learnt from school and my A levels.
The children were however sometimes very challenging and somewhat boisterous towards me which found hard to deal with in a professional way. It was difficult at first to get along with them and come across as trying to be their friend but also letting the children know that there was boundaries which couldn’t be crossed. As there wasn’t a training element prior to starting my placement like there was for most of the other students in my class I was basically learning as I went along, step by step taking it all in.
I also didn’t have NY previous experience of doing any work like this before I had to learn as was going along, rather than planning what I could do or how I could act. Kola (1984) proposed a model of learning which consisted of 4 stages: do it, reflect on it, read up on it and plan the next stage. This was the way I found best to work, because until I had witnessed the way the children were and had an idea of the way they behaved couldn’t actually plan the way I would work and interact with them.
On one occasion one of the boys in the class threatened me when I wasn’t with any of the other staff, having never been in situation like this I had no idea how to react I said to the child “I think you’ve crossed the line and taken it too far” but I was reluctant to tell any of the other staff about it because I didn’t want to get the child into trouble. As soon as the teacher in charge came back in the room one of the other children told him what had gone on and the boy got in a lot Of trouble. I was asked if I wanted to put a complaint in to the head of the school but I was again reluctant to get him into serious trouble.
Being in this situation made me feel very uncomfortable and almost embarrassed, Donaldson (1992) suggested hat Emotional experience can usually lead to a change in orientation and also behavior. Reflecting back I don’t think I could have handled the situation any differently, other than warning him that he had crossed the boundary and letting him know he has done wrong, other than that I didn’t feel like I was in a position to particularly raise my voice at him like a normal teacher usually would.
I did however realism that perhaps I shouldn’t have been so afraid of getting him into trouble as he would have probably deserved a punishment from a senior member of staff for behavior like that. After completing the necessary 40 hours for my placement at the school had formed bonds with the teachers was working with and the students especially, so decided to carry on working there. From doing this I wanted to further broaden my knowledge of just how challenging this children could be, witnessing their behavior first hand found was a lot more beneficial than just reading about it in books and in the news.
I know I learned a lot and benefited from prolonging my stay at the school, it definitely opened my eyes and gave me an insight into how these types Of children can behave. Not only have I learned a lot from the experience but also it has given be a greater interest into the areas of “juveniles” and the youth justice system within the criminal justice system. This has helped me in my studies also as I have been able to relate and link theory to my own personal experiences from my time at the school.
Malay proposes that certain kinds of experiences that have been endured create particularly powerful opportunities for learning, especially through reflection. I completely definitely agree with this, because without the first-hand experience of being at the school I wouldn’t have been blew to develop the knowledge and skills that believe I have. Just carrying out what seemed like simple tasks, such as helping the children revise for exams and helping them create presentations for their school subjects, I think has taught me a lot more than thought it could have.
To conclude, although I know I am a long stretch off reaching my goals from this course, I believe that from completing this placement it has definitely pushed me and urged me to trying harder on this course and gave me a much greater understanding and insight of the criminal justice system itself. I have learnt from looking and reflecting back at trying to initially find a placement I will have to try a lot harder next year while looking for one, but from knowing how much will get out of it I believe it won’t seem like so much of a chore.
The problems have faced throughout my journey at this placement have been fully acknowledged and I aim to work on the skills I have learnt to develop them further for the next time around. I like to see problems such as the ones discussed as more of a learning curve and an experience rather than an actual problem as they re always benefiting me and my learning, although they have been nothing short of undesirable. I have found reflective practice along with my experiences a very good way of establishing my strengths and weaknesses.
By knowing what my weaknesses are it puts me in a position that allows me to work on them. Brookfield (1995) said that “reflection happens when we identify and scrutinize the assumptions that undergrad how we work” meaning that you should discover your assumptions and examine them from looking at your work and what you do. This again will help aid your learning ND perhaps improve what are seen or thought to be weaknesses. Although I do think however, although I find reflective practice very beneficial it can often be hard to pick out what things you personally need to improve upon.
Autumns (2007) said “there’s a lot of reflective practice about. ” It has been noticed that some people are seen to be ‘natural reflectors’ and find it easy and almost automatic to actions and practice, whereas others perceive it as an extra workload on top of what may already be a demanding, busy or stressful job. Agree with this fully because, you can find it almost impossible o come up with ways to improve your weaknesses once you’ve acknowledged them.