1020QBT Academic And Professional Skills

1020QBT Academic And Professional Skills

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1020QBT Academic And Professional Skills

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1020QBT Academic And Professional Skills

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Course Code: 1020QBT
University: Griffith University

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Country: Australia

1. How does reflection shape learning?2. What are the sources and guides of reflection?
The simple format that is usually followed in the writing of academic paper is to have an introduction, body and conclusion. The academic paper should portray a clear argument and the ideas used should be in such a structure that will enable the argument to come out clearly.
The introduction will amount to around 10 percent of the total word count of the write up. The introduction introduces the overall argument or main point or the purpose of the essay. It introduces the topic and what position/stance the writer will be taking; through an introduction, the reader should be able to glean what tasks or points are being tackled. Most of the times the introduction gives an important insight as to whether the writer/student is addressing the required topic/task. 
Some academic write ups would require one to include a thesis statement in the in the introduction and it comes at the very end. A thesis statement includes articulation of the issue in the focus question, a summarisation of the argument in one concise sentence and may include a short logical statement behind the main argument.
The body amounts to around 80 percent of total word count of the write up. The points pertaining to one’s argument are presented in the body, in paragraph form. Each paragraph signals to the reader exactly which point is being made and tis is made possible by the inclusion of a topic sentence and it is usually the first sentence of the paragraph. The paragraphs in the body should form a link to the overall argument, not just the topic of the write up. The opening sentence of a paragraph should not give facts and evidence but instead a statement of understanding that will be backed by examples, facts and evidence that support it.
The conclusion amounts to 10 percent of the total word count. It summarises the points that have been made while at the same time reinforcing the overall argument; a conclusion makes a final convincing summary of the important concepts tackled in the essay. No new information that has not been tackled in the body or introduced in the introduction should be added in the conclusion. It serves the purpose of convincing the reader on what has been said and the validity of it. The introduction should never be restated in the conclusion. 
Biggs (1999 in King 2002) stated that reflection was an indication of deep learning and that where teaching and learning activities like reflection were missing; surface learning was the only result. Moon (1999 p.23 cited in Watton, Collings and Moon, 2001) defines reflection as mental processing with an aim that is applied to ideas that are unstructured that have no obvious solution. Reflection is an important activity where one analyses his/her own skills/responses or experience/s/ with an intention to improve and learn. 
Reflection can include, evaluating projects or experiments and how to improve on them, reflecting on one’s academic practice, scrutinising experiences and how one confronts with them and lastly reflecting on what one has learnt while linking theory with reality or what is usually the norm. 
Reflection facilitates learning and monitors learning and it provides an opportunity to the student to get additional insights through reflecting deeply on his/her experiences and a consideration of other theories and people’s opinions. The outcome of reflection on graduates is that they will have cultivated a habit of reflection as a way in which they continue to learn and grow in their chosen professions. Reflection helps one to identify one’s inadequacies or areas that need improvement; helps one to own up and question assumptions/presumptions that one has based his/her feelings, ideas or actions on. Reflection helps a person in identifying and questioning his/her beliefs and values and it empowers an individual self, through self development, in his/her social group context.  
Learning from experiences that are direct proves more effective when it is combined with reflection. Learning is shaped by reflection through the perceived ability to achieve a certain goal (self efficacy). Reflection on what has been studied and learned means a more productive experience. Through reflection, a person’s confidence grows and this could mean more meaningful learning experiences (Stefano, Giada Pisano & Staats, 2014). 
Reflection when applied in learning helps one to integrate feedback; identify personal limitations, skills, achievements, problems, solutions and strengths; question in a positive manner and whether there is an effective/efficient way of  doing certain things instead of always following one’s routine. 
Learning that includes a semblance of reflection can help one to develop a perspective or a line of reasoning; demonstrate that one is well informed and well read on relevant literature and the relevance to one’s development and also help one to show deep recognition of the fact that situations are hardly clear-cut and simple.  
Reflection usually starts with a description of what has occurred. At this stage, it is crucial to try and identify why a certain incident/situation requires any reflection at all; secondly, what was one was trying to achieve and what were the consequences of certain actions?; thirdly, what were the factors, both external and internal, that influenced one’s actions and decision making and also, if one could have dealt better with a certain situation or if there were other choices that one could have made; and lastly, what an individual learnt from the past experiences and how to apply such lessons to future experiences and how such experiences have changed one’s usual mode of practice (Johns 1994). 
In academic learning, the following can be used by teachers as guides that can be followed by their students during reflection:
Discussions – students can be involved in discussions where they will be required to disclose their intentions, to give their strategies for solving problems or reflect on strategies to determine their adequacies. In the process of such kind of discussions, students master how to listen to and examine the connotations of each other’s strategies and thus build habits that are related to persistence, empathy and flexibility.
Questioning – questions that are well designed and a classroom atmosphere that promotes trust, will encourage the students to give their applications, insights and understandings of their habits and learning.
Logs and journals – regularly asking students to read and reread their journals and to compare what they knew at the start with what they presently know, is another guide of reflection.  Students could choose important things that they have learnt, conceive how to apply them in future situations and finally committing to consciously alter their behaviours (Costa and Kallick, 2008).
Interviews – students can be led to share their reflections on their growth and learning through interviews. Students may interview fellow students or the teacher may interview his/her students. Students can be guided to think of ways in which they can apply what they learn to future events. Interviews enable a student to cultivate and practice habits such as how to listen with empathy and understanding, how to think and at the same time communicate precisely and in a clear manner and lastly how to question and pose problems.     
University of Canterbury: Learning skills centre. Academic essays: form and function www.learningskills.canterbury.ac.nz 
Western Sydney University. February 2007. Essay Structure. Retrieved from westernsydney.edu.au/studysmart  
Monash University. Reflective writing: The reflective learning process. Retrieved from www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/medicine/reflective/3.xml 
Stefano Di G., Gino, F., Pisano, G. & Staats, B. April 2014. Learning by thinking: How reflection improves performance. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from hbswk.hbs.edu/item/learning-by-thinking-how-reflection-improves-performance 
University of Birmingham: Academic skills centre. A short guide to reflective writing: What is reflection and why is it important? 
Watton, P., Collings, J. & Moon, J. April 2001. Reflective writing: Guidance notes for students. 
Costa, L. A., & Kallick, B (editors). December 2008. Learning and leading with habits of mind. Retrieved from www.ascd.org/publications/books/108008/chapters/Learning-Through-Reflection.aspx 
Johns, C. 1994. Nuances of reflection. Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol 3 71-75. Retrieved from https://latrobe.libguides.com/reflectivepractice/models

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