I will briefly describe and evaluate some different reflective models and in relation to these explain the type of reflective model I use and how this alps me to understand how I can improve my learning experience and my study skills in order to study more proactively. I approach my studies with motivation and enthusiasm and to facilitate this I have set aside a study area that is well equipped with the resources I need to research and work on assignments. The study skills needed for Higher Education are ultimately gained only through studying at that level’ (Cottrell 2008, peg) and so I would suggest that for a student to be able to study the IT_L’S course, the following study skills will need to be acquired; good listening, oral communication and team working skills. These are vital to being able to take part in group work. Note taking is important as you need to be able to take notes in class so that you can remind yourself of any key points raised in the session.
Good reading skills are essential as students will be required to do a lot of this to research and gain understanding of subjects. English language and essay writing skills are crucial because written assignments make up a large volume of the course work. The Harvard system of referencing is a mandatory requirement for all essays. CIT skills are necessary to word process written assignments and create presentations.
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Students will also need good research skills to find, identify and investigate relevant sources of information and evaluation skills to enable them to give a valid argument for or against opinions raised by theorists, tutors and or other students. Courses at this level also require students to develop and use critical questioning, thinking and reading skills because they will be requested to analyses information and draw conclusions.
To be able to manage the workload of a DOLLS course students need to take responsibility for their own learning and have good time management kills so that they are organized, can priorities tasks and work to meet deadlines. ‘A reflective, active, self-evaluating approach to learning develops deeper understanding in the long term’ (Cottrell 2008, peg) however, when it comes to the subject of reflective models there are many different models to choose from; Gibbs (1988), Fish, Twin & Purr (1991), Bout and Walker (1985), Brookfield critical lenses (1995) and Atkins and Murphy’s model (1994) to name just a few.
After reviewing these models my conclusion is that they all have the same outcome in mind – review the situation and make improvements. Different models have different amounts of steps and these are given different headings to encourage reflection. Models such as Atkins and Murphy’s and Bout and Walker use a three step process whilst Fish, Twin & Purr and Brookfield take four. I am attracted to Gibbs model (1988) because it takes six steps to get to the end conclusion therefore giving me plenty of opportunities to reflect on situations in various ways.
I also like the fact that Brookfield suggests the inclusion of peer reviews and benchmarking our experiences against theoretical perspectives, these two points in my opinion add more value to the reflection as opposed to mom of the other models and so for that reason have discounted the others. My adapted version of Gibbs and Brookfield (see appendix 1) has seven steps and takes steps from both of these models. Northerner (2005) discusses Kola’s reflective learning cycle, adapted for study skills and explains that ‘By reflecting on your experiences, you develop insights into the ways you learn.
Then gradually, as your insight grows, you become able to take control of your studies’ (page) to link my practice to this statement in relation to continuously improving my study skills believe it will assist me in valuating my performance in different areas and identify positive changes, this in turn will lead to improved study techniques being put into practice when the cycle starts over again. At the start of this DOLLS course I completed a Skills Self- Assessment Audit (see appendix 2).
This assessment gave an indication of my level of competence in the following areas; reading, writing, oral communication, teamwork, problem-solving, personal effectiveness, innumeracy and information technology. I rated my abilities in the above areas as good and felt confident in being able to achieve good results in those areas. In addition to the skills audit I took an online Literacy and Innumeracy test and achieved a level 2 result (see appendix 3).
Other strengths include excellent CIT skills, being organized and able to priorities tasks, independent thinking, note taking, essay writing, good use of the English language and research skills As the course has progressed and assignments have been completed I have become aware of my strength areas though participation in tasks, reflection and feedback from my tutor. I have used my word processing skills to complete all written work and presented it in the correct format. I have been tasked with two oral communication projects, both of which required me to use research skills to identify suitable and relevant information.
I have presented this information to my tutor and peers in a professional and informative way via powering presentations highlighting my personal effectiveness and CIT skills. For all of the above have used referencing where required. Have also participated in various group activities that have required me to utilities my team working skills such as communication and cooperation and I feel that these skills along with the academic skills I have monstrance so far on the course form a good foundation to continue with my studies and enable me to make good progress on the course.
Study skills like all else have to be learned. No- one is born with the knowledge to write essays at a higher education level, to read academically, to make good and worthwhile notes, to think critically and to manage time effectively. All of these things require experience and a good student will actively acquire these skills. (The University of Greenwich, 2007, peg) Although I can priorities tasks do need to improve my mime management skills as I often become distracted from my studies.
To assist me with this I have completed a Time Management Self Evaluation Planner (see appendix 4) and hope that by identifying my distractions I can attempt to eliminate them and use my time more efficiently. A DOLLS course is 120 credits studied over two years. A general rule of thumb is that each credit is nationally ten hours of learning activity so that equates to 1200 hours of work. Split over two years and broken down into two thirty week terms that would be approximately 20 hours study time per week’.
Northerner (2005) As a visual learner I find reading a page of text boring and I prefer to watch a video clip on a subject. To develop this skill I use the internet to find images and videos on a topic and after looking at and watching these I become more interested in the subject and find the reading easier to follow. Critical questioning, thinking and reflection are important areas for me to develop as critical thinking aids the reflection process and ‘Reflection on a particular experience can result in a changed outlook and action and even a reassessment of learning’. (Staffordshire
University, 2011, peg) Lastly I need to improve my listening skills because as an active learner this is not one of my strength areas. I also need to educate myself in evaluation techniques – this essay has required that I evaluate models of reflection and I am not entirely sure I have done this correctly. To improve on all of the above development areas I have identified these on my LIP (see appendix 5). I will endeavourer to make use of the resources available to me via the internet (see appendix 6) and also utilities other support available to me so that make progression in these areas.
In summary I have listed the types of study skills I believe a student needs to be able to embark on and attain a Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. I have highlighted what I feel are my own study skills strengths and given examples of how and where these are used throughout the programmer as well as listing the study skills I need to develop. I have briefly described and evaluated various reflective models and described the one I have chosen to use as a framework for reflecting against so I can improve my study skills and become a more astute, happier and adept learner.