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Importance of the Student Council and Student Voices

It is being widely recognized that young people have the tight to be heard and also to speak out about their school experiences. International policy makers are urging the contribution of young people to today’s and tomorrow’s world. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child included the right of children to be heard as one of their four basic principles. How to listen and learn, as well as to teach and lead, is the challenge for teachers, schools and their communities (TEACHING AND LEARNINIG, JUNE 2003).
A study by Helen Demetriou showed that consulting the young people could be a way to responding to the needs of teachers and also the pupils. It shows that pupils’ voice have the potential to harness the thoughts and feelings of pupils which will ultimately lead to effective teaching and learning. The study carried out interviews on 11 secondary school science teachers to ascertain the quality of their teaching and the extent to which they felt they were successful in communicating with the students. Thus the research highlighted the merits of consulting children in both primary and secondary schools about their teaching and learning (Helen Demetriou, university of Cambridge).
What must the students be consulted about?
Firstly the students must be consulted about the School-wide issues Like revising school mission statements, system of rewards and sanctions, revising school rules, what qualities are needed in a new teacher, and how to get the school council to work well the contribution of pupils as researchers. Secondly they must be consulted about the Year group issues like the induction plan for next year, parent’s evenings, qualities in a year tutor, suggestions for timetables and organizing homework. Thirdly students must be consulted on issues in their class like their preferences in learning styles, way f understanding, peer support, improving group works and way of catching up so that you don’t miss work.
Consultations at all these three levels have a similar purpose but are shaped differently i.e. in the context in which they occur. In the classroom teachers must always consult pupils and check whether they’ve understood the module or need help in their learning. At school level the consultation is based on a different set of condition, skills and sensitivities (TEACHING AND LEARNING, JUNE 2003).
ADVANTAGES FOR THE PUPIL It develops in them a stronger sense of membership. They feel more positive about school and the organizational dimension. They will also build a stronger sense of respect and self worth, making them feel positive about themselves. It also creates a sense of self-as-learner and enables them to better manage their own learning. It gives the a sense of agency making them feel like a part of the school matters which will contribute in the improvement of teaching and learning.
ADVANTAGES FOR THE SCHOOL It helps build a practical agenda for a change which the pupils can identify with. The changes can lead to enhanced engagement with school and school learning. It helps in building a deeper relationship between the pupils and the teachers. It also creates a sound basis for developing democratic principles and practices. It will also enhance the capacity of the school as a learning organization.
SCHOOL COUNCIL A school council is thus built on this foundation of student consultation, making their voice heard, and thereby integrating them as a part of the organizational system. A school council is a group of students who are elected to represent the views of all pupils and also to improve the school. The term means collectively stands for all kinds of school-based groups run by students, which includes student forums and youth parliaments (Newsround, school councils, retrieved on 28th April).The functions of the school council are to organizes meetings; usually with a teacher present, on topics such as school lunches, behavior or ideas for fundraising events. The members of the school council are also responsible for carrying out the final ideas that have been agreed at the end of each session e.g. planning discos, writing newspaper articles, or meeting with catering staff. The important features that will enhance the working of a school council are firstly it should not be too big. Secondly they must conduct regular meetings and representatives with strong communication skills must be chosen. Training should also be provided for the members. The council can be again spilt into smaller sub-committees that will work on specific events. The council must also carry out annual evaluations and also decide their curriculum time so that they don’t miss out on their lessons. The concept of School Councils has been around for around for almost 40 years, but now with citizenship being taught, there are many more around. The government acknowledges that school councils are important; but still they will not force schools to have one. In some countries there however there are laws which state all secondary schools must have councils. Eg:- Ireland, Germany, Spain, Sweden (Newsround, school councils, retrieved on 28th April).
Every school council is a legal entity in its own right i.e. they are a group of people who are given the power to set the key directions for the school. This means that a school council can directly influence the quality of education that the school provides to its students. They endorse the key school planning, evaluation and reporting documents which also includes the School Strategic Plan, the school budget and the Annual Report to the School Community. School councils make sure the school’s running effectively in terms of how it spends its money. The council is accountable to the Minister for Education in respect to how it fulfills its functions. (Introduction to school council, retrieved on 28th April).
Objectives of a school council
A school council’s objectives must include assisting the schools in their efficient governance, ensuring that decisions affecting students of the school are made keeping in mind first and foremost the students interests. It must also include, enhancing the educational opportunities of the students at the school and ensuring that the school and council comply with all the legal requirements.
Functions of a school council (Introduction to school council, retrieved on 28th april)
The 3 critical functions of a school council are to firstly participate in the development of the School Strategic Plan. Secondly it is to approve the annual budget and the monitor the expenditures. Thirdly they must be involved in developing, reviewing, updating and monitoring of the school policies
Drawbacks of a school council
The drawbacks of a school council includes that firstly it does not manage day-to-day functioning of the school. It also does not discuss the individual issues that relate to teachers or staff or parents. Thirdly school councilors are not appointed to represent specific interest groups. Also school councils do not renew the principal’s contract or recruit or dismiss the principal. The school Council is also not allowed to grant license in terms of land; purchase a motor vehicle or plane etc.
Co-operative forces in school councils
In order for school councils to operate effectively, it’s important that the school council is able to work in a team. An important relationship is that between the principal and the school council president. They need to co-operate and work together, and when necessary, be prepared to acknowledge any personal differences so as to be able to work in partnership for the good of the school. Even the school council president and the conveners of the subcommittees must maintain respectful and cooperative relationships. Subcommittees are advisory bodies to school council and do not make decisions by themselves. Therefore it’s important for subcommittee to remember this. School council members need to work as a team, which means respecting the different skills, knowledge and experience that each member brings to council, sharing the workload and responsibility. School council also needs to be able to work cooperatively with the parents and staff at the school. This does not mean that counselors have to like everyone, rather they need to be able to listen and ask the school community, about their views on various topics; example: – uniform policy or dress code. The school council needs to discuss and document a process for consulting with its community.
Role of school council members
For the school councils to operate effectively, it’s very important that its members respect each other’s opinions, even with the ones with whom they disagree with. It’s very important that after a council reaches a decision, the school counselors must support that decision in the school community. Parent members who are on the school council can share their experiences as parents at the school, thereby bringing a wider school community to school council meetings. If any community members are on a school council, they can introduce a particular skill to school council like accounting , building skills or some other skill that the school is looking for at that time. To be on the school council one must be keen, not necessarily an expert. It’s helpful if one likes to interact with people, because of the need to be able to work as a team. One also needs to be prepared to commit time and effort to ensure the work of council gets done. School councils work best only when they have people from different backgrounds with different experiences. Being on the school council is thus a great way to get involved and have a say in what the school does for its students. It is also a very good way to help the present and future students. One important role of the school council is to help set the future direction for the school. The school council must meet at least 8 times every school year, and at least once per school term. It’s a good practice to have 2 meetings per term. The meetings should be restricted to approximately 2.5 hours duration at most. Most schools require that all school counselors are expected to sit on at least one subcommittee. Subcommittees also meet at least twice each term (Introduction to school council, retrieved on 28th April).
School council elections
The principal arranges and conducts these elections according to the procedures that are outlined in the school’s council. The Elections are held each year. If one decides to stand for election, they must arrange for someone to nominate them as a candidate or they can nominate themselves. The nomination form must be returned within the time stated on the notice of election and call for nominations. Ballots are held only if more people are nominated as candidates than there are positions to fill. Every student must vote and even encourage the parents to do the same. The details of the election process are available from the school. To find out more about what a school council involves, one can talk to the principal or the school council president or the past and present school counselors.
Officer Roles in school council
The School Councils have officer roles such as the Chairperson whose duty is to has to draw up an agenda at least two days before a meeting. He/she has to take views of the other Council members. Second officer duty is that of a Vice-Chairperson who takes the Chairperson’s place if he/she is not available. A vice chairperson has to assist the chairperson. The third officer position is that of a secretary who has to take down the minutes of the meeting, write any letters/communicate with others. If a member seeks election as Chairperson, and proves unsuccessful, they automatically go forward for election as Vice-Chairperson.
Need for a School Council To help children develop responsible attitudes, improve their behavior; give children hands-on experience of issues in the National Curriculum. It also creates a feeling of belonging, encourages listening to others and develops self-confidence. And above all to improve pupil/teacher relationships (SCHOOL COUNCIL, retrieved on 28th April).
NSPC SURVEY (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April)
“In 1989 NSPCC ran its first “Listen to Children” week with an aim to encourage parents and professionals to listen to children. The underlying message was that a child who is heard is more likely to turn to a parent or other adult if she/he needs help. And the schools have a particular role in encouraging and empowering young people. In a previous research conducted by NSPCC, pupils across the Midlands and Wales were consulted about their school life. The major recommendation from this research was that schools must find effective ways of consulting pupils. School councils have been an essential feature of the British education for many years but very little was known about how effective teachers and students believed they were” (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April 2011).
The previous NSPCC activities and research have reinforced the importance of listening to children as part of their protection. Schools in particular have an important part to play in supporting this process of empowerment. NSPCC believes that school councils must encourage children and young people to be more resilient and better protected. NSPCC did this research as a first step in the process of attempting to learn more about school councils and how they were perceived by those who participate in them, as well as collecting the views of the staff and students who don’t have school councils (School Councils: the Views of Students and Teachers).
NSPCC conducted a survey of school councils in partnership with School Council UK and the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE). A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of teachers approx in 200 state primary schools and students and teachers in 600 state secondary schools in England and Wales. The findings were as follows (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April)
The staff from 294 secondary schools and 89 primary schools responded; 226 of 240 secondary schools with councils also submitted a student response. Student replies were from 30 of the 54 secondary schools without councils. Three quarters of the council meetings were attended by a senior member of the schools’ management team. In 92% of the school councils in secondary schools and in 12 of the 16 councils in primary schools the student members were elected. The frequency of meetings varies enormously. In 4% of schools, meetings were held every week; in 9% they occurred once a month; and in the other 9%, three times a term; in 45% twice a term and in the remaining 27% once a term. 44% of schools meetings were held in that curriculum time; 35% were during the lunch break; 25% after school, and 2% before school and 2% in assembly time. In 91% cases students contributed to the agenda and in 66% the staff did. But there was, however, considerable variation in the consultation processes around these agendas. About 54% of council specific topics could not be discussed. (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April 2011).
They were matters relating to members of staff (44% of councils) or individual pupils (19%). Areas other than that included uniform, the length of the school day, curriculum content and disciplinary matters. Most frequently mentioned agenda items were the matters related to canteen, uniforms and toilets. Twenty percent of the responding councils had discussed staff appointments, and majority of them had been involved in some way in the interviewing process. Comments from both staff and students indicated that most of them thought that councils played an important role in communicating. Student respondents in schools with councils rated the performance of their councils in relation to certain criteria. And the ratings showed that they were more optimistic about their potential for improving relationships between students (73%) than for securing an improvement in the relationships between staff and students (50%). The main advantage identified by the staff and students was that the councils gave the students a voice, providing the link between staff and students, and also allowing the students to have a role in the management of school (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April 2011).
The areas in which the staff wanted to see councils develop was in developing of a proactive student council, improved communication between councils and all other sections of the school community, particularly governing bodies, and student involvement in the development of school policies. Students placed more emphasis on raising the profile of councils in their schools, on contributing in areas where a student perspective was seen to be extremely important, such as the development of anti-bullying or discipline policies, and on obtaining appropriate training for student representatives so they could be more effective partners. The staff identified two main issues standing in the way of the development of some council, which were time constraints and staff resistance. The obstacle identified by students was to establish a higher level of trust between students and staff in many schools before real progress could be made. A third of the schools which responded did not have school councils although the majority of them were willing to see one established. Staff and students alike viewed them as a way of giving the students a greater stake in their schools. Only few of the respondents opposed the introduction of a council in their schools. In the primary sector this was mainly because teachers thought their pupils were too young to participate effectively or because they felt staffs in these schools are already operating under extreme pressure which should not be augmented. Only a quarter of the staff respondents in schools without a council identified disadvantages in having one and that was related to the time that a staff would have to the council, if it were to develop into an effective force within the school (School Councils, retrieved on 28th April 2011).
HISTORY OF SCHOOL COUNCIL Prior to the 1960s, political education was in the form of ‘hard’ academic learning about constitutions and institutions especially for the high status students; or they were reminders of observing the rules by the low status students. Then with the introduction of the Program for Political Literacy (Lister 1987), procedure values and skills were being encouraged. (Ian Davis school council, retrieved on 28th April)
During the 1980s a new era of education became prominent. Education based around global peace, gender, anti-racist etc were being emphasized upon. The focus was now on political literacy and specific political issues.
In early 1990s citizenship education had was developed emphasized on voluntary activity by individual young people in the context of a declining welfare state. However the current version of citizenship education (from Crick’s notion) is about social and moral responsibility; and also the community involvement and political literacy.
A number of key thinkers have outlined the importance of school councils (Palmer; Davies, Gregory and McGuinn 2002). A few of them are mentioned as follows-
Dewey postulated that thinking is the instrument for solving problems and that knowledge is the process of accumulation of wisdom gained in the problem solving process. (Westbrook 1993, p. 279).
Rousseau outlines a number of key ideas like childhood is not just a preparation for adulthood but rather a stage of life in itself; individualization of education and also that children learn by discovering (Ian Davis, school council, retrieved on 28th April).
Vygotsky argues that culture plays an important role and one cannot talk about learning as such, but has to judge the nature of learning in relation to the culture that produces it. Individuals can also develop their own learning by interacting with the environment and not waiting for learning to be imposed on them. (Ian Davis, school council, retrieved on 28th April).
Rowe’s arguments for and against school councils FOR
The students have the right to be heard and live in justice. They also learn how to serve each other.
The council promotes citizenship learning and social confidence that will enable decision making in challenging situations.
It’s a democratic process which is effective and efficient in developing a consensus.
AGAINST
The Schools must not deceive the children into thinking that they have more power; its important that teachers exercise their professional responsibilities.
It emphasizes service rather than rights.
The councils create a low status and cynicism.
ROWE’S CONCLUSION
He concluded that it’s rather easy to underestimate the obstacles that come in between a good communication between teachers and students. The size of the council does matter. Momentum also is necessary because counselors will lose interest if nothing is happening. Also the staff needs to be responsible and make the students feel worthwhile. The head and administrative staff must make the counselors’ feel valued. The Staff must also be aware of vulnerable times of the year.
SCHOOL COUNCILS IN OTHER COUNTRIES Danish Education Act 1996 requires that the secondary schools must create and maintain pupil councils when the majority of the students want to have one.
The Irish Education Act (1998)
The school board has to establish and maintain procedures for the purpose of informing students about the activities of the school. A procedure that’s been established under section 1 will enable the involvement of the students in the operations of the school having regards for the age and experience of the students in association with their parents and teachers. A board of a post primary school should encourage the establishment of a student council and facilitate by giving assistance to
The students who want to establish the council
Councils when they have been established
Australian secondary schools have a student representative council and in USA the National Association of Student Councils is active.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARTICIPATION IN A COUNCIL Levels of participation (Hart 1992).
“Manipulation- The children are engaged for the benefit of their own interests, formulated by adults, but the children themselves do not understand the implications.
Decoration- The children are called in to embellish adult actions. Adults do not pretend that all this is in the interest of the children themselves.
Tokenism- Children are given a voice, to serve the child friendly image adults want to create, rather than the interest of the children themselves.
Assigned but informed- Adults take the initiative to call in children but inform them on how and why. Only after the children understand the intentions of the project and the point of their involvement, the children decide whether or not to take part.
Consulted and informed- Children are intensively consulted on a project designed by adults.
Adult initiated shared decisions with children. In the case of projects concerned with community development, initiators such as community workers and local residents frequently involve various interest groups and age groups.
Child initiated and directed- Children conceive, organize and direct a project themselves without adult interference.
Child initiated shared decisions with adults”
It’s up to the school to choose what they prefer (IAN DAVIS, SCHOOL COUNCIL, retrieved on 28th April).
Methodology In order to investigate the functioning of the school council, a multi-method approach of gathering data (triangulation) is used to ensure maximum reliability and accuracy. The purpose of this is to ensure validity of data and ensure that the results of the research are a true a true representation of the school.
INTERVIEWS
All members of the school council are interviewed (one class at a time-two members per class-one male and one female providing all participants agree to participation). An interview of the person setting up the council was taken to find out what the aims for the council were. Also an interview of 3 staff members who are present at school council meetings was taken
Pupils are approached during break time or lunch time, and are asked to answer if they agree or disagree with a series of statements. And depending on their answers, the questionnaire for further investigation is developed. The advantage of this method is that it yields good results and the researcher can be assured that he/she knows exactly what the pupils mean. Additionally the researcher can also notice the students’ reactions to the questions. The disadvantage however is that not so many results can be gathered by using only the interview method. For the interview to be successful, the children must have the freedom to describe their views; they must feel comfortable so that they answer accurately. (misconceptions in science education, retrieved on 28th April).
OBSERVATION
Observational techniques are a very important aspect of several research and case studies. In a way we all are already well versed in the art of observation. We all observe human behavior and tend to draw conclusions based on that. In research however it’s important to go beyond the subjective approach and eliminate bias. Also it’s important to be systematic and open about the procedures of the study, so that others can check the bases on which the conclusions have been reached. (ANDREW HANNAM,2006)
Non-structured observations are used in this study because the aim is to measure staff influence in meetings and council agenda and this can be best measured only without the constraints of structured and semi-structured observation methods.
PUPIL QUESTIONNAIRES
A questionnaire provides a pool of questions that can be used to explore the barriers and supports for the pupils in school. It uses open and closed questions. It can use symbolic faces to rate their experiences or more conventional response options. It also helps explore a pupil’s feelings of the different events and happenings in the school. Therefore this method of data collection will help to find out a student’s problems. Even though the students complete the questionnaire by themselves, they still must be briefed initially about why they are being asked these questions; and who will have access to the information and how will it benefit in bringing about a desirable change. The questionnaire can be designed in an online format as pupils are more engaged with an online format and it also adds a feeling of anonymity. Whereas a black and white photocopy is completed as compliance without any personal thought or reflection. An important advantage of questionnaires is that the pupils’ responses are not influenced by an adult ( pupil questionnaire, retrieved on 28th April).
This questionnaire that has been made for this study is anonymous with the option for pupils to write their name, especially if they wish to have a follow up conversation with an adult.
QUESTIONAIRE
1. How many times did your school council meet during the current school year?
2. Does your school council meet the minimum membership requirements outlined by in the provincial regulation?
Yes No
3. What efforts has your school council made to ensure that it has met the school council membership requirements?
4. What kinds of consultation and activities was your school council involved in during the current school year? (tick against the options you feel right)
Consultation Activities
Local school year calendar Fundraising
School code of student conduct Workshops and/or seminars for parents
Preparation of the school profile Extra­curricular activities
in the schools
Input to the principal profile School community
communication strategies
School budget priorities Reporting to parents/guardians and the community
Curriculum and program goals and priorities Local coordination of services for children andyouth
Responses of the school/Board to achievement School­based services and community partnerships,
In provincial/Board assessment program such as social, health, recreational programs lunch/nutrition
Development, implementation, and review of Community use of school facilities
Board policies at the local level
Others, please list below Others, please list below:
5. How does your school council seek input from parents and the school community?
i- School council meetings ii- Sub­committees iii- Casual Discussion iv- Parent e­mail list v- Surveys
6- What were the top three priorities/goals for your school council for the current school year?
a)Addressing School Transfer Procedures and winter line­up problem.
b) Investigate School Transfer Policy options.
c) Establishing better communications (via more frequent “Lisgar Links” e­newsletters and a new web site).
7. Were you successful in achieving these priorities/goals? Yes No
8. Why/why not?
9. How could we best communicate with school councils?
10. What are your school council’s top three priorities for the coming year?
11. What are top three biggest challenges facing your school council for the coming year ?
12. Any additional comments or suggestions to improve our efforts to support school councils?
13. What should the focus of School Council be for the upcoming (year) school year?
14. We would like to increase involvement in the school and need new members of School Council.
(OTTAWA CARELTON SURVEY)

Applied Management Project – Reflective Analysis

Reflective analysis report is an interesting part of Applied Management Project. As an individual I had learnt lot from this project in terms of knowing my weaknesses and future lessons which are applicable in my professional life. This report demonstrates the basic concept of learning. As per my understanding the reflection report also makes us learn about other’s feelings and vice versa.
Reflection is also known as everyday process. There are various kinds of reflection which we face on day to day basis, for instance: How was the day? Good and Bad experiences? How do I feel about it? There is no such formula to solve these question marks but it just happens in the normal life. Reflection is the best way to tackle the problems or to deal with the issues. Reflection is two way process, for instance sharing an ideas with others and same contributing in the same.
According to JTCOBB (2009), the process of transforming information and experiences into knowledge is known as Learning. We can relate this definition with our dissertation experience where we are grabbing the knowledge which will be profitable in our future.
The report consists of four different parts, for instance the first part illustrates the recollection of the experiences. Every human being learns something on day to day basis. Same concept is implemented while make the Applied Management Project and Reflective Analysis Report. The experiences have been demonstrated in report are related to group members, personal learning and the involvement of university staff in accomplishing the project.
The different models have been used to explain the concept of learning, for an instance I had used the four stage model, which is related to different phases of dissertation. According to Gibbs (1988), reflection is the approach of describing the situation, feelings and evaluating the experience. There are six different stages in Gibbs reflective cycle and I had related same on the process of dissertation.
I had also mentioned the five key lessons, which I got during the time of dissertation. These lessons will help me in the future practice. Finally the report is ended with conclusion and references. As per my personal perspective reflection analysis is the best approach to know our weaknesses and strengths.
Recollection of experiences As we all finished with our first semester, ever body was waiting for the day to start there dissertation. The dissertation classes were scheduled on 15-june-09 till 19-june-09. These five days were compulsory for all the students. Many students had planned to do dissertation in their home countries. I was waiting for this day as international office informed us that we can work full time after the submission.
The dissertation classes were held in University of Bedfordshire, Luton campus. The faculty divided the students into groups according to the streams. It was a good time because everybody knows that we are not going to sit together again. On the very first day the seminar class was full packed.
First day
The classes were started on 15-june-09 which was same for all the streams. It was a long day but the curiosity was about the dissertation topic so everybody waited till end of the session. Vincent Ong and Peter Patrick were the module leaders. They introduce all about the dissertation and had distributed handbooks to all of us. We all were doing general discussion with module tutors. At the end of session Rob Carman had discussed about the Reflection. He explained us very well.
At last Vincent Ong told us to make the groups of six students. I was thinking to join some international group where I will get more exposure than joining the students from the same country. But there was no such group left, therefore I joined the previous group of semester one. The module tutors had told to appoint the group leader for the selection of topic.
Our topic was “Export Led Growth and to evaluate export promotion programmes of a country of our choice”. It is really an interesting topic as Exports and Imports are helping the countries to improve the relations and also to improve the economies. Exports are the biggest support for Asian and other developing countries. We all had discussed the tentative structure of report in the class.
It was my first time experience of doing Applied Management Project so I was nervous about it. But my group mates were supportive and cooperative. We finished the day with some discussions for the project.
Second day
Today we were having presentation on library resources. Most of the students were not aware of them; hence it was very important for everybody to know about it. Business school staff told us about the importance of keywords. This is the most important part of doing dissertation.
Keywords make the task easy and efficient. The faculty had demonstrated the use of e-journals and e-books. I was amazed as we got lot of information in our library resources. These things made me confident and boost my energy to achieve the good results. Tutors told us to go through some articles and come back with quires for the next day.
Third day
In the beginning of third day everybody was ready with the questions and queries. It was an interesting and productive day as I personally grab important tips from the tutors and group mates. The tutors were helping us out for the keywords. Our group had started with literature review which I believe was the toughest part of the report. The business school staffs were putting more attention of students to maintain diary entries.
As per my perspective it was a good approach of diary entries as it keeps an individual aligned with the task. It had really helped me during my dissertation. I was maintaining by putting everyday experiences, learning and had maintained the list of references. The management had arranged five tutors for five different groups and we were free to discuss about the topic with all of them. I am thankful to the university staff that helped us in the dissertation classes.
Fourth day
Today our group had started with aims and objectives. It was again a discussion session and tutors told us to discuss the issues within the groups. It was a good idea because everybody had gone through some of the journals. I was confused with the literature review therefore my group mates helped me out for the same. As it was a secondary research we were asked to emphasize on journals, books and magazines. They were against Wikipedia which I believe is right. The information given on Wikipedia is sometimes fake and anybody can edit their views, therefore we were asked to avoid the use of Wikipedia. This was the summary of fourth day.
Fifth day
The last day of our dissertation classes was bit sad as everybody was going to be split. Many of students were going to their home countries for doing Applied Management Project. I had left with three of my group mates. We shared our email ids for the further conversation about the project. The learning support tutor had given important tips for the report writing.
Prof.Brain finally told us about the plagiarism. He had explained us the previous case and his personal experience when student gives excuses about plagiarism. At the end of the day students Vincent Ong had welcomed the students for quires. The students had clarified the doubts by module leaders and this was end of the session.
Personal feelings and Learning from the Experiences As per my perspective the reflective report really helps an individual in expressing the feelings and learning experienced during the project. It is as opportunity for a person to know about the internal weaknesses which can be eliminated for the future prospects. Also it gives an opportunity to know other in terms of nature, style of working and cultures. This is the best way of knowing each other.
This report illustrates the assessment criteria for the reflective report for International Marketing course. This is an individual as well as integrated report which shows the contribution of work done during the Applied Management Project.
The main motif of the report is to explore our self in terms of expressing the experiences learnt during this time period. It is an overview which summarised the list of learning and experiences during dissertation. The below figure demonstrates different stages of reflection.
The first stage shows initial step of reflective practice. Since I am learner, it is very important to know where I am good. I had related this model while doing the secondary research. As per my perspective, I had developed a good confidence level which I think is very important for an individual to survive in this competitive world.
The second stage is related to the personal skills. An individual should be aware that what skills they need, for instance the person is having lack of leadership quality or lack of communication, therefore it is very important to aware of these things and to rectify them as well. During the project I felt these weaknesses which had been improved at the end of dissertation.
The third stage is about implementing and monitoring. This stage was to start writing the report and to monitor the things going around. In this stage I had found my group mates very helpful and supportive. The university resources really had really helped out in doing the relevant research.
The final stage had been related to evaluate evidence. The things were very critical on this stage as the report was nearly finished. For me it was very important to go through the work done and to make it more presentable. I had faced many hurdles on this stage but with my hard work and concentration, I had finished it before time. During the project I had learnt lot of things which I believe will be useful in my professional life.
Reflective practice is not only to express the experiences; it also addressed the problems and hurdles faced while doing this report. As it was a group work but I had faced lot of ups and downs during the project. It is not very easy to co-ordinated with the individuals from different cultures as everybody is having different nature. My experienced was not very good with the group members as there was lack of co-ordination during this time period. I should have done little better if my group mates had joined me from the very first day.
Personal dynamics and learning from the experience This was the good practice to express our self but as I had mentioned in the beginning the absenteeism of others had really affected my personal dynamics. In the initial stage I was dynamic and was expecting same from my group members. Unfortunately we were not able to sit together for the discussing and sharing ideas. This thing had distracted me from the target but later on after couple of weeks, my group mates had joined me, which made me happy and motivated to achieve the target on time.
It was a good experience while working with different people from different cultures. I had personally gained many things while doing the project which had built up the confidence and had boosted my energy for future prospects.
At the very early stage I was not very confidence on finding the key words for the research. But as the time moves I had learnt about the key words which I believe is very important for all the students. In the middle of my project the group mates were dynamic were helping each a lot. They were more supportive and helpful which made the project interesting and productive.
According to Paula Freire(2000), active and reflective process an good approach for learning. An individual is not only learning from talking and writing, it also learns things from events and experiences. I believed that this is true as I had learnt a lot from discussions and sharing ideas. The integration of action and reflection creates a new knowledge.
These both factors are very important to construct the knowledge. In the short reflection is the proper channel to work on critical analysis, solving problems, evaluating and creating meaning. I had related this with my dissertation course where we need to do analysis on the assigned topic. This leads to solve the problems and finally create the meaning for the same.
According to Lew and Schmidt (2007), self-reflection helps students to become better learners, which I believe is true as we came to know our strengths and weaknesses. I am thankful to my group as they had appreciated the work done by me and vice versa. It is very important to appreciate the work, because this thing boosts the person to perform well. The supervisor consultants had also helped us out to accomplish the report on time. They were very prompt and helpful in answering the queries.
Lessons for the future project I was very important and interesting module which helped me and all of my group members to enhance the personal skills. As we know learning never ends therefore what I had learnt will definitely help me in the future. There were many ups and downs while doing the project but I personally feel that it was part of our work. While working in the team it is very important to listen others what they say. It is more important to understand each other which make the task easy and efficient. Initially I had faced problems with my group members but in the middle of my project it was started running smoothly. After graduation most of the students started seeking for the jobs, which gives the another opportunity to work in business environment. While working professionally an individual have to maintain and organise many things.
Reflection as discussed above is a process of evaluating, solving and generating the meaningful knowledge from our learning’s. As we know that the countries are coming close due to globalisation and one should never know in which environment he/she is going to work. A person should mould according to the environment, the same thing I had learnt from the reflection analysis and during the dissertation.
While working in the team it is very important to observe about the context and to contribute the ideas for the same. No doubt while discussing there might be arguments among the group members which can be resolved internally. This also helps in the professional life where we face these things on day to day basis. In today’s busy life one should aware to time management which helps the person in achieving the target on time. During the time of Applied Management Project I met different kind of people which had helped me for some good ideas. It built up the confidence if we meet more people, as everyone has different idea for one topic. Having more ideas tends to be more qualitative rather than quantitative.
Further I am going to highlight the five key lessons learnt during the Applied Management Project.
Team work
From the very beginning of our Maters degree, tutors had emphasized on working together as a team, which I believe is very important in this competitive world where the targets are very tough to achieve individually. Initially we were not able to co-ordinate with each other but later on it was fine which leads us to achieve the goal on time. According to Jonathan and Alan (2006), negotiating on different views where every individual comes across with different idea tends to work in a group which makes the task easier and achievable.
Communication
Communication plays an important role while working as a part of team or working individually. As I am an international student, it is very important for me to commute in the way that others do. Good communication resolves the solution as well as impresses the interviewer while attending the interviews. My personal thinking is that I had really enhanced my communication during this time period.
Well organised
In the beginning of this module the tutors had emphasized us to maintain the diary entries. This thing really keeps the person on track and saves the time. I had maintained the diary for keeping the brief summary on day to day basis. This thing made me aware for the next day planning during Applied Management Project. Diary keeping had helped me in projecting the target of dissertation; therefore finally I had submitted the report on time.
Conclusion As per my perspective the practice of reflective analysis helps an individual in knowing the weakness and strengths. It is all about the personal feelings and the observation done during the time of project. I personally believe that these lessons will help me in my professional life, where I have to face or interact with different people from different back grounds.
Conclusion has been made on the bases of lessons learnt during the project. Reflection makes the person more transparent which do not create miss understanding while working in the group. For the initial stage the tutors were telling us to work as a team which I believe is a good approach to achieve the target in the specific time.
Various models had been implemented in the report which relates to our day to day learning’s. I personally believe that learning never stops therefore it is another turn of cycle which built our confidence to tackle the problem.

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