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Reflective Journal

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Introduction..........................................................................................................................2
2.0 Reflective Learning..............................................................................................................2
3.0 Enquiry Based Learning (EBL)...........................................................................................3
4.0 Reflective Frameworks........................................................................................................3
4.1 The ‘What’ Framework................................................................................................4
4.2 Gibbs (1998) Reflective Cycle.....................................................................................4
4.3 Kolb’s (1984) Model of Experiential Learning............................................................5
4.4 Johns’ (2000) Model for Structured Reflection............................................................6
Limitations of Self-reflection.............................................................................................7
5.0 Discussion on Group Processes...........................................................................................7
6.0 Reflection on Workshop.......................................................................................................8
7.0 Conclusions........................................................................................................................10
References................................................................................................................................11

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1.0 INTRODUCTION
This reflective journal reflects upon the workshop held on the topic of 'how can HR processes
influence internal communication to promote employee satisfaction?” My subtopic was
‘employee engagement’. In this report, I described and analyse my feelings, experience and
action plan throughout the workshop under the light of reflective theories. Starting from the
reflective learning generally, I described four specific models of reflection which are often
used to reflect upon personal past experiences. In addition, this report contains a critical
discussion on group processes explaining how the group was formed and progressed. A
critical reflection on presentation is also the part of this report where I used Gibb’s reflective
cycle to share my emotions and behaviour throughout the presentation and how I learned
from the event. Finally, a conclusion section contains main points and a useful discussion on
what I learned throughout the whole process and how it will impact my future.
2.0 REFLECTIVE LEARNING
Reflective learning represents reflective thinking and reflective writing. The academic
reflective thinking and writing includes:
o Looking at previous events or incidents
o Analysis and evaluation of those evident in different aspects and describe them
critically in conjunction with a reflective theory or model
o Carefully devise a solution about the situation if it comes again during personal or
professional life (Surgenor, 2011)
Based on these points, it can be said that reflective writing is more personal as compared to
other types of academic writings. However, it is encapsulated within some reflective
academic models for properly describing and analysing the situations, and reflecting upon
personal experiences. Generally, a most common method of reflective writing is the use of
reflective journal. Reflective journal not only carries incidents and response to those
situations, but it also gives a different viewpoint of any initial thought. In addition, it is also
beneficial in many other ways including: providing understanding and insights of an event,
enhancing confidence of the writer, establishing a base for critical thinking and problem
solving, enables emotions feelings and creativity, and making clear professional and career
related goals and objectives (Stevens and Cooper, 2009). In the opinion of Maughan and
Webb (2001), reflecting writing and thinking can be an unstructured procedure where the
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writer needs to show some skills for reflection on past events by underpinning strong and
weak points and ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions.
3.0 ENQUIRY BASED LEARNING (EBL)
The term Enquiry based learning (EBL) is used to explain a way of learning and development
which is primarily based on self-direct research or enquiry by a student. In fact, EBL is a
student-oriented approach to learning and development which augments the experience of
learning through self-reflection. Student-centred learning and research skills are the basics of
establishing the self-belief and self-reliance of students in order to identify and solve the
problems (Hepworth and Walton, 2009). Today employers are always in search of students
with greater communication, learning, interpersonal, generic, and self-management skills.
Also, they look for individuals who can work independently and as a part of the team with
transferable research skills. EBL in this regard, provides a chance to students to enhance their
research skills by linking theory with practice when they are in university. Teachers at the
university following the approach of EBL enable students to perform their research in order
to engage them creatively with learning practices. In addition, the research tasks permit them
to study of different issues that arise during learning and development (Hepworth and Walton,
2009).
Apart from the benefits of EBL, certain drawbacks are also attached with it. For instance,
Ward (2001) indicated that the key issue with EBL is its constructivist approach which
requires additional time of students in designing and conceiving activities. Some other
disadvantages are referred in the study of Santrock (2001) who stated that students can finish
up with the wrong outcome or they may not achieve desired results due to inefficient ways
adopted. In order to overcome this issue, the researcher emphasised on the need of providing
facilities of learning and guidance to teachers who can then put the students into the right
direction.
4.0 REFLECTIVE FRAMEWORKS
This section includes four models of reflection given by different theorists to promote
reflective practices and writing. These models are:
1.
2.
3.
4.

The ‘what’ model (Rolfe et al. 2001);
The reflective cycle (Gibbs, 1998);
Model for structured reflection (Johns, 2002); and
Model of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984)
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4.1 THE ‘WHAT’ FRAMEWORK

Rolfe et al. (2001) developed a model based on the reflective model of Borton’s (1970).
According to them “the advanced practitioner is not only conscious of what he is doing, but
also how he is doing” (p. 128). Their theory is based on three simple questions like what? so
what? and now what? By getting the answers of these questions, one can easily reflect upon
the situation or an event.
As shown in figure 1 that ‘what’ is the descriptive level of reflection where practitioner
describes and reflects on the past event(s). The ‘so what’ level deals with theory and
knowledge building where a personal theory can be developed to understand the incident to
learn a lesson from it. Finally, the ‘now what’ stage is an action oriented level of reflection
where it is described that how effectively the practitioner will deal with the situation if it will
come again in future.

N
o
w

W
h
a
t

w
h
a
t

S
o
w
h
a
t

Figure 1: The ‘What’ Model (Rolfe et al. 2001)

4.2 GIBBS (1998) REFLECTIVE CYCLE

Gibb’s (1998) reflective cycle motivates the practitioner to see the situation from different
perspectives and then evaluates it to develop an action plan to deal with similar situation in
future. In addition, it also assists the practitioner to think about how to respond to the
situation through self-reflection (Johns, 2000). The Gibb’s model is illustrated in figure 2
comprising of six stages: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action
plan.

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A c ti
on
p la
n
Co
ncl
usi
on

Des
c r ip
t io n

An
a ly
s is

Fe
e li
ng
Eva
lu a t
io n

Figure 2: The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs 1998)

The description stage explains the event in detail on which a practitioner is trying to reflect
upon. The questions that need to be answered at this stage include 4W’s such as what, where,
why, and when. Next the feeling stages refers to investigate ‘how’ questions such as how did
practitioner felt about the event and its outcome? At the evaluation stage, the practitioner
makes a judgment about the event by evaluating negative and positive consequences and
considering ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings and results and impacts. The analysis stage deals with
the breakdown of the past incident into smaller parts to analyse each of them separately. At
this stage, each component is analysed deeply. The conclusion stage is different from
previous stages as it investigates an issue from different angles. Mainly, a practitioner at this
stage summarises the behaviour of self and other people in order to judge the contribution to
the event. Without detailed analysis, conclusion is insignificant because then it does not fulfill
the purpose of reflection which is to learn from the past experience (Gibbs, 1998). Finally,
during action plan stage, the practitioner asks himself about what he could have done
differently. Based on this thinking, he develops an action plan for the future that what he will
do different in future if the event encountered again.
4.3 KOLB’S (1984) MODEL OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

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In Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model, active experimentation tends to a shift of
learning from one cycle to another. As shown in figure 4 that the model has four key points
and the practitioner can enter any one of these.

Reflective
observation

Concrete
experience

Abstract
conceptualisatio
n
Active
experim entati
on

Figure 3: Model of Experiential Learning (Kolb 1984)

The first point, concrete experience is concerned with an event which is selected for the
reflection and it also involves physical activities and hands-on experience. The theory
assumes that a practitioner can enter at any one of four stages but this stage is considered as a
key point of entry. After the initial reflection, the reflective observation deals with looking
back and screening the event from an objective aspect. This provides the chance to the
practitioner to reconsider the event to find the answers of questions what and why he did
something? At the next point the initial reflections are investigated more deeply where
conceptualisation allows the practitioner to interpret incidents and actions to look for links
between them. After developing a deeper understanding, the practitioner translates the
experience into predictions to demonstrate what likelihood of next event is and what will
happen next and what will be the action plan.
4.4 JOHNS’ (2000) MODEL FOR STRUCTURED REFLECTION

Johns’ (2000) model for structured reflection spotlights on the implicit and explicit
knowledge which is used in reflective practice. His model can be utilised as a guideline for
critically analysing an event. Also, experts use this model for general reflection on experience
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as well as for making more compound decisions. The model advised students to employ
reflective journal for making notes, for reflective purposes, and sharing experiences which
can provide better opportunity to the practitioner to develop great understanding of reflection.
Johns’ model mainly has two aspects: ‘look in’ and ‘look out’. By looking into the situation,
the practitioner finds a space to focus on self and pays attention to thoughts and emotions
while looking out refers to describing the situation, feelings and favorable and unfavorable
outcomes for the practitioner. Looking out also refers to five sources of knowledge including:
aesthetics, personal, ethics, empirics, and reflexivity (Johns, 2000). ‘Aesthetics’ explains
what and why practitioner was trying to achieve something; ‘personal’ highlights the feelings
within the situation; ‘ethics’ indicates the actions and factors that affect actions; ‘empirics’
describes the improved knowledge and skills; and finally ‘reflexivity’ indicates the future
action plan of future.
LIMITATIONS OF SELF-REFLECTION

The literature regarding self-reflection is full with the examples of improving reflective
experience in education context. However, reflection can be a limiting experience to some
extent in aiding personal development and knowledge expansion. Brockbank and McGill
(2000) refer to the statement of Habermas (1974) where he suggested that reflection needs a
certain level of involvement and independence which can be a threat to self-deception. Price
(2004) highlights a number of limitations of reflective practice in education context.
According to him, it can be challenging for the practitioners to go through the reflective
processes especially if they do not understand the process. In addition, it can be time
consuming and make practitioner unconformable or confused about the experiences or
situations to reflect upon.
5.0 DISCUSSION ON GROUP PROCESSES
In this section, I explained group processes by recalling the activities that were performed
within the group to support workshop progress. Throughout this section, I applied Tuckman 5
stages model such as forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.
The group formation was not formal and we did not follow any theory or model to form or
proceed within the group. We were six group members each with distinctive skills and
abilities. We handed over the responsibility of group leadership to Sandesh Gurung due to his
exclusive tone, and this decision was easily accepted by all group members. In order to avoid
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conflicts at later stages, we divided the work into small pieces and equally assigned to all
group members. It was decided that the person responsible for presenting the material will
prepare his/her topic by him/her. Here the division of role and assigning jobs to each group
member shows our approach towards Belbin’s (2012) team role theory where I performed the
roles of team worker and implementer. As a team worker I completed the work assigned to
me and contributed to the overall success of the group in finalising the presentation work.
However, I was slightly hesitant in crunch situations in order to avoid confrontation. I also
performed the role of implementer by practically and efficiently completing my work on
time. My assignment was to work on introduction and employee engagement topic so I took
the responsibility of doing it by myself. The only help I took from one of my colleagues is to
learn some specific commands and options of MS Power Point.
The storming stage is essential in terms of team growth and some conflicts and unpleasant
situations may arise during this stage (Forsyth, 2009). Although, some topic related minor
issues occurred between members because two members were asking for the same topic. But
both team members were cooperative and thus no major conflict arose or unpleasant event
occurred during the entire group process. The norming stage refers to manage team
effectively with a mutual goal. All the group members shared their ideas to set meetings and
manage time during presentation in order to make the team function. All members took the
liability and showed ambition towards team success in presenting material and showing
enthusiasm. After attending meetings, all the team members were highly motivated and
confident and knowledgeable to perform. At this time, each group member was able to handle
difficulties at his/her end. However, I was required some assistance of my colleague in
checking the presentation slides that I made.
After successfully finishing the delivered tasks and performing the presentation, now it was
the time to adjourn the group by putting closure on the tasks and preparing for the individual
tasks of next assignments. The overall experience of working in a team was excellent and I
really enjoyed and learned working as a team worker and implementer.
6.0 REFLECTION ON WORKSHOP
In this section, I will reflect upon the workshop presentation including the topic. A number of
theoretical models have been reviewed in section 2 and concluded that the output of all the
models are similar to some extent. In this section, I used Gibb’s reflective cycle to describe,

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evaluate and analyse my feelings and experience followed by the actions I took to deal with
different situations during the workshop.
I was responsible for introduction and employee engagement topic. The agenda of our group
is to collect most pertinent material from genuine sources of books and journals neglecting
the online sources. I was confident about this topic as I was aware of it. Also, I did a
presentation previously on a similar topic and felt about it in the same way initially.
Therefore, I was thinking that this time I can use my previous experience and acting skills.
After collecting relevant data I shared the data with my group in order to take their opinion
and after the approval of group leader some data was eliminated and more information was
included.
I used MS Power Point to make presentation slides. For me it was not easy because I am not a
very good user of computer and whenever I used this software in the past something went
wrong. But the problem was that I have never seen anybody else using any different software
for presentation and therefore, it was quite reasonable for me to learn how to properly use
Power Point in a short time. I was somehow familiar with the basic operations of this
software but I often get trouble when using it at the advance level. For example, addition
transition, select different templates, embedding any image or graph, and animations etc.
However, I managed to learn it in few days with the help of my colleague who spend a lot of
time in teaching me some most common operations which are used in this presentation as
well.
On the day of presentation, I really wanted to do it well as I performed previously. In fact, I
was expecting to perform exceptionally well because I was well aware of the topic and I
found it interesting, clear and informative. Also, lecture slides from teacher helped me a lot.
At the time of presentation I started my part and tried to explain in a good way but with the
lack of concentration of audience I felt that maybe I am not performing well. My eye contact
and body language was positive but few people in audience were not attentive which made
me little upset to some extent.
After finishing the presentation, I discussed this with one of my group members but he said
that I looked quite calm and did well throughout the presentation. I am unsure whether he felt
in the same way he described or he was trying to help me in getting my confidence back. I

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talked with group leader as well and I noticed that his confidence on me was not great and I
felt a bit cross.
When I looked back to appraise me than I realised that I did not do anything wrong that made
my presentation awful. In fact, it was my inner feeling which distracted me for a while. If I
analyse what I could perform better during presentation, I need to start from the beginning. I
am unsure how useful was my confidence on my acting skills. In fact, it gave me enough
confidence and stronger believe on myself as I was not depending much on reading the
material but I was relying on explaining the insights of the topic.
I am confident in using Power Point again in next presentations. I not only learned and used it
as a tool but also I felt sufficiently confident in presenting information in an attractive way.
This means that using a tool professionally can make a real difference in boosting the
confidence level. As I am writing this journal and I am feeling that practically how useful it is
reflect upon past events in terms of self-appraisal and self-reflection. This way I can see a
situation from different aspects.
7.0 CONCLUSIONS
Evaluating self strengths and weaknesses is not an easy task but if becomes easy when
linking theory with practice. So it is concluded that reflective theories and model are useful
for reflecting upon feelings and experiences. Gibbs reflective model is applied in this
assignment to reflect on workshop. Also, Tuckman group theory is applied to critically
discuss group processes. I learned that relying more on acting skills can be confusing
sometimes. There is no doubt that previous experience helps but every new experience is
different from previous to some or great extent. This reflective writing is my new experience
and I felt this is fruitful for me to evaluate past experiences. I believe next time I can write
more accurately and critically.

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REFERENCES
Belbin, R.M. (2012). Team Roles at Work. 2nd edition, Routledge
Brockbank, A. & McGill, I. (2000). The requirements for reflection. In A. Brockbank and I.
McGill (Eds.), Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education, pp56-69, UK: SHRE
Forsyth, D. (2009). Group Dynamics. 5th edition, Cengage Learning
Gibbs, G. (1998). Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning. London: Further
Educational Unit (FEU)
Hepworth, M. and Walton, G. (2009). Teaching Information Literacy for Inquiry-Based
Learning. Elsevier
Johns, C. (2000). Becoming a reflective practitioner. Oxford: Blackwell Science
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., & Jasper, M. (2001). Critical Reflection for Nursing and the
Helping Professions: A user’s guide. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Price, A. (2004). Encouraging reflection and critical thinking in practice. Nursing Standard,
18 (47)
Santrock, J.W. (2001). Educational psychology. USA: McGraw-Hill Inc
Stevens, D.D. and Cooper, J.E. (2009). Journal Keeping: How to Use Reflective Writing for
Effective Learning, Teaching, Professional Insight, and Positive Change. Stylus Publishing,
LLC
Surgenor, P. (2011). Demonstrator & Coordinator Development at UCD: Reflective practice.
UCD teaching and learning
Ward, C.D. (2001). Under construction: On becoming a constructivist in view of the
standards. Mathematics Teacher, 94(2), pp. 94-96

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