Guidance for completion of your reflective commentary A reflective approach to your educational and culturalexperience will bring about changes in the way you perceive your academic environment. Further, this reflective approach can go on to produce changes in attitudes and awareness which may, in turn, benefit your personal and professional growth. While a single experience in isolation, such as your overseas or homeplacement,will be insufficient to achieve such growth, that experience coupled with reflection may serve as a powerful impetus for development of key transferable skills which can directly impact on your future employability.
So, the purpose of this piece of reflective work is to compare and contrast the environment you encountered during your period of on the overseas programme (ENU) with your previous environment/programme(IAM/IIHM). Specific attention must be paid to the elements of learning, teaching and assessment at your ENU institution/programme and how they differed from those with which you are familiar – and the impact they had on you as a student and an individual.
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What does this mean?
As a start, consider a module on the present Hospitality Management Programme(ENU) with one at your previous institution/programme IAM/IHM. How is it presented to you? It is most unlikely that the previous module has broad learning outcomes and lasts a complete trimester. It is far more likely to be, of a lesser credit value, shorter or longer in length, and with more specific learning outcomes, or indicative content. Does this make the change in modules easier or more difficult? Does the ‘smaller’or “longer” module make it easier or more difficult to compare content from home to host institution?
This is just one small, but significant, difference you encountered, and dealt with – now you must apply your own form of reflective practice to yourplacement in a more holistic manner. As you start to undertake this process some questions you may wish to ask yourself, then answer might include: * What were your initial impressions of your new or present institution/programme (ENU)? * Was there an effective induction which allowed you to integrate into the present ENU institution/programme etc? Did the culture seem similar, or was it the polar opposite to the previous environment / programme (IAM/IIHM) – or where along a continuum would it be placed? * Were classes conducted in similar fashion, or was the host style of teaching and learning entirely different? * How much focus was there on working in groups and teams as opposed to independent study? * How much emphasis was there on the contemporary national/international business environment? * How did preparation for exams, tests or other forms of assessment differ? * How was feedback given on your progress, and at what times?
However, you must not merely answer these questions: if you did, you would only be describing your experience. The purpose of this piece of work is to reflect, not to narrate. Therefore, you must,firstly, answer these questions and then go on to consider their implications for you as an individual in relation to your studies and future development. If your experience was that the teaching style was more like being back in school, i. e. it was very didactic, rather than promoting and encouraging independent learning you must consider: * Which style did you prefer?
And why…? * Which form of teaching helped you to learn more, and to apply your learning to business scenarios? * As an individual what implications did this difference in practice hold for you? * Did the change in style cause you to question the differences in ‘philosophy’ at your advanced stage of education? * Which style of learning will, do you believe, better equip you for the dynamic, global workplace? With this guidance in mind, your task is to complete a 4,500 word reflective commentary on your placement period and its impact upon you.
While it is imperative that you introduce your present institution/programme (ENU) and put it in a wider national context, do not provide an extensive brochure, the focus is on you and your evaluation of the learning experience within a particular cultural context, not the host institution or country! Look at the marking scheme below to determine how much focus you should give to the relevant parts of your report/essay – as this work is called a reflective commentary, use the structure with which you are most comfortable.
The focus on your report should be on the differences in the educational system you encountered – and how these can be broken down to differences in learning, teaching and assessment within diverse national and/or institutional or organisational cultures. The approximate word counts supplied are merely indicative, slavish adherence to them is not necessary, but the weighting of marks is important. How are the marks awarded? 1. Introduction: provide details of you (stage of study etc) and your present (ENU) institution – this contextual information will include geography, structure, size etc. 500 words, 10%) 2. Contrast the different learning cultures of previous (IAM/IIHM)and your present(ENU). Institution / programme from a holistic perspective. (750 words, 15%) 3. Assess the impact of the teaching and assessment strategies of the present(ENU) institution/ programme on you as an individual (1,000 words, 20%) 4. Compare the relative focus in each learning culture on application of theory to real, contemporary business scenarios (750 words, 15%) 5.
Evaluate how the different ‘learning systems’ employed in previous (IAM/IIHM) and present (ENU) institution / programme impact upon the effectiveness of your learning as an individual (1,000 words, 20%) 6. Reflect upon the reflective process: determine how this reflective process has allowed you to reassess your period abroad or on the overseas programme (ENU) and how it has increased your attractiveness to future employers (perhaps through enhancement of transferable skills, appreciation of diversity etc? ) (500 words, 20%)
Before you start your reflective commentary ensure you are comfortable with what is being asked of you – discuss the task with your tutor: look at the marking scheme and determine how you intend to ensure all of the key areas are sufficiently covered. Remember, it is not necessary to ‘tick-off’ each of the areas listed in the order listed: it is your piece of work to be presented in the manner most appropriate to you. You can, of course, reinforce your commentary with any appropriate evidence (returned assignments etc) – any such documents should be included within your appendices.