Reflection on an Experience While Studying
A reflective account is considered as an essay where a writer evaluates the experiences in life. After that, the writer starts writing about all the experiences and exploring the ways used by the writer for change and development (Sekarwinahyu et al., 2019). The format used in reflective accounts can be slightly different depending on the basis of the audience that it addresses (Tanaka, Okamoto and Koide, 2018). In this reflective account, I have focused on analyzing an experience I have had at the time of studying. At that time some things did not go as planned. For this reflection, Gibbs’ reflective account has been applied.
I faced a problem while doing the MBA course. The problem was related to my group work assignment. For this analysis, I have used Gibbs’ model of reflection. This model is an effective method of working with any experience. This can be any situation or a standaloneexperience one often encounters. Originally, it was advocated by Gibbs to use the model in different situations (Adeani, Febriani and Syafryadin, 2020). However, I believe that the principles and stages can be applied for single experiences as well. If it is a standalone experience, then the action plan can become very general and it becomes essential for applying the conclusions in the days to come.
Figure 1: Gibbs’ reflective cycle
(Source: Created by the researcher)
During the MBA classes, our group was given a written group work assignment. There are three members in my group. I have made a decision to divide the group into specific subsections so that we just need to do research on one element at a time. Our expectation was that the assignment can just be pieced together by afternoon on that particular day prior to submission. This indicates no requirement of scheduling time for siting and writing. However, after sitting down it became clear to me that the same style of writing was used in each section. That is why the assignment had to be rewritten by us to make it a coherent work. We got adequate time prior to the deadline for writing all the sections individually. However, we did not have sufficient time for rewriting in case something went wrong. This is the reason why two of the group had to postpone their plans for the evening so that it becomes possible for finishing the assignment within the timeline.
Before, I found that there was lots of work that still had to be done, I was really happy. I thought we had taken a smart approach for dividing the work in between us. After realizing that the assignment could not be handed over as it had been, I became very much frustrated. I was sure that our plan would work. Therefore, I had absolutely no motivation for doing the rewriting. Provided that any two people from the group can get the chance of canceling the plans, I felt very guilty. This encouraged me to work harder and get the work done quickly. This has prompted me to work effectively in the evening and do the work faster. I feel really satisfied that we have made a decision to do the work properly.
The thing that went really well was each member in any group was able to do quality work within the agreed time of submission. In addition, cancellation of plans by two people from any group had given us the motivation for working laboriously in the evening. It had a positive contribution to the work ethic of the group . The things that did not work properly was that we thought we wrote in the similar way. Therefore, the total time plan of the group was not successful.
I am of the view that the main reason behind proper working of the initial division was every person had the opportunity to choose the part of the assignment they wanted to work on. The division was done in accordance to the self-identified strengths of people. I had experience working this way. I found that at the time when I worked by myself, I started enjoying all the areas that can match my traits. I discovered that this was exactly the case for our group. I believed that the approach chosen by me would help in saving a considerable amount of time at the time of putting together all the sections. For this reason, we did not think of it properly. However, the reality was that it actually took much more time than what had been expected. We had to rush the rewriting process. I believe that the fact that no planning had been done regarding writing and structuring sections caused the situation.
I have gone through a wide range of literature related to group work and got to know two things that helped me in comprehending the situation. The team roles of Belbin suggest that every person has their own weaknesses and strengths that are brought by them to any group. We did not think of the team members the similar way Beblin does. However, good work delegation and team work actually come from many of the strengths of people which can be used (Von Solms and Nel, 2017). There is another theory which might provide the help required in describing why the predicted plan did not work (Pieper et al., 2021). Groupthink is regarded as the process where people in any group would not share different options to any dominant decision or opinion. This is because they do not want to look like an outsider (Ardian, Hariyati and Afifah, 2019). I am of the view that had we challenged all the plan assumptions by becoming critical, we could have found that it would not work. Some of the important features of groupthink that were applied in the group were effective rationalization processes where we kept reminding one another that the plan would work and there was an invulnerability illusion. We believed that we were great students. Therefore, nothing wrong could have been done by us. I believe that having the knowledge of groupthink can be useful for doing the group work properly, while at the same time making important decisions.
I learned that when a group tries to divide work, we need to plan on the process of looking and feeling about each section. If it had been done properly, it would have been possible to put all the sessions and submit them without the requirement of rewriting. Additionally, I will start to get all the people who can self-identify all the upsides and suggest usage of the Belbin team role framework for big projects. Finally, I found that we often had to make decisions to try to agree with the group to make sure that we do not agree owing to groupthink.
In future, when I will work within a group, I will talk about all the strengths. This can be done easily and can be remembered in the first meeting. It can also act as an ice-breaker if we do not know one another. In the next step, if we make the decision to divide the work, I will focus more n on planning out the expectations from before. I will recommend writing down the introduction or the first section first. It will help me in having a reference of getting the time of writing out parts. I feel confident about the fact that the experience will be useful for reminding me to give suggestions on the things stated by anyone regarding dividing the work in the years to come. Finally, I will analyze if the initial decisions can be challenged by us so that it becomes possible for us to make informed decisions. In case of any concerns, I will inform the group. I am of the opinion that through remembering, It would become possible for me to disagree even at the time we do not feel comfortable.
From the analysis of Gibbs’ reflection on the experience that I have had at the time of studying , it can be concluded that in any group work assignment, we need to divide the section on the basis of strengths of people. At the time of putting all the assignments together, we have to look after different styles. Therefore, it becomes necessary to spend time rewriting it. I thought that the plan was going to work. I felt really frustrated when we had to rewrite it. The method of dividing sections was done properly. However, it did not work because planned and foreseen rewriting the sections had to be done for writing or coherence styles. It is also required to divide the work on the basis of individual strengths. It was done for piecing the work effectively. We aim at finishing the tasks quickly so that no concern is raised. Belbin’s team roles can be divided by groupthink where it becomes possible to make suboptimal decisions owing to individuals having the fear of challenging the consensus.
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Ardian, P., Hariyati, R.T.S. and Afifah, E., 2019. Correlation between implementation case reflection discussion based on the Graham Gibbs Cycle and nurses’ critical thinking skills. Enfermeria clinica, 29, pp.588-593.
Pieper, M., Roelle, J., vom Hofe, R., Salle, A. and Berthold, K., 2021. Feedback in reflective journals fosters reflection skills of student teachers. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 20(1), pp.107-127.
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Von Solms, S. and Nel, H., 2017, December. Reflective learning in engineering education: A case study of shell ECO-marathon. In 2017 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IEEM) (pp. 274-278). IEEE.