Keep your action plan on track by assessing your progress towards your goals
OU graduate Stephen McGann argues that self-reflection is critical to personal development and effective practice.
Stephen: The good tutors would say this thing again and again to me. It was a peculiar phrase and called reflective practice, what we're trying to teach you is reflective practice. I remember one time thinking, you know, really almost looking the word the phrase up, thinking what does this thing mean reflective practice. Because I know it's about the abstract of what a higher education really is about.
I think if you can make a degree, if you can make higher education formate around reflective practice, teaching people not simply to learn things and get a piece of paper at the end of it, but to learn things about themselves. How do we think? How do we think now? How do we think differently to the way we thought before? Why do we think differently? And what useful things have been learned? In what ways am I not thinking the best way I can? When I did this particular project what were the ways that worked really well? And what were the ways practically in failing to do a certain thing that I can actually conquer it?
A particular example was, there was a course in my third year, I will even name it, called Team Building in Distributed Environments. It was a course about the way human beings use computers to work together. I didn't get my highest marks for that. I whinged half way through the course to my tutor about it. I looked at what I'd done: I thought I deserved a higher mark for what I did. My tutor was very clever. My tutor actually steered me towards a way to look at what I'd done in a positive way with reflective practice, to look at why things were formatted in a certain way, to learn from them.
And then open up like a sponge and take more information in to try and the solution in a sense would be the victory, the way I worked my way out of the problems I'd caused would be the and he was absolutely right. And to him, as an apology to him, it's the one single course, the one I whinged through, which I've used more in my working life after my degree than any other course.
And it was the reflective practice element, what I what I learned about myself and the way I work which has provided me with more another one of those great buzz words, with intelligence. If we are to be the knowledge economy, that is where the intelligence of the knowledge economy lies. If we are to be flexible, how else can you find flexibility unless you self-reflect?
Invaluable in pointing me in the right direction. Gave me options to pursue rather than a single approach which makes my career path very flexible.
Accurate records of your achievements and progress can help you to
If you’ve worked through the action planning process you’ll be aware that you should review your goals and monitor your progress on a regular basis.
At key points, such as when you register for your next course (module) and when you get your results, you should
Sometimes plans do not work out as expected, so be prepared to stand back and reappraise the situation. Ask yourself these questions.
By reflecting on these points it may be possible to make your goals more achievable.
Contact a careers adviser if you'd like more help reviewing your development.