Reflective Essay- Self-Awareness as A Learner Example

  • Category:
    Management
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Masters
  • Page:
    2
  • Words:
    1400

Reflective Essay- Self-Awareness as A Learner

Reflective Essay- Self-Awareness as A Learner

Generally, the course has enabled me to affirm the significance of self-awareness as an enabled of personal growth and development. Through a written narrative, I can report that taking part in activities intended to enhance my self-awareness did enhance my learning, and more importantly personal growth and development. Indeed, at the end of MGMT5050 course this semester, I can confidently claim that by engaging in on-going processes of introspection or self-reflection, I can now effectively pursue a path towards effective learning, personal growth and professional development.

An important insight I developed from reading Zimmerman’s (2002) works is that self-awareness and reflection are characteristically significant elements of effective learning. As a learner, my experience throughout this semester suggests that many students start their graduate programs while ill prepared for such a personal focus, as was in my case and several other classmates. As I came to observe when the course was introduced earlier during the semester, we expected our study to lay emphasis on content-based learning guided by the instructor. Therefore, although content-based learning embodies vital aspects of teaching, the significance of self-awareness and growth should never be disregarded.

From a personal experience, initial efforts to encourage self-reflection by the instructor during the course met with much resistance, particularly by me. I sought clear-cut approaches to learning and was keen on learning techniques and skills. It appeared that focusing on «self,” at the outset, was counter-productive, impractical and had no bearing on or link to the subjects or issue. With time and support from the teacher and other students, however, I started to embrace the significance of self-awareness and the processes of self-reflection, and to say the least, the outcome is greatly rewarding.

However, this faced significance resistance on my part. In fact, my immediate reaction was to explore self-awareness literature to gain deeper insight into whether it was significant in learning. I observed that although my instructor and a few of students frequently attested to the significance of self-awareness and reflection, the phenomena of personal growth and development, particularly in learning, is scarcely addressed in the literature. One thing I observed is that literature in the sphere of personal growth consistently supports the conception that self-awareness and reflection are significant preconditions in the journey to becoming an effective learner (Zimmerman 2002).

Still, it seems the link between self-awareness and professional development as a practitioner in the field of Commerce is not easy to encapsulate. Although self-awareness and self-reflection are upheld as significant aspects of training in Commerce, it appears that efforts to agree on the link between self-awareness and effectiveness as a business practitioner have not been conclusive. Indeed, Myers (2003) argued that although self-awareness is, without a doubt, a means toward becoming an effective professional, it is not the only one.

I learnt that much of the emphasis is on the opportunities for personal growth, which come about to graduate students based on their agitation to concentrate their efforts or focus on self-awareness. I also learnt that concentrating efforts on self-awareness is often tricky and frightening to students, particularly when we tend to become preoccupied with the acquisition of skills and techniques while we also must work to maintain high grades in other subjects. In fact, at some point during the semester, I did believe that self-reflection and self-awareness can be helpful to other students yet I was typically reticent to identify or relate their significance to my learning and professional life. This was particularly the confusion I became engulfed in after reading Myers’s (2003) text on the significance of self-awareness and reflection in promoting personal growth. In her works, she had linked self-awareness to psychological health and even pointed out the significance of encouraging an awareness of personal goals, motivations, and factors that influence how they behave in a certain way.

As I became further immersed into Zimmerman’s (2002) argument, one particular statement, which touched me is when he mentions that the reason many of us tend to avoid self-awareness is that we are afraid to accept our inadequacies and instead seek to protect the image others have on us. Perhaps Myers’s (2003) explanation was also helpful, as it assists in gaining an understanding that any practitioner should be able to understand their lives to know how they will affect, influence, or ask of others. Myer (2003) pointed out that if one wants to assist others to be more efficient, they have to take the same stance on their life by addressing unresolved issues. Similarly, Urdang (2010) argues that a fundamental feature of any practitioner is an awareness of self, such as one’s identity, goals, perspective, strengths, values, motivations, and feelings. According to Myers (2003), human beings have the capacity to reflect and make rational decisions because of a capacity for self-awareness. On the other hand, the more we are self-aware, the greater we realise the possibility of self-learning. Ultimately, I came to understand that when we increase our awareness, we increase our capacity to learn, as self-awareness forms the basis for many human capacities, including effective learning.

Therefore, as a student, I have learnt that self-awareness is a prerequisite to self-advocacy and has a positive relationship with life success. I have to understand myself for me to be able to know what I need and how to address it. Reader (2012) agrees with this idea and argues that before a student can advocate for himself or herself, he or she has to understand his or her learning challenge or disability.

For instance, after reflection, I came to understand that the reasons I had challenges in the MGMT5050 course were my personal attitudes. I always had an opinion that self-reflection can be counterproductive and impractical, particularly when you have to maintain grades in other subjects. After reading Zimmerman’s (2002) book and held discussion with classmates who had succeeded in maintaining high grades, as well as spent significant time on self-reflection, I learnt that without knowledge of own personality, strengths, attitudes, feelings, and motivation, learning was like a plane without a radar, as one would never know where he was coming from or going. Ultimately, and consistent with Zimmerman’s (2002) “reinforcement exercises,” I started keeping a daily journal for the remaining part of the semester. I also considered sharing my self-assessment inventory score with a friend, and even asked him to assess my strengths and weaknesses. I learnt that I was very judgmental, forceful, and impatient, and these affected my learning, as I rarely allowed people to challenge my preconceived notions during group discussions. This is what made others avoid me.

I have also concluded that in spite of my future profession or industry, my career success depends on my ability to manage and interact with or lead others, which calls for great interpersonal skills and critical competency (Roberts 2008). For instance, I expect that self-awareness would allow me to reshape my behavioural and communication styles while interacting with colleagues and clients. For instance, by being acceptant of self, I can adequately understand what makes me angry and how to come over a subject that may provoke me while interacting with others. Polk (2013) agrees with this conception and argues that self-awareness is critical, as it increases understanding of self, and how to interact with others.

In conclusion, I can confidentially report that the MGMT5050 course did expand my sense of self, as well as confidence in my capacity as a self-learner. Based on this review, I can confidently argue that self-awareness is the hallmark of personal growth and provides promising direction for effective learning, personal growth, and professional development in my future career.

References

Myers, S 2003, «Reflections On Reflecting: How Self-Awareness Promotes Personal Growth,» The Person-Cenlered Journal, vol 3, pp.3-22

Polk, D 2013, «Cultivating Self-Awareness with Team-Teaching: Connections between Classroom Learning and Experiential Learning,» Journal of Leadership Education, vol 12 Iss 2, pp.122-135

Reader, M 2012, «Setting Students up for Success Through Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy,» Perspectives, viewed 16 Oct 2016, <http://www.foothillsacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Setting-Students-Up-For-Success.pdf>

Roberts, C 2008, «Developing Future Leaders: The Role of Reflection in the Classroom,» Journal of Leadership Education, vol 7 no 1, pp.116-130

Urdang, E 2010, «Awareness of Self—A Critical Tool,» Social Work Education, vol. 29 no. 5, pp. 523–538

Zimmerman, B 2002, “Achieving Academic Excellence: A Self-Regulatory Perspective” in Ferrari, M. (ed), The Pursuit of Excellence Through Education. Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah NJ.P p.85-110.