Reflective Journal1 Essay Example

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Portfolio: Reflective Journal

Portfolio: Reflective Journal


Besides the idea of individual development, there exists the concept of community development. Basically, it can be described as the process that see community member come together, join ideas and resource and build the wellbeing of their society. This idea implies that, just as it is with the concept of individual development that focuses of solving personal trouble and promoting their wellbeing of the person, the society also tend to focus on solving its problem; however, since community represents collection of people, it focuses on the problems that affect just more than an individual.

Community development focuses on addressing the issues that affect people within the society, which requires collective efforts and ideas through community work. In this reflective writing, I intend to explore and reflect what I have learned about community development through community work. I seek to demonstrate my understanding of community work and approaches and skills that can be used to promote the wellbeing of people within the society. the paper presents the reflection of the respective week lectures throughout the entire semester in sections of three modules. In the first module, I intend to demonstrate my understanding of community, module two-approaches to community, and in the last module, I seek to address the skills that are required to work with the community.

Community Work

Module 1: Understanding Community

This module’s lectures, from week 1 to 4, explored the introductory part to what community and related work would entail. Through this module, I developed the understanding of what community means, need to work together and some of the issue that face the need to work in a community context. Besides the idea I learned about community being a setting that entails all the people within a locality, I also broaden my knowledge of what community and its related issues entail. Upon reading an article by MacQueen et al. (2001) and a book by Thomson (2015) I understood further that community can be defined as a group of people with diverse features, but linked together by social factors, have certain perspectives that are common amongst them, and tend to jointly work together to address their issues. Therefore, a community is a setting of people with diverse characteristics but are connected by various factors and common interest.

Therefore, community work can be described as the processes of joint actions that target at resulting in the desired change on the basis of networks and power structures understanding amongst the people within the society. Week 3 explored about community work and Aborigines community. In this lecture, I understood what is expected of me as a community worker before or whilst working with Aboriginal community. Just as Boroditsky & Gaby (2010) puts it, the Aboriginal community features certain characteristics of diversity in their perceptions, beliefs and practices amongst others. Through this module, I learned that being a community worker working with this community, one needs to develop sense of understanding and appreciation of the sociocultural characteristics of the community. Personally, I felt like this was an opportunity to develop further my intercultural social and communication skills.

However, upon understanding the concept of community, community-based work, and what community workers need to know towards working with different communities such as the Aboriginal people, week 4 addressed a requirement for effective and efficient community work. Describing it as community capacity, the lecture demonstrated that a combination of resources and the ability of the community to effectively utilise them is the key requirement towards a constructive community work. In a research towards understanding the concept of community capacity, how it can be built, and whether it is possible to be achieved, Simmons et al. (2011) found that community capacity can be described as an approach or a process that entails a collection of resources towards developing specific aspect in a community. I feel that to have a strong community capacity, which evidently depends on the resources available amongst people including human resources, there must be a constructive partnership relationship between people of the community.

Therefore, through this first module, I identified myself with the concepts of community work and how community capacity influences the efficiency and effectiveness of the involved actions during a community-based developmental activity. It was an experience whilst getting informed about certain key characteristics of the Aboriginal community that can identify a community worker with the community. Through the articles I managed to read about the community, I developed understand, which makes me feel competent to certain level as a community worker if asked to work with the community.

Module 2: Approaches to Community Work

This module covered week 5 to 7 about the approaches and frameworks, as well as the roles of the government in a community. This module explored and discussed the conceptual approaches of community work and the related practice frameworks. In week 5, the lecture covered four approaches that can be used during a community work. The contribution approach, instrumental approach, community empowerment approach, and developmental approach, were the criteria of community work that the week lecture explored. I understood that the contribution approach entails the voluntary contribution by community members towards funding or supporting a developmental project, which is led by a group of professionals that make the decisions. Ledwith (2011) explains that certain development-oriented projects require voluntary contributions from community members. It is an experience to finally comprehend the underlying concept behind public donations or fundraisings in a community.

As opposed to the above approach where the contribution or participation by an individual is deemed more important, instrumental tend to give more weight to an outcome that participation. Giving an example of how people help police to fight crime in a community, Tyler (2008) elaborates that instrumental approach is outcome-oriented. However, it is similar with the contributions approach in the sense that decision-making employs top-down criterion. The community empowerment approach, on the other hand, tends to employ a reverse criterion of decision-making as the above two; it utilises bottom-up decision-making.

I also learned that, even though community work entails collective efforts to development, the processes entailed can also commence from an individual. Israel et al. (1994) demonstrates in their research finding that empowering the individual perceptions, opinions, or feelings, can be a source of constructive idea towards addressing community problems hence community development. Therefore, personal trouble can be a source of information for community work upon assessing and evaluation the implication of the trouble on future community trends. However, even though it also makes use of bottom-up criterion of sourcing information and making decisions, the developmental approach focuses more on building the community capacity to meet it needs than giving weight to any particular outcome. Also, I believe that the concept of community empowerment and developmental requires consideration of perspectives to be able obtain the required information. Additionally, I think that a community worker needs to demonstrate understanding skills to be able to consider the perspectives of an individual and how it can impact the entire community.

Week 6 explored five different practice frameworks that the above approaches can employ towards an effective and efficient community work and related outcomes. Connecting the ideas that I learned from this lecture to the previous one about the approaches, I realised that interactional community development and participative frameworks can be essential for identifying the needs to develop a community based on the basis of individual contribution. I believe that people need to demonstrate the ability to interact and participate for contribution approach to be effective; which implies that awareness and motivation are some of the key requirements in these practice frameworks.

Also, through this lecture, the building capable communities as a framework is generative enough to utilise the ideas from an individual as one of the resources that make a community capable of developing itself through community work. It is also considerably similar to the building collective capacity in community based programmes where a common factor or issue amongst people can be utilised to inform, seek support, and collectively participate to develop a particular project or programme. As opposed to the above frameworks, asset-based community development framework focuses on the material resources that a community has to support its development projects. Therefore, I believe this framework rely on the abilities of individual members of the community and what the community can offer towards its development.

Moreover, it was also an experience to understand the underlying rationale and purpose of having a political or governmental setting in a community. Through week 7, I became familiar with some of the role of the government in community development. I understand that contribution and participation of people toward community work cannot be quantified, considering that some of them are impacted by the diversity as a factor. Therefore, through policies and guidelines, people can find common grounds and social ties that can result in joining efforts towards developing the community. The government, at local, state or national levels, is seen as an integral part of a community where the guidelines for making decisions and implementing practices are provided through policy and law enactment (Bartik, 1991). Therefore, I think that the government is one of the unifying grounds amongst members of a community.

Module 3: Working with the Community

Through the lectures of this module, I learned many aspects of what it requires, including the skills, to competently carry out a community work. In week 8, the lecture explored the concept of decision making and the importance of its effectiveness. As I understand, community work begins with information that can be used to identify approaches of collecting resources, planning and implementing strategies. I believe, as was demonstrated in this lecture, that decision-making can be an integral part of the developmental process. After reading the lecture textbook and related to the arguments of kaner (2014) about decision making in a community-based issue, participative decision-making, where all perspective of the individuals in the community are considered, is the most preferred. Therefore, I feel that bottom-up decision-making criterion can be more effective in this situation that up-down because it engages every individual.

Through this module, I also learned that effective community work, being a joint approach to solving community issues, requires a constructive relationship between members. Therefore, partnership is a type of relationship that can be effective in this context. However, I believe that individuals forming a partnership relationship need to comprehend the associated issues that can either promote or hinder the outcome of the relationship. For instance, believe good decision-making plan that promote participation of every member of a community is one of the primary requirements towards uniting people to work together and solve problems that are beyond the abilities of one person or participate in projects that require such specifications. However, the participants need to understand that conflicts, due to diversity in opinion, beliefs and perceptions, are inevitable (Andrews et al., 2012); therefore, clarity and understanding are some of the requirements that I believe can maximise participation and quality the relationship.

Additionally, there is another aspect that is also very essential in community work. The concept of leadership and its qualities, as discussed in this module, is a factor towards effective and efficient community work. Through leadership, decision-making can be guided to the relevant directions, participations can be guided as well, and combination of resources and ideas can be facilitated towards an outcome that benefits every member. However, he leadership needs to consider the various factors that can lead to effective management of community and community-based activities. From the lecture, I learned that, as community work leader, one needs to be considerate and understanding, as well as humble to unite people and resources and effectively spearhead an effective community work.


The semester has been an experience beyond my expectations concerning what community work entails. Some of the ideas I have learned from the unit is that there are certain problems that can affect more than just an individual in a society. in such circumstance, people need to unite efforts and resources. Secondly, I have learned that community work require a decision-making criterion that considers perspectives of every person due to the issue of diversity in perception, beliefs and culture, amongst others. Thirdly, I have learned that community work relies on the partnership relationship members, which can be enhanced and facilitated by a good leadership style. Besides, a community worker needs to understand the community and its people.


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Boroditsky, L. & Gaby, A. (2010). Remembrance of time east: absolute spatial representation of times in an Australian Aboriginal community. Psychological Science, 21(11): 1635-1639.

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Tyler, T. R. & Fagan. J. (2008). Legitimacy and corporation: why do people help the police fright crime in their communities? Journal of Criminal Law, 6 (231): 231-275.

Thompson, N. (2015). Understanding social work: preparing for practice (4th ed.). England, UK: Palgrave. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.