I wish to reflect on the whole learning activities that I have been done for this module in this reflective report. I have learned a few strengths and potential weaknesses of myself which would help me in my future journey. I derive five important skills while go through this process which are communication skills, presentation skills, teamwork, time management and critical thinking. All these skills are useful for me to uncover my strengths and weaknesses which I can refer back on my working life.
This is not my first time doing a presentation, but it is the first time I have a group with the international students. Normally, my group members are my Chinese friends. At first, I found it was difficult to talk with my group members and to express my ideas. I did a lot of simple grammar mistakes and I am always the one who talks too little during our discussions. I think my group members are having problem to understand what I am saying. Therefore, I felt distressed and anxious for coming to discussions.
However, they have given me ample opportunities to learn to communicate my points and thoughts. According to Collins and Miller (1994), “self-disclosure is the act of disclosing personal information to another people.” To develop a good communication in a relationship, self-disclosure is one of the important mechanisms. I believed that a good relationship is based on trust so I decided to let my group members to know things about myself. I remember feeling uncomfortable when I did some of the mistakes, but my group members were not judgemental and helped me to solve the problem. After this, I felt that by sharing opinion and thought with each other can really strengthen my confidence. I am glad that the wall which blocking me from communicate with others had been removed and I am able to speak out my opinion now.
As pointed out by one of my lecturer, Mr Mahathir, good communication in the workplace will maximise work efficiency. From his past experiences, I learn that we must not being shy to meet the boss because the boss is the one who evaluate our performance in the workplace. Having good communication might also benefit me in my later on working life as I can ask for help from colleagues when having problems.
Although I managed to finish my speech during first presentation, I think my performance was not very well. Overall presentation as a group was good because my group members presented confidently and able to provide convincing answers when questions were asked by the tutor. I definitely found that a presenter must have great knowledge of the topic so that he can elaborate it by himself without looking at notes. I had a problem with this in my presentation. I involved all the information in such a limited presentation. I think I should make the information more relevant to the audience in my future presentations.
Besides that, nervousness is a major problem for me. It wasn’t my first time to speak in the public but I still felt nervous and resulted in me left out some parts that I was going to say. I think that it can be solved with experience and confidence. Therefore, I should overcome this weakness. After a couple weeks of practicing, this was reflected during my presentation as I was successful in explaining the proposed solutions to my peers. I made eye contact with the audience, and was able to acquire their attention towards my presentation. Hence, I would say that I think I did above average for my presentation and I am happy with my performance. However, I do believe that there is still much room for improvement such as research more tools (eg Youtube) to use and make it simplistic yet complex.
Since I have had rehearsals for a couple of times, I believed that I was well prepared for my presentation. This resulted in one of the main strengths of my presentation was that my verbal messages were presented quite fluently. Also, I felt that I projected my voice effectively throughout my presentation and this is really the main cause of my satisfaction with my presentation. This is because I have received feedback from my classmates that the volume of my voice was not loud enough when I was speaking. I am glad that I have managed to speak at an appropriate volume. I liked my slides as well, as I felt that its simple layout was easy on the eyes and yet, it still managed to be visually attractive.
I realise that the delivery of the presentation is important for its success and the key to delivering a good presentation is practice, confidence, have an interest and knowledge of the topic, not memorized the whole things. I have reflected on my strengths and weaknesses, and I am ready to perform better in the near future.
Working in group can be more trouble as conflicts may occur during discussion; however, I think it provided an opportunity for us to understand other people’s point of view. This exactly happened in my group as we always discuss the questions together at first. Each of us had different opinions so that the end result will be a combination of best ideas. I am glad that we were able to finish our presentations quickly yet maintain good quality.
I learned that communication, trust and leadership are the three main components of a strong teamwork skill. Good communication enables the group to perform well and each member must trust one another so that progress can be made efficiently. A team without a leader will result in fail. This module has contributed the improvement of my teamwork skills. I have learned to be an effective team member which requires active participation in group discussions. Through the group presentations, I believe that my experience can be readily applied into future working environment because high level of teamwork is important in today’s workplace. Overall it has been very learning experience for me because teamwork allows me to be involved and participate in equal ways. This helps to broaden my thinking to achieve the best outcomes and able to collaborate with others in the future.
One of the major challenges that I faced is time management. Time management is one of the skills that no one will teach you in school but you have to learn it. I was the worst procrastinator because I would put things off until the very last minute. That turned into me having a lot of late work, or not very good quality work. One of my lecturers had mentioned that, “When it comes to time management it is important to find a system that works for you.” I think that I could improve my time management skills making a schedule. It was very beneficial to keep a schedule. Instead of cramming everything all at once, set a schedule helped me to get better grades.
I believe that as mentioned earlier, having a calendar that states those deadlines will help motivate me because all the deadlines are visibly in sight. I can also track the progress of my assignments by categorizing the tasks and see which stages I am in at the current progress. I have to always remember that we may delay, but time will not. I believe that proper planning is the key to managing my time well. With proper planning, I can prepare to take on the task mentally. Thus, time management is a very valuable skill in today’s society.
As for critical thinking, Taylor (1992) stated that “it is a result of reflecting on one’s learning and developing a meta-awareness by reflecting on one’s thoughts, feelings and actions.” Critical thinking is considered to be one of the most important indicators of student learning quality. For me, I learned to think critically when I was doing the report. I analysed the issues and gave evidence to support my opinions. I have learned a lot of critical thinking through doing this report. Although it is not an easy experience but it helped me to understand the pros and cons of every possible outcome and to value them according to the goals that I wanted to achieve.
When I apply critical thinking concepts in the workplace, I will develop more ideas, make fewer mistakes and reach better decision. We know that not only the managers have the responsibility of taking decisions, but people at all levels into an organisation may also call to face and resolve problems. I think it also has a good impact on the relationship between colleagues. By using critical thinking, I can enjoy the benefits throughout my life in the future.