Year 1: Synthesizing What I’ve Learned

Our start in this program was a reflection on our own selves. We started the program writing a “Who Am I?” poem, and the process has started a continual reflection for me about who I am.

  • What do I stand for?
  • What are my limits?
  • How does who I am impact my ability to lead and work with others?

I thought the experience of learning about our MBTI profiles was the most powerful experience of the first summer semester. I have since shared the concepts with the non-profit organization for which I serve, as a means to build repore with its board.

Take away? I need to better consider how others perceive me. Knowing your limits and your values is important, but if they do not come across clearly or naturally, then you have to adjust. It reminds me of what a conducting teacher once told me:

Practice in front of the mirror. I don’t care if what you’re doing “feels right,” you need to make sure it “looks right” and communicates what you intend to communicate.

Our first fall semester focused on leadership principles, using statistics for analysis, and professional writing. I naturally felt the writing course was my favorite because I love to write. Academic writing is not as creative as I’d like it to be, but that was the main thing for me to work on. I have to tame my creative flair in order to be more clear and more concise.

My experience in writing this fall semester was interesting for me because it re-established my belief that writing is subjective. For EDLP 702, we had two eyes on our final paper, one for “writing mechanics” and one for “content.” The first feedback I received on mechanics was very positive; the second feedback I received was more critical, and focused more on mechanics than the content. I’ve had this experience when sending articles for publication: editors and readers of your work can say profoundly different things about the same article.

I found writing the reports for EDLP 703 the most challenging because I felt as if I had sea legs writing about statistical analysis. I have a command of operating SPSS but would like more help in understanding the theory behind the analysis and how to use analysis for different real-world problems.

Take away? I believe the more scholarly writing you read can enhance your voice as an academic writer. Doing research now for EDLP 704 reinforces this. I think getting the type of deep writing analysis was the most helpful feedback to receive, and would enjoy the opportunity for more peer review.

In the spring 2012 (read: winter) semester, so many of the things we wrote about were not fit for sharing online. I continued to enjoy the writing assignments as I continued to refine my application of APA style. Each assignment hones the skills more.

I had two opportunities to work with others, which admittedly puts me out of my normal comfort zone. The EDLP 704 presentation was well-received by our peers in class. We used Google Docs to prepare our talk, and I appreciated the patience our team had in refining our work.

The second opportunity was the “option B” assignment. Again, getting feedback from different eyes was helpful, and of course, not everyone agreed. Working with peers strengthened by confidence and I’m personally happy our movie trailer was well-received.

The ethics course was my favorite thus far; the frameworks for ethical decision making I know will be valuable for me as a leader and I enjoyed the opportunity to chat 1:1 with Dr. Reardon as part of the class. I came to find in keeping an ethical journal that I routinely encounter a lot of ethical challenges and the background knowledge from the Johnson text was excellent.

Choosing to write about issues that concern me in my work, in an academic way, was both interesting and revealing. It’s for that reason I have chosen not to publish these artifacts.

Take away? Policy creation and politics may not be fun, but it’s par for the course. Ethical situations are all around us. I appreciated the opportunities to express my understanding of these. The mixture of feedback from professors and from classmates is a good mix. The best feedback came from working with classmates closely on a movie, by watching a movie, and by preparing a presentation together. I continue to learn from them and their experiences as educators through these interactions.

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