+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com
  

Description

1
[Title Here, up to 12 Words, on One to Two Lines]
An individual can be a charismatic visionary, but it does not equal to being a
transformational leader. A transformational leader not only open new path through
innovation. Transformational leadership involves the increasing and elevating the
interest of their employees, through the generation of awareness and acceptance of the
mission of the group, while encouraging the employees to go beyond their self-interest
to favor the good of the group (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004). The transformational
leader keeps their focus on the development of the organization, guiding with their
behavior, a group of followers, who will commit to the achievement of the organizational
objectives; at the same time, a transformational leader can shift their focus from the
organization to the followers, turning themselves into a servant leader. (Stone, Russell,
& Patterson, 2004).
Besides the innovation and creativity, transformational leaders also guide their followers
through the ethical decisions they have to make during their work. Leadership has three
aspects regarding morality: the level of conscience, the degree of freedom, and the
intention (Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999). The leader will consider the consequences and
the intention of the acts before suggesting a behavior. The transformational leader not
only will guide the followers to transform the organization, but to turn themselves in a
better version regarding their performance and their moral options. However, not
everybody is cut to be a great leader, because leaders need great followers too. The
relationship between a leader and their followers influences the behavior and
development of both parts. Great leaders have a positive effect on their followers, which
is supported by a positive feedback on their leaders. Transformational leadership
positively associates with organizational innovation and employee’s creativity
2
(Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Followers’ intrinsic motivation, psychological
empowerment, and perception of support for innovation mediate the effect of the leader
on their followers (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Working for a great leader gives a great
impulse to the followers’ career. When somebody works for a transformational leader,
they will develop their creativity and adopt innovations that will further transform the
organization in the future and support the professional and personal growth of the
followers. After working for a transformational leader, the employee changes, increases
their motivation and perform beyond the expectations.
I worked for a great leader, who inspired me to follow him. However, while I wish to
emulate his creativity and innovation. He carried on his shoulders the responsibility of
two firms, a beauty shop and a cosmetics line. He was a fearless entrepreneur, who
thought that innovation was the key to dominate the market. The beauty shop used
innovation in its marketing campaigns, starting several trends that proved highly
effective in the next years. On the other side, the cosmetics line used innovation to
create products that separate themselves from the rest of the market. As a leader, he
supported the marketing department of the beauty shop while giving extra funds to the
R&D department of the cosmetic line. However, the most critical characteristic was that
all the firm was invested in the development of the marketing strategy and the creation
of new products. The intrinsic motivation helped to develop the creativity even in those
employees that were high on conservation, valuing conformity, security, and tradition
(Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009).
3
How transformational leadership works
Transformational leaders transform the personal values of followers to support
the vision and goals of the organization by fostering an environment where
relationships can be formed and by establishing a climate of trust in which visions
can be shared (Bass, 1985a). Avolio et al. (1991) established four primary
behaviors that constitute transformational leadership: (1) Idealized influence (or
charismatic influence). (2) Inspirational motivation. (3) Intellectual stimulation. (4)
Individualized consideration (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004).
The interest in leadership and its styles only started to grow during the last decades of
the 20th century. The evolution of the field kickstarted the differentiation between
leadership theories and management theories. However, management courses involve
the teaching of leadership theories and techniques, aiming to form a new generation of
managers that will be leaders able to transform the organizations in the future,
empowering their followers, and motivating innovation and creativity (Conger, 1999).
According to Conger (1999), the progress of the transformation of the organization can
be examined through five different dimensions: the behavior of the leader and its
effects, the disposition of the followers and their dependency on the dynamics, factors
depending on the context, factors depending on institutionalization and succession
forces, and the liabilities of charismatic and transformational leaders.
Another characteristic of transformational leadership is the adaptation of the emotional
leadership style to emotional needs of the organization. Besides, the leader’s emotional
state also has a profound impact on the emotional state of the organization. A leader
can be a visionary, a coach, an affiliative, a democratic, a pacesetting, or a
4
commanding leader (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.). A visionary leader inspires the
change in the organization. A coaching leader helps to connect the goals and values of
the employees to those of the organization. The affiliative leadership style promotes
harmony within the team, which is useful in case of conflicts among the team members.
A democratic leader uses the input from the followers to make them get on board with
new ideas. The pacesetting leadership style focuses on performance and achieving
goals, which is recommended when the team must produce quality work in a short
period. Finally, the commanding style depends on orders and demands, and it is best
used in crises to jump-start fast-paced change and with problem team members. Each
of those emotional styles is only recommended under particular situations. A leader who
wants to inspire the organization must avoid being commanding because it will generate
the wrong emotion in the followers (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.).
Research evidence demonstrated that transformational leaders have a higher influence
on their followers, leading to higher levels of satisfaction and performance. It is the
result of the positive expectation the leader has for their followers. The leader thinks that
the group can do their best, and the group outperforms due to the focus and care about
followers and their development while tending to their needs (Riggio, n.d.). According to
Bernard Bass the characteristics of a transformational leader are:
•
Is a model of integrity and fairness.
•
Sets clear goals.
•
Has high expectations.
•
Encourages others.
•
Provides support and recognition.
5
•
Stirs the emotions of people.
•
Gets people to look beyond their self-interest.
•
Inspires people to reach for the improbable. (Mindtools Content Team,
n.d.)
Knowing who I am today will help me to reach my goals and build my future leadership
style. While I want to be able to transform my team and organization, I need to grow
still, which can change some of my traits. The ultimate goal is to achieve balance. I
consider that a transformational leader has the best qualities of the rest of leadership
styles. A transformational leader, for example is democratic, because they take into
account the ideas, concerns, and information their followers provided (Manktelow, n.d.).
Different organizations providing community services, such as youth and family services
can benefit from a transformational leadership. Mental health services can improve their
outcomes if a transformational leader is in a supervisory position, which would lead to
the implementation of evidence-based practices (Aarons, 2006).
Transformational leadership become the norm during the last years, taking the place of
other traditional models and management theories, which mostly represented the side
of downsizing of the companies’ development during recessions. Other motivational
approaches, such as transactional leadership became derogatory, while
transformational was the cure to all organizational ailments. Transformation is included
in the leadership concept, while transactions are part of the selfish calculating manager,
incapable of empowering their followers (Conger, 1999). However, transformational and
charismatic are concepts that include the perception of values in the business world.
While a charismatic leader is often perceived as an esoteric, untouchable leader, whose
6
words must be followed to the t, a transformational leader has positive connotations
associated to human development and organizational adaptation. In sum, a
transformational leader will empower their followers through idealized influence,
inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Conger, 1999). The
transformational leader inspires loyalty and trust in their followers, generating great
expectations that people are eager to achieve. The steps of a transformational leader
are creating a vision of the future, motivate their followers to invest in their vision,
manage the delivery of the vision, and build stronger trust-based relationships with their
followers (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.). While a transactional leader will generate
positive results using rewards, a transformational leader will have positive results by
inspiring their followers instead of increasing their self-interest and responding to the
ethical vision of the company created by the transformational leader (Bass &
Steidlmeier, 1999).
7
References
Aarons, G. A. (2006). Transformational and Transactional Leadership: Association With Attitudes Toward
Evidence-Based Practice. Psychiatric Services, 57(8), 1162-1169. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1876730
Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership
behavior. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181-217. Retrieved 4 7, 2021, from
https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1048984399000168
Conger, J. A. (1999). Charismatic and transformational leadership in organizations: An insider’s
perspective on these developing streams of research. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 145-179. Retrieved 4
7, 2021, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1048984399000120
Gumusluoglu, L., & Ilsev, A. (2009). Transformational Leadership, Creativity, and Organizational
Innovation. Journal of Business Research, 62(4), 461-473. Retrieved 4 7, 2021, from
https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0148296308000325
Leithwood, K. (1992). The Move toward Transformational Leadership. Educational Leadership, 49(5), 812. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from http://ascd.org/ascd/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199202_leithwood.pdf
Manktelow, J. (n.d.). Leadership Styles. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm
Mindtools Content Team. (n.d.). Six emotional leadership styles. Retrieved from Mindtools.com:
https://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/emotional-leadership.php
Mindtools Content Team. (n.d.). Transformational Leadership. Retrieved from Mindtools.com:
https://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/transformational-leadership.php
Riggio, R. E. (n.d.). Are You a Transformational Leader? Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/200903/are-you-transformationalleader
Stone, A. G., Russell, R. F., & Patterson, K. (2004). Transformational versus servant leadership: a
difference in leader focus. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(4), 349-361. Retrieved 4
4, 2021, from https://emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/01437730410538671/full/html
Final Essay: Personal Leadership & Teamwork Reflection and Philosophy (35%)
A: The purpose of this assessment is to reflect on what you consider to be ‘good’ leadership and team
work, evidenced by the following bullet point criteria, including application of the relevant
theory/theories learnt this semester to support your position.
B: Task
•
Reflect on your personal experience as a leader, and/or past experience with those people
you perceived to be leaders (inspirational or otherwise), as previously discussed in class
exercises this semester, to form your opinion of what constitutes ‘good’ leadership.
•
Reflect on your current values, beliefs, and assumptions. (Your personality type, your personal
values, and your personal assumptions and beliefs about teamwork and leadership should
only be summarised in such a way that illustrates how each influences your perception of
what constitutes ‘good’ leadership, not merely just listed in your essay.)
•
Reflect upon the team dynamics you and your team members experienced during team
activities with respect to the theory and practice covered in class. Compare the different team
dynamics you experienced in the two different teams you worked in, in this subject this
semester. (Do not simply describe the group development as per the Tuckman model, but do
some analysis – explore if, and to what extent, your group moved towards ‘becoming a team’.)
•
State your leadership philosophy. That is, a statement of what constitutes ‘good’ leadership
to you – explain why, and choose which leadership theory/theories this statement most
aligns with.
During the above-mentioned reflective process, you are required to explore the broader extant
literature on leadership to establish which leadership theory/theories your observations and
experiences most align with. (The initial information you supply and reflect upon should illustrate how
and why your perception aligns with this theory.)
C: Recommended Structure
1. Cover page: title, subject name, date, author’s name, and word count.
2. Introduction: outline what you are about to discuss and argue.
3. Critically reflect upon your personal experience with leadership: best/worst leadership experience or
your inspirational leader.
4. Critically reflect upon your personality type, your personal values, and your personal assumptions
and beliefs about teamwork and leadership
5. Critically reflect upon your teamwork activities in the two different teams you worked in this
semester and how this influenced your assumptions and beliefs.
6. Your leadership philosophy. That is, a statement of what constitutes ‘good’ leadership to you –
explain why, and choose which leadership theory/theories this statement most aligns with.
7. Conclusion: review your key argument including what new knowledge you have acquired about
leadership and teamwork this semester and how you will apply this knowledge in future teamwork.
8. References
9. Appendices: Please attach your personal test results/reflections to support your analysis – eg. your
Values, personality test results; leadership questionnaire survey results etc.
10. Your paper should be 1500 words (+/-10%) not including your reference list or appendices. The
paper needs to be submitted through TurnItIn by the due date (refer to assessment folder in ilearn).
D: Criteria
a. Essay & Reflection content: Demonstrates your ability to comprehensively and critically observe
and reflect on your leadership and team experience and views using theory and evidence;
Demonstrates your ability to comprehensively and critically analyse leadership and team theory;
Presents your analysis in a fresh, creative way and is sensitively written; Uses extant theory and
authentic examples from past experience, in-class questionnaires, and in-class team dynamics;
Demonstrates broad knowledge of the theory base. (60 points)
b. Essay Structure, including Appendices: Contains an introduction that orients reader to the purpose
of the paper and foreshadows the paper’s content; Structured by a clear sequence of relevant
issues/requirements; Has clear connections between ideas in one paragraph and the next; Contains a
conclusion that summarises the content, including how new knowledge will be applied to future
teamwork; Relevant documents attached in appendix. (15 points)
c. Writing Style, editing & proof reading: Achieves an appropriate formal academic tone; Chooses
effective words and phrases to achieve a consistent academic style; Avoids abbreviations,
contractions, clichés, immature or naïve wording, colloquialisms, slang; Uses strong verbs – avoids
excessive use of nouns ending in –ment, -tion and –al; Writes concisely, avoiding unnecessary
repetition, fillers, verbosity, awkward wording or phrasing; Writes in unified, coherent paragraphs
with clear topic sentences; Provides clear signposts and transitions to achieve coherent flow through
sentences and paragraphs; Uses standard academic English with complete grammatical sentences,
correct spelling, and standard punctuation. (15 points)
d. Sources & Referencing: Acknowledges sources of quotes, paraphrases, ideas cited throughout the
reflection; Integrates quotes effectively – does not over-rely on them to carry discussion, or string
them together without discussion; Uses standard and correct APA style of in-text citations and
reference list. (10 points)
Rare, exceptional, sophisticated
work. Outstanding academic
standard. Comprehensive,
critical, balanced and stimulating
approach that demands full
reader/viewer engagement.
90+
85-90
Generally satisfactory work that
shows a basic grasp of the task
and some willingness to
communicate with the audience,
but two or three aspects need
more attention.
60-64
55-60
Advanced work – almost
reaches exceptional standard.
Confident, thoughtful, detailed
approach that maintains high
engagement.
80-84
75-80
Shows a basic level of
understanding but needs more
work in many areas to engage
the task comprehensively and
communicate effectively with
the audience
50-55
Very good work – completes
task quite effectively but has
some gaps or inconsistencies
that need attention.
70-74
65-70
Needs much more work in
most areas, or is wrongly
conceived and executed, or
work is incomplete.
Less than 50
Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 2014
Vol. 51, No. 6, 573–583, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2013.796716
Raising the profile: an institutional case study of embedding
scholarship and innovation through distributive leadership
Linda Creanor*
GCU LEAD (Centre for Learning Enhancement and Academic Development), Glasgow
Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK
Distributive leadership, which has been described as a distribution of power
within the sociocultural context of universities, provides a valuable model for
encouraging scholarship and innovation in learning and teaching. By nurturing,
rather than imposing, leadership responsibilities, and relating them to personal,
as well as institutional priorities, there is potential to foster creativity and support career progression. This paper explores the impact of this approach through
a university-wide initiative which has firmly established itself as a key aspect of
continuing professional development. The case study describes how the initiative has benefitted from the experiences and findings of national and international developments and adapted them to the local context by supporting,
encouraging and acknowledging evidence-based practice across the curriculum,
including the integration of learning technology. It provides an overview of
evaluation findings which indicate that scholarship and innovation in learning
and teaching are being enhanced through increased staff engagement and institutional acknowledgement.
Keywords: evidence-based
embedding innovation
practice;
scholarship;
distributive
leadership;
Introduction
Raising the profile and status of innovative pedagogic practice in higher education
can be problematic, due in no small part to continuing pressure on academics to
focus on career enhancement through disciplinary research. Whilst lip service may
be paid to the central role of learning and teaching, the culture within institutions
often systemically embeds the imbalance, as research, rather than excellent pedagogic practice, continues to attract higher status and remains a central tenet of academic promotion (Vardi & Quin, 2011). Against this background, an emphasis on
scholarly approaches to learning and teaching is essential if the profile of pedagogic
practice is to be enhanced and opportunities for career progression through the
learning and teaching route increased.
Evidence-based practice can be interpreted in many ways and from a range of
perspectives. Originating in the field of medicine, the concept has been widely
adopted in education to ensure that pedagogic practice is effectively informed by
the findings of high quality educational research, although as Biesta (2007) points
out, this is a nuanced concept which merits critique. It has often been linked to
*Email: l.creanor@gcu.ac.uk
Ó 2013 Taylor & Francis
574
L. Creanor
scholarship in learning and teaching (Boyer, 1990) which Prosser describes as
‘evidence based critical reflection on practice to improve practice’ (2008, p. 2).
Whereas aspects of educational research can foreground theory, innovative scholarly
activity, underpinned by action research, is firmly rooted in day to day learning and
teaching activities (Mills, 2000; Reason & Bradbury, 2001). Although the value of
these scholarly, evidence-based approaches to the learner experience is largely
undisputed (Jenkins, 2009), institutional culture, disciplinary priorities and a lack of
acknowledgement of innovation can have a negative impact on staff engagement in
continuing professional development (CPD) and scholarly activity in learning and
teaching.
In this digital age, the effective use of technology is also central to academic
practice. Nevertheless, for those who pursue innovation through the application of
technology, the task of gathering evidence to support career advancement can be
particularly daunting as technology enhanced learning frequently stands accused of
technological determinism with insufficient evidence or theoretical underpinning to
support its claims of effectiveness (Bennett & Oliver, 2011; Creanor & Walker,
2012). Tensions continue to exist between technological and pedagogic drivers, rendering problematic maintenance of a scholarly focus against a backdrop of constant
change and relentless technological advances (Watson, 2001). Hence, the strategic
implementation of evidence-based, technology-enhanced learning linked to career
progression within the disciplines is perceived as a challenging goal which requires
explicit encouragement and support through institutional recognition and influential
leadership (Conole, White, & Oliver, 2007).
This case study outlines the experience of one UK university over a four-year
period as it sought to embed evidence-based academic practice across the curriculum. The paper aims to explore the impact of the distributive leadership model in
effecting transformational change in attitudes towards, and engagement in, scholarly
activity in learning and teaching across the institution. It begins by outlining the
background and rationale for a strategic CPD initiative designed to address these
issues, informed by relevant national and international developments. It goes on to
describe the implementation, outcomes and findings to date before reflecting on the
overall impact of such an approach and outlining plans for future development to
ensure sustainability.
Influencing models and frameworks
Innovation as a concept is problematic within higher education with varied foci
encompassing local, often individualised, developments in learning and teaching
alongside more managerial and business-oriented institutional and political strategies
(Findlow, 2008; Hockings, 2005; Smith, 2011). Attempts to drive forward innovation in learning and teaching mirror this variation in conceptual understanding, with
strategies and policies veering between top-down and bottom-up implementations
which result in a similarly diverse range of outcomes.
Large-scale initiatives
Examples of large scale initiatives within the UK include those supported separately
by the Funding Councils in England and Scotland. From 2005–2010 considerable
amounts of government funding were disbursed by the Higher Education Funding
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
575
Council for England to establish 74 centres of excellence in teaching and learning
(CETLs), each with a particular pedagogic focus. These centres, many of which
incorporated technology enhanced approaches, were locally hosted by the successful
bidders but had a sector-wide remit. The dual aims for this initiative were, ‘… to
reward excellent teaching practice and to further invest in that practice so that CETLs funding delivered substantial benefits to students, teachers and institutions’.1
While success in embedding innovation and evidence based-practice is clearly
evidenced by sections of this strategic initiative (Anderson, Bullen, Alltree, & Thornton,
2008; VLL, 2010), an interim evaluation of the impact of the CETLs noted that,
The tradition of deliberate strategies to change and enhance learning and teaching in
higher education in the UK has a relatively short history. Traditionally, its legitimacy
among numbers of academics has been uncertain. Central or cross-disciplinary standards,
approaches, suggestions and development have run up against the canon of concerns
traditionally held by academics. So, academics do not appreciate a heavy central steer on
practices that have been very much the local preserve. (Saunders et al., 2008, p. 9)
In a parallel development in Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) invested
£6 million in an E-Learning Transformation Programme from 2005–2007. Six
large-scale projects involving both higher and further education institutions
addressed topics such as e-assessment and feedback, blended learning and online
resources with the aim of effecting transformational change in the integration of
technology across the curriculum.2
Echoing the CETL interim review, the final evaluation of the SFC E-Learning
Transformation Programme identified that,
The emerging breadth of focus for the projects demonstrates that it is not realistic to
attempt to transform the curriculum without taking people with you on that transformation journey (including learners, teaching staff and institutional managers). Nor is it
feasible to attempt to transform academic practice without a context and a focus for
curriculum change. (Glenaffric, 2008, p. 11)
These findings suggest that despite top-level encouragement and substantial
resource, local ownership, empowerment and individual agency remain key influencers of engagement and impact in encouraging creative, evidence-based learning
and teaching practice. Without a real sense of long-term commitment to the projects, continuation and embedding beyond the initial funding period is difficult to
achieve (Bates & Sangra, 2003; Gunn, 2010a).
The individual perspective
In contrast to these large scale initiatives, empowering and developing the potential
of individual academics was the focus of the Australian Faculty Scholars Network.
Supported by the Australian learning and teaching council, it has extended its
impact from the initial pilot institutions to a wider group of participating universities. The original aim of the initiative was to assess the validity of a leadership
development capacity framework for teaching and learning (Parrish & Lefoe, 2008).
This approach is underpinned by the concept of Distributive Leadership (Bennett,
Wise, Woods, & Harvey, 2003; Knight & Trowler, 2001) which is described by
Lefoe, Smigiel, and Parrish (2007) as:
576
L. Creanor
… a distribution of power within the sociocultural context of universities, and a sharing of knowledge, of practice and reflection through collegiality. (2007, p. 5)
Originally conceived as a way of preparing future leaders in learning and teaching
for a rapidly evolving higher education system, this model promotes the development of leadership skills amongst the staff who do not necessarily have a formally
recognised leadership role in a hierarchical sense. The model has been used successfully to take forward key learning and teaching priorities including assessment,
feedback and online distance learning (Keppell, O’Dwyer, Lyon, & Childs, 2010;
Lefoe, 2010), with participants rewarded with small amounts of funding, partial
relief from teaching duties and support through the network of Faculty Scholars.
One outcome of this initiative has been a Distributive Leadership Development
Framework which can be adapted to suit the local context. Results showed that
participants gained confidence in their own ability to act as leaders and to influence
colleagues and senior managers in taking forward key learning and teaching
innovations.
With distributive leadership, those people who may not sit in hierarchical positions of
leadership have an opportunity to lead both upwards and sideways among their colleagues and through this mechanism have a real opportunity to influence others and
more importantly influence those with power that comes with hierarchical positions of
leadership. (Parrish & Lefoe, 2008, p. 2)
The focus on the individual is also integral to the recently revised Professional
Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education in
the UK (UKPSF, 2011). Developed by the higher education academy (HEA) in collaboration with the sector, the framework identifies a series of levels and criteria
against which an academic’s professional development in the scholarship and leadership of learning and teaching can be gauged. The framework can be contextualised at a local level, indeed institutions are actively encouraged to do so, and it
links to accreditation as an Associate, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow of
the HEA. Although not, as yet, a universally compulsory requirement, an increasing
number of UK institutions require new academic staff to attain fellowship of the
HEA at an early stage, either by undertaking an accredited programme of study or
through a direct application based on prior experience. The framework is used by
institutions to inform their postgraduate certificate programmes in learning and
teaching and to shape CPD activities.
Influenced by, and building on, these examples, the following case study outlines how such models and frameworks have influenced the approach of one UK
institution which sought to attain strategic impact in learning and teaching through
the empowerment of individuals, acknowledgement of scholarly activity and the
encouragement of evidence-based practice across all disciplinary areas.
Caledonian scholars and associates
Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is a post-1992, campus-based Scottish institution with almost 17,000 students studying in its three academic schools in the
areas of business and society, health and life sciences and engineering and the built
environment. With a significant widening participation agenda, it places a strong
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
577
emphasis on learning, teaching and the student experience. Nevertheless, promoting
recognition for excellence in learning and teaching and encouraging engagement in
CPD in a meaningful way have been challenging goals. While undertaking the
University’s postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching for higher education
(PgC LTHE) is expected of all new staff, participation in ongoing CPD for learning
and teaching beyond this stage is generally optional and unrecognised. The
University sought to address these inter-linked challenges in an informed way,
building on experiences in the sector both nationally and internationally.
The national, large-scale initiatives had taught that local ownership and control
were essential for sustainable transformation within a strategic framework, therefore
the focus was primarily on empowering individuals based on a Distributive Leadership model which recognises and encourages localised ownership of innovation and
change. Inspired by the successful Faculty Scholars Network in Australia and
informed by the UKPSF, the Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative was
launched in summer 2008. It supports the implementation of GCUs CPD Framework for Learning and Teaching, which in turn reflects the key priorities of the University’s LTAS as well as the core knowledge, professional values and areas of
activity of UKPSF.
The aims of the Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative are to,
• Provide opportunities for new and experienced staff to maintain continuing
engagement with scholarly approaches to learning and teaching throughout
their careers.
• Enhance learning and teaching practice and the quality of the student experience.
• Recognise individual endeavour and address a number of promotion criteria
through the learning and teaching route.
• Actively promote innovation in learning and teaching to benefit students,
departments and academic schools.
• Enable lecturers and staff who support student learning to gain university recognition for commitment to, and investment in, scholarship in learning and
teaching.
• Acknowledging the increasingly ubiquitous presence of technology and its
central role in learning and teaching, learning technology is integral to, rather
than separate from, GCU’s LTAS, CPD framework and the Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative.
Implementation
The initiative is facilitated by the central department with responsibility for
academic development, learning technology and educational research. An annual
call is issued for applications which are aligned to the university LTAS and
school/departmental priorities. Submissions must be approved by line managers
before being peer reviewed by international experts, with final decisions on acceptance made by the Pro Vice Chancellor (learning and teaching). The criteria for
the role of Caledonian Scholars and Associates are in alignment with distributive
leadership principles and are explicitly identified in GCU promotion documentation
as contributing evidence towards career progression through the learning and
teaching route.
578
L. Creanor
A relatively small amount of university funding has been made available for
projects undertaken by Caledonian Scholars (£2k over two years) and as an
additional incentive, workload remission of up to 5 h per week can be negotiated
with school senior management. The number of scholar projects accepted at each
call is normally limited to a maximum of seven or eight due to the level of funding
and support available. Successful Scholars are experienced staff who can evidence
an ability to provide leadership and influence peers in the area of learning and
teaching, and have a proven record of achievement in educational design,
educational technology or relevant strategy development.
Extending the original Australian Faculty Scholars model, a new role of
Caledonian Associate was also created in order to encourage less experienced staff,
including those with a student support role who perhaps lacked the confidence to
undertake an in-depth, two year action research project, but who nevertheless had
an interest in becoming more involved in scholarly activity. Caledonian Associates
do not receive funding, but they are entitled to negotiate workload remission of up
to 3 h per week and access ongoing support from the central team as well as the
wider community of Scholars and Associates.
Individuals or small teams of two or three colleagues working collaboratively
can apply for these roles. The projects undertaken normally use an action research
methodology and are linked to the distributive leadership principles of generating
engagement, shared responsibility and capacity building. To date (June 2012) there
have been 43 projects involving 47 scholars and 14 associates spread across all
discipline areas, focusing on topics such as assessment, employability, induction
and internationalisation. Reflecting the central role of technology in pedagogic
innovation, technology enhanced learning has featured in 70% of the projects
including re-usable learning objects in health, online induction in biology, virtual
worlds in cyberpsychology, blogs and wikis in media journalism and online communication in law. Indeed, it seems that by not insisting on a technology focus,
the growth of interest in innovation through technology appears to have been nurtured through the exchange of knowledge and experience both at regular meetings
and in an online community where information can be shared and blog updates
posted.
Evaluating the impact
Two reviews of the initiative have been carried out with the aim of evaluating the
relevance of the distributive leadership model and its impact on those involved. The
first was conducted in 2009 at the end of the first year of operation by an external
reviewer who had also evaluated the Australian Faculty Scholars network. In-depth
interviews focusing on the distributive leadership role were conducted with participants and elicited highly positive feedback, with obvious support for the opportunities presented by the initiative, e.g.
[We have] a huge amount of praise for the project. We’ve really appreciated all the
support … we’ve been encouraged to look for dissemination opportunities and to use
the networks to build capacity.
[the Scholar role] does get you noticed.
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
579
The report concluded that,
The Scholars and Associates Program has proved beneficial to participants in a variety
of ways in the initial phase. The Scholars were keen to talk about and reflect on their
experience, and many useful suggestions were offered for future Program activities.
Further value could be realized by harnessing the creative ideas of those involved.
Encouraging their leadership as co-creators of future iterations of the Program would
be a true reflection of the distributive leadership concept in action. (Gunn, 2010b,
p. 7)
The second evaluation was conducted internally the following year with data gathered from focus groups and discussions with a range of stakeholders. Again, the
findings confirmed that the distributive leadership model was seen as pertinent and
valuable. The involvement of external experts in the application reviewing process
was perceived to confer credibility and status to the initiative. The ‘two-tier’ system
of scholar and associate roles was considered useful as it gave less experienced staff
the opportunity to engage with evidence-based practice and action research at an
early stage in their careers.
Challenges were also acknowledged, including differences in the way Schools
engaged with the initiative, often influenced by the extent to which informal CPD
was encouraged and supported locally. Variation was also evident in the way
schools and departments addressed the recommendation for workload remission for
scholars and associates, which could be problematic depending on the local context
and priorities. It is recognised that these are aspects which merit attention in the
future development of the initiative.
Outcomes
Caledonian Scholars and Associates are required to submit interim and final reports
incorporating literature reviews, methodology and outcomes. Findings to date indicate that projects have generally been effective in enhancing the student experience,
and valuable recommendations to inform continuing research, scholarly activity and
improved practice within schools and departments have been proposed and implemented, confirming the effectiveness of distributive leadership. The scholarly profiles of the individuals concerned have been enhanced through 37 national and
international conference presentations and with 18 peer-reviewed journal publications achieved to date. Several scholars and associates have been successful in gaining additional small grant funding to extend their projects, both externally through
the HEA subject centres and internally through locally available funding streams.
A key aspect of the Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative is its explicit
alignment with career progression for academics through the learning and teaching
route. In the most recent (2011 and 2012) promotion rounds six scholars and associates were promoted from lecturer to senior lecturer and one to professor, suggesting
that the initiative is beginning to have an impact in this regard. An increasing
number of scholars and associates are either graduates of the PgC LTHE or current
students, demonstrating a clear alignment with progression through the CPD framework. In addition, at least four scholars are currently aligning their projects with
doctoral studies. A Caledonian scholar was the winner of the recently launched
(2011) Principals’ Award for Teaching, and received particular commendation for
580
L. Creanor
the creative use of a range of learning technologies, with others featuring strongly
in the student-led teaching awards.
Institutional acknowledgement is apparent in a variety of ways: the outcomes of
the initiative have been commended by senior university committees; it was highlighted as a case study in a recent Quality Assurance Agency institutional review
and Schools include the achievements of their scholars and associates in annual
reports, validation and subject review documentation. In addition, scholars and associates are actively influencing learning and teaching across the institution at both
practice and policy level through membership of strategic committees such as the
Blended Learning Implementation Group, and are demonstrating their leadership
skills through encouraging and mentoring less experienced colleagues. Overall,
there is growing evidence of the ‘upwards and sideways’ leadership identified by
Parrish and Lefoe (2007, p. 2) which is creating closer links between research,
scholarship and academic practice along with an enhanced university-wide recognition of their value.
Although further research is required, these early outcomes indicate that
advances are being made in shifting the institutional culture to greater acknowledgement and a more scholarly appraisal of pedagogic innovation. Literature
reviews, action research and increased awareness of current thinking in the field are
leading to thoughtful evidence-based approaches which benefit students and
teachers alike.
Future development
As the Caledonian Scholar and Associate Initiative approaches the end of its fourth
year of operation, consideration is being given to its future evolution. Crucially,
there is a need to create continuing opportunities for building capacity in scholarly
activity and distributive leadership beyond the completion of Scholar and Associate
projects to ensure sustainability (Gunn, 2010a). While evaluations show that the distributive leadership model is relevant and effective, it is also evident that given the
limited time available for scholars and associates to implement their projects during
the academic year, leadership activities often only become truly effective on completion of the action research projects. To encourage continuing engagement, a clear
pathway for the ongoing development is required which builds leadership capacity
in learning and teaching while simultaneously strengthening links with personal
career development through the learning and teaching route. This is also central to
alignment with the more advanced stages of the revised UKPSF.
The University has now approved a Senior Scholar role which will be launched
later this year, specifically aimed at those who have successfully completed their
Scholar projects or who have otherwise demonstrated leadership in advanced
learning and teaching activity. As recommended by the initial evaluator, this has
been shaped by input from current Scholars thus embodying the distributive
leadership concept. Criteria have been mapped to the University’s revised CPD
Framework, currently awaiting accreditation by the HEA, which ensures alignment
with HEA Senior and Principal Fellow status. The emphasis will be on strategic
developments which are creative, cross-disciplinary, action-focused, sustainable,
reflective of professional values and, of course, evidence-based. Senior Scholars
will have the opportunity to raise their profiles further by leading influential,
collaborative projects with university-wide impact.
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
581
Conclusion
Effecting transformational, cultural and attitudinal change takes time and sustained
effort (Garrison, 2011). The potential of the Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative to effect such change is only now becoming increasingly apparent. Over four
years, there has been a gradual shift from localised project outcomes to a wider
understanding and acceptance of the potential of the distributive leadership model
as a means of embedding and rewarding evidence-based practice across the institution. Scholarly activity and innovative practice, often embracing technology and
enhanced learning, have undoubtedly gained ground, underpinned by a growing evidence base and promoted by committed opinion leaders and change agents, many
of whom did not perceive themselves as such, at the outset of this CPD experience.
Although the initiative is facilitated centrally, ownership of the action research projects remains with the participants, their Departments and Schools, bearing out findings from previous transformational change projects that local ‘buy-in’ is an
essential factor in ensuring longer term sustainability (Mayes, Morrison, Mellar,
Bullen, & Oliver, 2009; Nicol, 2009). The effort expended by Caledonian scholars
and associates has been acknowledged by peers and university management, and in
several cases, rewarded through promotion, additional funding, student-led teaching
awards and an enhanced external profile.
The initiative has not been without challenges, primarily with regard to workload issues and internal structural changes. Nevertheless, the commitment of senior
management to support and expand the initiative is itself evidence of its success to
date, as is the fact that this remains a competitive process, providing a valuable
stepping stone in scholarly activity for less experienced staff and a means for the
experienced staff to raise their profile, enhance their own practice and that of others,
and improve their prospects for career advancement.
Only time will tell if the institutional and cultural change required for long term
sustainability has been achieved (Gunn, 2010a). Meanwhile, encouraging the active
involvement of staff at all levels within the institution as the living embodiment of
distributive leadership continues to raise the profile of, and foster an ongoing commitment to, scholarly and innovative pedagogic practice.
Acknowledgements
I would like to acknowledge the major contribution of my colleague Alison Nimmo, Senior
Lecturer in GCU LEAD, to the development of the Caledonian scholars and associates
initiative. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ascilite conference, Hobart,
Tasmania, 4–7 December 2011.
Notes
1. http://www.hefce.ac.uk/learning/tinits/cetl/
2. http://www.sfc.ac.uk/effective_institutions/eLearning/elearning_transformational_change.
aspx
Notes on contributor
Linda Creanor is a professor of Learning Technology in GCU LEAD (Centre for Learning
Enhancement and Academic Development) at Glasgow Caledonian University in the UK.
Her responsibilities include the strategic implementation of Blended Learning and the
Caledonian Scholars and Associates initiative which aims to enhance scholarship in learning
and teaching through a distributive leadership model of professional development. Her
582
L. Creanor
research interests span networked learning, the learner experience of learning technology and
professional development. She is a member of the association for learning technology
(ALT), having previously served as trustee, vice-chair, chair and president. She is also a
fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK and a member of the Heads of ELearning Forum.
References
Anderson, I., Bullen, P., Alltree, J., & Thornton, H. (2008). CABLE: An approach to embedding blended learning in the curricula and across the institution. Reflecting Education, 4,
30–41.
Bates, A. W., & Sangra, A. (2003). Managing technology in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bennett, S., & Oliver, M. (2011). Talking back to theory: The missed opportunities in learning technology research. Research in Learning Technology, 19, 179–189.
Bennett, N., Wise, C., Woods, P., & Harvey, J. A. (2003). Distributed leadership: A review
of the literature. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from the OU Research Repository http://oro.
open.ac.uk/8534/1/bennett-distributed-leadership-full.pdf
Biesta, G. (2007). Why “what works” won’t work: Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, 57, 1–22.
Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ:
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of University teaching.
Conole, G., White, S., & Oliver, M. (2007). The Impact of E-learning on organisational roles
& structures. In G. Conole & M. Oliver (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives in E-learning
research: Themes, methods and impact on practice (pp. 69–81). Oxon: Routledge.
Creanor, L., & Walker, S. (2012). Interpreting complexity: A case for the sociotechnical
interaction framework as an analytical lens for networked learning research. In L. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, V. Hodgson, & D. McConnell (Eds.), Exploring the theory, pedagogy
and practice of networked learning (pp. 173–187). New York: Springer.
Findlow, S. (2008). Accountability and innovation in higher education: A disabling tension?
Studies in Higher Education, 33, 313–329.
Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-Learning in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge.
Glenaffric Ltd. (2008). Formative evaluation of the e-Learning transformation programme:
Final Report. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from SFC website: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/
files/our_priorities_skills/elearning_elt_formative_evaluation_report.pdf
Gunn, C. (2010a). Sustainability factors for e-learning initiatives. Research in Learning Technology, 18, 89–102.
Gunn, C. (2010b). Caledonian academy scholars and associates: Feedback from participants. Unpublished GCU Internal Report, available on request from Glasgow Caledonian
University.
Higher Education Academy. (2011). UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching
and Supporting Learning in Higher Education. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from the
HEA website: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf
Hockings, C. (2005). Removing the barriers? A study of the conditions affecting teaching
innovation. Teaching in Higher Education, 10, 313–326.
Jenkins, A. (2009). Research-teaching linkages: Enhancing graduate attributes. Retrieved
March 14, 2013, from the QAA website: http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/resources/
publications/research-teaching-linkages
Keppell, M., O’Dwyer, C., Lyon, B., & Childs, M. (2010). Transforming distance education
curricula through distributive leadership. Research in Learning Technology, 18, 165–178.
Knight, P. T., & Trowler, P. R. (2001). Departmental leadership in higher education. Buckingham: SRHE & Open University Press.
Lefoe, G. (2010). Creating the future: Changing culture through leadership capacity development. In U. D. Ehlers & D. Schneckenberg (Eds.), Changing cultures in higher education, Part 1 (pp. 189–204). Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Lefoe, G. E., Smigiel, H., & Parrish, D. (2007) Enhancing higher education through leadership capacity development: Progressing the faculty scholars model. Retrieved March 14,
2013, from University of Wollongong website: http://ro.uow.edu.au/asdpapers/56
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
583
Mayes, J. T., Morrison, D., Mellar, H., Bullen, P., & Oliver, M. (Eds.). (2009), Transforming
higher education through technology enhanced learning. Retrieved March 14, 2013,
from the HEA website: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/learningandtech/
transforming_he_through_technology_enhanced_learning
Mills, G. E. (2000). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Nicol, D. (2009). Transforming assessment and feedback: Enhancing integration and
empowerment, Retrieved March 14, 2013, from QAA website: http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/publications/transforming-assessment-and-feedback.pdf
Parrish, D., & Lefoe, G. (2008). The green report: The development of leadership capacity
in higher education. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from the Australian Government Office
for Learning and Teaching website: http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-green-report-uow2008
Prosser, M. (2008). The scholarship of teaching and learning: What is it? A personal view.
International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2, 1–4. Retrieved
March 14, 2013, from http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/v2n2/invited_essays/
_Prosser/index.htm
Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2001). Handbook of action research: Participative
inquiry and practice. London: Sage.
Saunders, M., Machell, J., Williams, S., Allaway, D., Spencer, A., Ashwin, P., … McKee,
A. (2008). Centres of excellence in teaching and learning programme 2005–2010: Formative evaluation report to HEFCE, by the Centre for Study in Education and Training/
Institution of Educational Technology, Lancaster University. Retrieved March 14, 2013,
from the HEFCE website: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/year/2008/05-10cetlevaln/
Smith, K. (2011). Cultivating innovative learning and teaching cultures: A question of garden design. Teaching in Higher Education, 16, 427–438.
Vardi, I., & Quin, R. (2011). Promotion and the Scholarship of teaching and learning.
Higher Education Research and Development, 30, 39–49.
VLL (2010). Visual learning lab CETL: Final report to higher education funding council for
England. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from University of Nottingham website: http://
www.nottingham.ac.uk/visuallearninglab/documents/65828vllcetlfinalselfevaluation.pdf
Watson, D. M. (2001). Pedagogy before technology: Re-thinking the relationship between
ICT and teaching. Education and Information Technologies, 6, 251–266.
Copyright of Innovations in Education & Teaching International is the property of Routledge
and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without
the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or
email articles for individual use.
Chapter 7- Reflective writing 97
7
REFLECTIVE WRITING
CONTENTS
•
Reflective practice

•
Students and early career professionals tend to be much better at the second type of
reflection because it allows them time to think back in a methodical way on particular
events and activities. The first type requires a great deal of experience and depth of
knowledge, and is much more common among highly experienced professionals often leaders in their fields – who can think critically and creatively, applying lessons
they have learned in the past to current situations. One way you can begin to develop
good reflection-in-action skills is to talk aloud as you are doing an activity. Speak
every action or thought while you are experiencing it, whether you have an audience
or not.
Two types of reflective practice
Benefits of reflective practice
Benefits of reflective practice
Reflective practice and learning styles
Donald Schon was a philosopher, and became Professor of Urban Studies and
Education at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s, 1980s
and 1990s. So it is not surprising that reflective thinking was initially most popular in
education, planning and architecture. Now almost all professions have come to value
reflective practice because they believe it:
improves the creative-, critical- and lateral-thinking skills (and therefore the
quality of work) of individual members of their professions
leads to improvement in the professions in general, by encouraging individuals
to challenge current thinking, to innovate and to look for alternative solutions to
long-held disciplinary problems.
Reflective writing
Reflective writing assignments

reflection-on-action, which you do after you’ve completed the process and are
able to think back on it- you’re thinking retrospectively (Schon 1983).
The language of reflective writing
Reflective practice
Before looking at reflective writing, we need to put it in the context of reflective
practice. Reflective practice is the habit of going beyond doing something to focus
on thinking about how you did it, how well you did it and whether it was successful.
That is, you focus on the experience and process of your activities, rather than on just
the result. You act as if you have become an external observer of, and commentator on,
your own actions. You might ask yourself questions like:
Why did X happen?
Why did it happen that way?
How did I feel about this?
By asking questions like these – engaging in reflective practice – you are developing
the skills, attitudes and mindsets necessary to be a better student and professional in
your discipline.
Two types of reflective practice
Dr Donald Schon, one of the leading early figures in reflective practice, describes two
types of reflective practice:
reflection-in-action, which you do while you are involved in a process- you’re
thinking ‘on your feet’
Reflective practice and learning styles
Not everyone finds reflective practice easy. Some people find it easy to describe what
happened in a procedure, but difficult to describe what they did to make this happen.
The next step – reflecting on why things happened as they did – can be even more
difficult.
To understand why some people find reflection difficult while others don’t, let’s
think about the different ways people learn. Much research has been devoted to
defining people’s learning styles, including the work of David Kolb ( 1984). Here is one
useful classification based on his work:
Convergent learners are competent at solving problems and making decisions.
They prefer to learn through applying abstract concepts in practical situations.
Divergent learners are imaginative and can see things from various perspectives.
They like to reflect on their experiences as they learn, and they consider the
feelings of others more easily than convergent learners. They learn through
reflecting on their actual experiences.
98 Section 3 -Academic writing
Assimilators enjoy contemplating abstract concepts and are good at reading
notes and instructions. They are very capable at inductive reasoning and at
creating theoriej from reflecting on their observations.
Accommodators are ‘doers’. They learn primarily from getting involved in
experiences and experimenting.
None of us learns in only one way, but we all can probably place ourselves more in one
category than in another. For example, researchers have discovered that students who
choose to study engineering are more likely to be convergent learners.
Another way of describing these learning types is to say that some people (the ones
labelled earlier as convergent learners) like to ask and answer the ‘what?’ and ‘how?’
questions, whereas others (the divergent learners) prefer to contemplate the ‘why?’ and
‘what if?’ questions. The ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ learners usually find it more difficult to be
reflective than the ‘why?’ and ‘what if?’ learners. However, because reflective practice is
a skill that is highly valued in all university graduates, all students need to develop it.
Another reason why it can be difficult to think reflectively is that often you will
find it hardest to talk or write about those things you are really good at. You will find
this difficult because you just know what you are doing. To deal with this, you need to
pretend you are ‘outside of yourself’ and observe what you are doing so you can then tell
others about it. That is why we often say that we never really learn something properly
until we have to teach it to someone else. This is what you are doing when you write
reflectively- you are telling yourself (and others) about your learning experience.
Reflective writing
The best way to learn to be a reflective practitioner is to write reflectively. By articulating
your thoughts and ideas on paper, you are forced to clarify and refine them more than
if you were just to think about them. In fact, you will sometimes find that you write
something that you haven’t previously realised that you knew! Many professionals
keep a reflective journal for their own purposes, even those who don’t need to write
formally on a regular basis in their professions.
In your university studies, reflective writing is particularly important:
It pushes you to reflect in depth on your learning.
Your lecturers can see how your understandings are developing, and guide them
in appropriate ways.
You can share it with your peers, and so develop a community of learners.
It encourages you to become a lifelong learner, which is highly valued in our
society.
It allows you to record your thinking, so that you can look back on it later and
notice where your ideas originated and how you have changed.
Chapter 7 – Reflective writing
99
FLECTIVE WRITING MAKES YOU A BETTER WRITER
reflective writing has a valuable by-product- it makes you a better writer by
your writing muscles. We discuss this in some detail on page 84.
Reflective writing assignments
In developing your reflective writing skills, lecturers try to find a balance between
giving you guidance and leaving you to take charge of the direction of your own
thinking. The goal is that you will become a critical and creative thinker.
To understand the different ways lecturers can organise reflective writing
assignments, think of them as placed on a scale:
At the far left of the scale, lecturers simply ask you to ‘write a reflection’ on a given
activity or experience, without suggesting a structure.
In the centre of the scale, they give you some guiding questions or areas to
discuss, without requiring you to deal with them all, or to deal with them in a
particular order.
At the far right of the scale, lecturers give you guiding questions or topics that you
must answer within your reflection.
The amount of guidance lecturers give you will depend on your level of study (firstyear students are likely to be given the most guidance), the type of course you’re
studying, your lecturers’ perceptions of the ways you learn best and their own personal
preferences.
Unstructured reflective writing
Unstructured reflective writing is just as the name suggests -the writing you do
when your lecturer does not give you guiding questions, but leaves you to write in any
way you want in response to a situation, instructing you only to write a reflection or
keep a journal. Unstructured writing belongs on the far left of the scale we mentioned
above.
Learning to learn
Lecturers often ask you to write a piece of unstructured reflective writing to help you
to articulate what you have learned about yourself as a learner. Research shows that
this act of articulation helps all learners to understand themselves and how they learn
best. Lecturers want you to ask yourself questions like:
What did I learn about how to learn?
Which learning strategies and processes worked best for me?
What did I find most difficult to learn and why?
How would I do things differently next time in order to learn more efficiently?
100 Section 3- Academic writing
Chapter 7- Reflective writing 101
Articulating your understandings
Lecturers can also use unstructured reflective writing exercises to help you to articulate
the understanding~> you have developed in a particular activity. You could ask
questions like:
Why did X happen?
What did I do to make it happen that way?
What were my underlying beliefs and mind sets that made me do it that way?
In what ways were the results positive or negative, and why?
What could I have thought or done differently, and what might have been the
results?
What did I learn about X from this activity?
How have my understandings of the subject developed or changed?
How do my new understandings fit with what I understood before about my
discipline?
How do my new understandings better equip me to work in my discipline?
help me immensely and, as I intend to be involved in some sort of writing for
the rest of my life, I am sure that neither of these goals will be hard to achieve.
You would have noticed that Morrison is able to think about her writing over a
whole semester in this reflection – she remembers her aims at the beginning of the
semester and realises how her skills have developed. But she’s also able to think to the
future too, realising that she can continue to improve and thinking about the reading
and writing habits she wants to establish for her entire life.
Here is an example of a piece of unstructured reflective writing from a matureaged student of education who is reflecting on her approaches to teaching- and to life
in general. Notice her informal language use. Look at her punctuation, abbreviations
and invented words. (We have presented it here exactly as she wrote it in her journal
entry.)
In unstructured reflective writing exercises, lecturers are willing for you to ask yourself
any of these questions (or any similar ones) -the sorts of questions that arose in your
mind as you completed the activity or reflected back on it.
Here is an example of a piece of unstructured reflective writing from Jade Morrison,
a student of professional writing. She is reflecting on what she has learnt from a unit
that aims to help students to refine their writing.
It’s a bit like the arguments Shaun (my accountant husband) & I have
whenever we’re working on a project … he wants to start with a budget
& I want to start with a vision.
At the beginning of the semester, I decided that the main thing that I wanted to
change in my writing, seeing that I am writing essays at a university level, was
to write in a more academic style. I have learnt that what I really need to do to
accomplish this goal is to allow myself enough time, after I have put down my
ideas on paper, to reword and restructure sentences. This extra bit of effort,
completing any essay I am assigned a couple of days before the due date and
rewriting a lot of it, helps me to achieve that professional finish I have found
myselflacking at times.
Although I already know this intellectually, experientially I am grappling
with it & finding it more difficult. The thing I am worried about is losing
some of the passion & interest because I’ve had to select & fit content
into neat little outcomes boxes.
I have done more reading this semester in the field I am studying, which helps
me out with things such as different words to use in different situations, and has
also exposed me to a variety of styles of writing and sentence and paragraph
structures.
Another thing I have learnt this semester is that you will always continue learning
and improving. There are still a few things I need to improve on: my academic
writing could still do with a bit of work, although it is much improved. I think
that if I continue to write regularly and read a wide range of materials, this will
Becoming a teacher … it’s really a step away from personal engagement
with the subject -+ to what may benefit my students as a whole &&
wholistically.
I know that the curriculum does provide lots of room to move & doesn’t
prescribe content specifically … but there’s something about the way
it’s written … so boxy and orderly so venn diagrammish … ‘real life’ is
never like that.
Structured reflective writing
When lecturers want you to focus on specific aspects of your learning experience, they
will specify the areas they want you to discuss, which are likely to be similar to the ones
listed for unstructured reflective writing. This is structured reflective writing, and
belongs on the far right of the scale we mentioned earlier.
102 Section 3- Academic writing
Ashley Hunt, a first year engineering student at Curtin University, submitted the
following piece of structured reflective writing (Figure 7.1). The guidelines he was
given for the asignment are printed first.
Chapter 7 – Reflective writing 103
Engineering Generic Graduate Attributes
‘Apply independent study and time management skills that will enhance learning
capabilities in subsequent years of study and, later, in professional life.’ (Curtin
Engineering Attainment Chart,
Instructions
1. Include the following information in your reflection:
– the name of the unit you are reflecting on

a brief summary of the unit, including a description of the work samples
a few sentences reflecting on the ‘best’ and ‘most disappointing’ work samples
you have included in your learning portfolio.
2. Explain how, through your engagement in this unit, you were able to demonstrate
one of the attributes on the list of the Curtin Engineering Generic Graduate
Attributes. Also comment on the extent to which you were able to achieve that
attribute.
3. Discuss how you could have improved your effort in this unit. What were your
strengths in this unit?
4. Explain what you would do differently if you had the opportunity to repeat this unit.
As you write, be specific and use terminology relevant to this unit.
———————————————————————————————————–Structured reflective writing assignment
Unit overview
The Electrical Systems 100 unit provided me with the knowledge of basic electrical
engineering principles. By relating theoretical and practical activities in the fortnightly
laboratory sessions, I was able to grasp the concepts of the various electrical
components commonly used by engineers. These include resistors, inductors, capacitors,
three-phase induction motors, and generators. I was also able to distinguish between
alternating current and direct current, and understand the various applications of each.
The weekly tutorials gave me the opportunity to consolidate my theoretical component
of the course, with set questions to be completed each week.
Work samples
Best
I have included the first assignment as the best work sample for this unit. This
assignment required me to determine the values of various components in a circuit. The
use of techniques such as mesh analysis, Thevenin’s theorem, and reduce and expand
allowed me to solve for these values using simple mathematics.
#6)
During the mid-semester exam, it became apparent that I had not dedicated enough
time to study for this unit and to really grasp the concepts presented. Whilst the
problems in the exam appeared familiar, I was unsure as to how to solve them.
Immediately after the exam, I knew that I was not going to achieve a good score. This
prompted me to seriously re-evaluate my personal priorities and time management to
effectively handle university study, work commitments and social activities. As a result, I
feel as though I was able to achieve consistently high grades throughout the remainder
of the unit, and the remainder of the year for all other units. Hopefully my ability to
critically self-evaluate and reflect on work will continue to hold me in good stead for the
duration of my engineering course and future professional ambitions.
Critical reflection
On the whole, I was content with my effort in this unit. The one thing that I would
change, if I had the opportunity to repeat this unit, would be my approach to studying
for the mid-semester exam. I think it would have been beneficial to have answered the
tutorial questions, or similar questions from the text book, many times. I have found that
this method of study is best for me, as it requires me to apply a particular concept to a
number of different scenarios. By realising where and when to apply a particular concept,
and practising it through many examples, I feel that there can be no ‘surprises’ in any
exam.
Figure 7.1 Sample of structured reflective writing
The language of reflective writing
First person
Use the first person (I, me, my and so on) to help you focus on your reflection. Even
if your lecturers require you to write in the third person in your other university
assignments, you will need to write in the first person in your reflective writing.
Most disappointing
Informal register
I consider the mid-semester exam my most disappointing performance for the unit, and
perhaps the year. This exam was conducted after receiving the first assignment, with
the content of the exam very similar to that of the assignment. However, I credit my
poor performance in the exam to the fact that the assignment was completed with the
assistance of reference material, while the exam was closed-book.
Because reflective writing is your conversation with yourself, you should adopt a
relatively informal register. Of course, the degree of informality will depend on your
personality because some of you speak more casually than others in everyday situations,
but you should keep away from the extremely formal end of the language scale (see
page 188). In writing as if you were talking to yourself, you will be more likely to reach
realisations about your learning. Notice, for example, in Jade Morrison’s reflection on
1 04
Section 3 -Academic writing
page 100 that she uses phrases like ‘this extra bit of effort’ and ‘which helps me out’
and ‘my academic writing could still do with a bit of work’- all phrases she would be
unlikely to use in academic writing. However, some of her sentences are more complex
in structure t~an you would find in other students’ reflections, as she has a strong
interest in writing and likes to experiment with language. It is fine to write reflections
in simpler, shorter sentences than Morrison has – choose the sentence structure that
feels comfortable to you, so that structuring your sentences doesn’t ‘get in the way of’
your reflection.
Complete sentences
On the other hand, most reflective writing is not note-making. Unless your lecturer has
allowed you to write in note form, you must write in full sentences and in continuous
prose. Don’t use dot points or lists. Your aim is to develop your thinking, and complete
sentences in well-developed paragraphs will help you do this.
Clear, concise language
In Chapter 11 (see page 175ff) we will discuss the importance of clear, concise language
in more detail, and offer you some tips for making your language clearer. When you
write reflectively, clear language will help you develop your thinking, while overly
complex language will encourage ‘muddy’ ideas. Because there is a circular connection
between language and ideas, it is also true that overly complex language results from
muddy thinking, so if you find your language becoming too complex, think carefully
about your ideas- clarify them for yourself, and you will find your language becoming
clearer and more concise.
Description
Though we have said that reflection is about more than description, description is still
the first step in the reflective writing process – you must first describe the situation
succinctly before you begin to reflect on it. The description is not a reflection; it is
simply a description. However, you can combine your reflective comments on the
experience as you write the description. Notice how Dominic Dique, a first-year
engineering student at Curtin University, has achieved this in this excerpt from a
structured reflection:
An essential part of achieving satisfactory marks in ES 100 is the ability to
undertake problem identification, formulation and solution by using various
electrical techniques. The assignments demonstrated I was able to identify
problems in questions and solve them using formulae from various solution
techniques. These approaches include mesh and nodal analysis, current and
voltage divider rule and superposition.
Chapter 7 – Reflective writing 1 05
The laboratory workshops require students to function effectively as an
individual but also in a multicultural team. I felt by doing these laboratories
I developed an ability to be a team leader as well as being an effective team
member.
The language of your discipline
When writing a reflection on your studies, be specific. Avoid making generalis~d .va~ue
comments or responses. Use examples and evidence, in the language of your disciplme,
to illustrate each point that you make. Andrew Ivers, a first-year st~dent, h~s used t~e
language of the discipline, maths, in the following excerpt from his reflectiOn on his
learning experience:
To improve in this unit it would be necessary to allocate more time to
going through the theory in the text book and then try some practice
questions to ensure that I can apply the mathematical theories such as
integration, differentiation and function theory. Overall, this would
enhance my depth of understanding and my ability to solve problems
faster and more accurately. Due to my unfamiliarity with the Maple
package I am not confident in using it and do not enjoy it. To improve
my confidence and familiarity with Maple I should try to allocate s~all
amounts of time to practise some foundational skills on it. Over trme
this will make me more familiar with its use, and help me to understand
when I should use it and how to use it for the maximum benefit.
For instance I could use it for calculating problems that I properly
understand the theory for. This increases the time I have for more
difficult problems.
If I was able to repeat this unit, my primary focus would be attempting
difficult problems from the text book more frequently in order to hone
my understanding of mathematics and problem-solving skills. The next
objective that I would set for myself would be to memorise many of the
formulas that are extensively used and/or the ones that are not on the
cheat sheet. Nevertheless I can always start some of these new practices
so that I am better prepared for the exam in late June.
You will have seen, again, in this excerpt that reflective writing is often a means of
becoming clearer about the way you learn. When you articulate your ide.as about how
you learn, you clarify those ideas for yourself, which then allows you to Improve your
learning strategies and processes.
Chapter 7- Reflective writing
106 Section 3- Academic writing
ACTIVITY
7.1:
SEMISTRUCTURED
REFLECTIVE WRITING
We can learn about ourselves when unexpected things happen. ‘Surprises’ (as discussed
by Schon 1983) in our lives can teach us much – if we reflect on them.
As an individual or with another student
Think about something that happened over the past few days or weeks that did not
go according to your expectations. Perhaps it was an experiment that failed or a
project meeting with your classmates that left you feeling frustrated. Write a short
reflection considering the following issues and questions:
1. Write a brief description of the event, with a comment about how you remember
feeling at that time.
2. What could you have done differently given the same situation happening again?
3. Describe one or two things that you learnt from the experience.
4. Make a judgement about whether it was a positive or negative learning experience
for you (and, if negative, how you might gain positives from it).
ACTIVITY
7.2:
107
REFLECTION-ON-ACTION
In a class or a group
Take part in a class team-building activity/game set up by your tutor and then
articulate to the class what happened using the following questions and instructions.
If you want to develop your writing skills, write answers to the questions.
1. Provide a brief outline of your role and contribution to the team activity.
2. Describe the process your team went through when making decisions.
3. How did your team resolve any conflict or differences of opinion?
4. Which outcome/son the unit outline were relevant to this exercise?
5. How did you and your group demonstrate the outcome/s?
6. If you were to do a similar activity again, what would you do differently?
7. What was the main thing you learnt from participating in this activity?
In options 1 and 2 below, you will be working in a group while the rest of the class
watches you and notices your reflective practice. You will then be able to watch other
groups as they complete the activity. You will all give each other feedback on what you
notice- you will be reflecting on the reflective practice. If you are reading this book as an
individual student, select an appropriate activity that you can do alone, and speak your
reflection to a friend.
Option 1
Complete an activity similar to Activity 7.2, verbalising everything you are thinking.
The key is that you must speak all your ideas. Try to describe what you are doing as
you do it, and articulate what you are thinking about. Sometimes you might even
reflect on what you are not doing, and why. Even if your group is not doing anything
at a particular moment, you must continue to articulate your reflection on what you
are doing and not doing.
Option2
Form groups of 7 students, with each group member adopting one of De Bono’s
Thinking Hats. (Your tutor will provide you with information about these.) Conduct
the same activity as in Option 1 trying to shape your actions and reflections to suit
the hat you are wearing.
References
Kolb, DA 1984, Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development,
Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Schon, DA 1983, The reflective practitioner, Basic Books, New York.
Schon, DA 1987, Educating the reflective practitioner: toward a new design for teaching and
learning in the professions, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
1
[Title Here, up to 12 Words, on One to Two Lines]
An individual can be a charismatic visionary, but it does not equal to being a
transformational leader. A transformational leader not only open new path through
innovation. Transformational leadership involves the increasing and elevating the
interest of their employees, through the generation of awareness and acceptance of the
mission of the group, while encouraging the employees to go beyond their self-interest
to favor the good of the group (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004). The transformational
leader keeps their focus on the development of the organization, guiding with their
behavior, a group of followers, who will commit to the achievement of the organizational
objectives; at the same time, a transformational leader can shift their focus from the
organization to the followers, turning themselves into a servant leader. (Stone, Russell,
& Patterson, 2004).
Besides the innovation and creativity, transformational leaders also guide their followers
through the ethical decisions they have to make during their work. Leadership has three
aspects regarding morality: the level of conscience, the degree of freedom, and the
intention (Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999). The leader will consider the consequences and
the intention of the acts before suggesting a behavior. The transformational leader not
only will guide the followers to transform the organization, but to turn themselves in a
better version regarding their performance and their moral options. However, not
everybody is cut to be a great leader, because leaders need great followers too. The
relationship between a leader and their followers influences the behavior and
development of both parts. Great leaders have a positive effect on their followers, which
is supported by a positive feedback on their leaders. Transformational leadership
positively associates with organizational innovation and employee’s creativity
2
(Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Followers’ intrinsic motivation, psychological
empowerment, and perception of support for innovation mediate the effect of the leader
on their followers (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Working for a great leader gives a great
impulse to the followers’ career. When somebody works for a transformational leader,
they will develop their creativity and adopt innovations that will further transform the
organization in the future and support the professional and personal growth of the
followers. After working for a transformational leader, the employee changes, increases
their motivation and perform beyond the expectations.
I worked for a great leader, who inspired me to follow him. However, while I wish to
emulate his creativity and innovation. He carried on his shoulders the responsibility of
two firms, a beauty shop and a cosmetics line. He was a fearless entrepreneur, who
thought that innovation was the key to dominate the market. The beauty shop used
innovation in its marketing campaigns, starting several trends that proved highly
effective in the next years. On the other side, the cosmetics line used innovation to
create products that separate themselves from the rest of the market. As a leader, he
supported the marketing department of the beauty shop while giving extra funds to the
R&D department of the cosmetic line. However, the most critical characteristic was that
all the firm was invested in the development of the marketing strategy and the creation
of new products. The intrinsic motivation helped to develop the creativity even in those
employees that were high on conservation, valuing conformity, security, and tradition
(Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009).
3
How transformational leadership works
Transformational leaders transform the personal values of followers to support
the vision and goals of the organization by fostering an environment where
relationships can be formed and by establishing a climate of trust in which visions
can be shared (Bass, 1985a). Avolio et al. (1991) established four primary
behaviors that constitute transformational leadership: (1) Idealized influence (or
charismatic influence). (2) Inspirational motivation. (3) Intellectual stimulation. (4)
Individualized consideration (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004).
The interest in leadership and its styles only started to grow during the last decades of
the 20th century. The evolution of the field kickstarted the differentiation between
leadership theories and management theories. However, management courses involve
the teaching of leadership theories and techniques, aiming to form a new generation of
managers that will be leaders able to transform the organizations in the future,
empowering their followers, and motivating innovation and creativity (Conger, 1999).
According to Conger (1999), the progress of the transformation of the organization can
be examined through five different dimensions: the behavior of the leader and its
effects, the disposition of the followers and their dependency on the dynamics, factors
depending on the context, factors depending on institutionalization and succession
forces, and the liabilities of charismatic and transformational leaders.
Another characteristic of transformational leadership is the adaptation of the emotional
leadership style to emotional needs of the organization. Besides, the leader’s emotional
state also has a profound impact on the emotional state of the organization. A leader
can be a visionary, a coach, an affiliative, a democratic, a pacesetting, or a
4
commanding leader (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.). A visionary leader inspires the
change in the organization. A coaching leader helps to connect the goals and values of
the employees to those of the organization. The affiliative leadership style promotes
harmony within the team, which is useful in case of conflicts among the team members.
A democratic leader uses the input from the followers to make them get on board with
new ideas. The pacesetting leadership style focuses on performance and achieving
goals, which is recommended when the team must produce quality work in a short
period. Finally, the commanding style depends on orders and demands, and it is best
used in crises to jump-start fast-paced change and with problem team members. Each
of those emotional styles is only recommended under particular situations. A leader who
wants to inspire the organization must avoid being commanding because it will generate
the wrong emotion in the followers (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.).
Research evidence demonstrated that transformational leaders have a higher influence
on their followers, leading to higher levels of satisfaction and performance. It is the
result of the positive expectation the leader has for their followers. The leader thinks that
the group can do their best, and the group outperforms due to the focus and care about
followers and their development while tending to their needs (Riggio, n.d.). According to
Bernard Bass the characteristics of a transformational leader are:
•
Is a model of integrity and fairness.
•
Sets clear goals.
•
Has high expectations.
•
Encourages others.
•
Provides support and recognition.
5
•
Stirs the emotions of people.
•
Gets people to look beyond their self-interest.
•
Inspires people to reach for the improbable. (Mindtools Content Team,
n.d.)
Knowing who I am today will help me to reach my goals and build my future leadership
style. While I want to be able to transform my team and organization, I need to grow
still, which can change some of my traits. The ultimate goal is to achieve balance. I
consider that a transformational leader has the best qualities of the rest of leadership
styles. A transformational leader, for example is democratic, because they take into
account the ideas, concerns, and information their followers provided (Manktelow, n.d.).
Different organizations providing community services, such as youth and family services
can benefit from a transformational leadership. Mental health services can improve their
outcomes if a transformational leader is in a supervisory position, which would lead to
the implementation of evidence-based practices (Aarons, 2006).
Transformational leadership become the norm during the last years, taking the place of
other traditional models and management theories, which mostly represented the side
of downsizing of the companies’ development during recessions. Other motivational
approaches, such as transactional leadership became derogatory, while
transformational was the cure to all organizational ailments. Transformation is included
in the leadership concept, while transactions are part of the selfish calculating manager,
incapable of empowering their followers (Conger, 1999). However, transformational and
charismatic are concepts that include the perception of values in the business world.
While a charismatic leader is often perceived as an esoteric, untouchable leader, whose
6
words must be followed to the t, a transformational leader has positive connotations
associated to human development and organizational adaptation. In sum, a
transformational leader will empower their followers through idealized influence,
inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Conger, 1999). The
transformational leader inspires loyalty and trust in their followers, generating great
expectations that people are eager to achieve. The steps of a transformational leader
are creating a vision of the future, motivate their followers to invest in their vision,
manage the delivery of the vision, and build stronger trust-based relationships with their
followers (Mindtools Content Team, n.d.). While a transactional leader will generate
positive results using rewards, a transformational leader will have positive results by
inspiring their followers instead of increasing their self-interest and responding to the
ethical vision of the company created by the transformational leader (Bass &
Steidlmeier, 1999).
7
References
Aarons, G. A. (2006). Transformational and Transactional Leadership: Association With Attitudes Toward
Evidence-Based Practice. Psychiatric Services, 57(8), 1162-1169. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1876730
Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership
behavior. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181-217. Retrieved 4 7, 2021, from
https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1048984399000168
Conger, J. A. (1999). Charismatic and transformational leadership in organizations: An insider’s
perspective on these developing streams of research. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 145-179. Retrieved 4
7, 2021, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1048984399000120
Gumusluoglu, L., & Ilsev, A. (2009). Transformational Leadership, Creativity, and Organizational
Innovation. Journal of Business Research, 62(4), 461-473. Retrieved 4 7, 2021, from
https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0148296308000325
Leithwood, K. (1992). The Move toward Transformational Leadership. Educational Leadership, 49(5), 812. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from http://ascd.org/ascd/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199202_leithwood.pdf
Manktelow, J. (n.d.). Leadership Styles. Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm
Mindtools Content Team. (n.d.). Six emotional leadership styles. Retrieved from Mindtools.com:
https://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/emotional-leadership.php
Mindtools Content Team. (n.d.). Transformational Leadership. Retrieved from Mindtools.com:
https://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/transformational-leadership.php
Riggio, R. E. (n.d.). Are You a Transformational Leader? Retrieved 4 4, 2021, from
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/200903/are-you-transformationalleader
Stone, A. G., Russell, R. F., & Patterson, K. (2004). Transformational versus servant leadership: a
difference in leader focus. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(4), 349-361. Retrieved 4
4, 2021, from https://emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/01437730410538671/full/html

Purchase answer to see full
attachment

  
error: Content is protected !!