What is that value of the learning event, issue, or situation that has occurred?What is your new understanding of the learning event, issue, or situation?

This assignment requires you to write a reflective journal consisting of four (4) learning events. The purpose of the journal is to show your developing understanding of leadership concepts and theories as they relate to the set text, recommended texts, lectures, guest lectures and stream readings. a) Two learning events must relate to leadership concepts discussed in Ladkin (2010). I suggest you focus on certain chapters that either resonate with, or are at odds with, your own reflections and practical experiences of leadership. Ladkin?s book is philosophical and it is aimed at people like us who are grappling with what it means to enact leadership today. Therefore it requires us to approach it with openness becoming engaged critically with the essential ideas she discusses. This will require you to read beyond the text so that you more fully understand the ideas within it. Ladkin offers references that enable you to read more widely. b) One learning event should relate to leadership concepts discussed in an academic journal article referred to in class. c) One learning event must relate specifically to ethics and how it relates to leadership. The ethics component of this assignment is worth 10% of the final grade for this paper. This is because business graduates should be able to identify and evaluate ethical dilemmas and provide reasoned alternatives for their resolution. d) Please include a short introduction and provide a succinct conclusion that reiterates the key learning points from your journal. Each entry will be approximately 750-800 words. Your journal will be marked on the rigour of your critique, the elegance of your writing and the depth of your personal responses. Use APA 6th edition for your references. See the paper written by Kathryn Pavlovich, Eva Collins, and Glyndwr Jones from the University of Waikato for a description of the value of using reflective practice in academic study. Pavlovich, K., Collins, E., & Jones, G. (2007). Developing students? skills in reflective practice: Design and assessment. Journal of Management Education, 33 (1), 37-58. Words: 3,500 Due Date: Thursday October 28. Additional files about this Reflective Journal: Concepts Summary.pdf Journal writing workshop.pdf Leaders from the past – journal starter.pdf Martin Hampton Reflective Writing Guide 2010.pdf Mindfulness notes.pdf Pavlovich Collins Jones 2009.pdf Reflective Journal Examples.pdf Ripamonit Galuppo Gorli Scaratti Cunliffe 2015.pdf Taylor Rudolph Foldy 2007.pdf

School of Management
Leadership and Governance
Keith Grint…
Professor Keith Grint argues that leadership is
socially constructed and can be understood
through different lenses.
? The person
? The results
? The position
? The process
? Grint is most likely to be cited in assignment one
and three (hint!).
Four lenses…
Grint?s four arts of leadership
Leadership is critically concerned with establishing
and coordinating the relationships between five
things: who, what, where, how and the why:
? Who are you? ? An identity
? What does the organisation want to achieve ? A
strategic vision
? Where is the action ? Structure and hierarchy.
? How will they achieve this ? Organisational
? Why should followers want to embody the
identity, pursue the strategic vision, and adopt
the organisational tactics ? Persuasive
Ancient advice- Sun Tzu
?Those who win every battle are not really
skilful – those who render other?s armies
helpless without fighting are the best of all?.
The concept of the ?Golden bridge? is natural
consequence of this philosophy.
Sun Tzu also offers the seemingly paradoxical
advice to burn your own bridges, in other
words to commit yourself or suffer the
Ladkin states…
Leadership scholarship has been dedicated to
understanding leaders; those individuals who
grab our attention amidst what is perhaps a
much more complex intersection of contextual
and person factors (p. 11).
The follower role… is highly implicated in the
quality of leadership (p.12)
Variety of possibilities available to all actors
within hierarchical systems to initiate,
influence or create significant instances of
leadership (p.12).
The leader?s side
Transactional v Transformational theories
Transformational – MLQ
Multifactor leadership questionnaire (Bass,
1985) measures 4 transformational behaviours:
?Idealised influence
?Inspirational motivation
?Intellectual stimulation
?Individualised consideration
Plus 2 measures of transactional dimensions
?Contingent reward
?Management by exception
Transformational – TLI
Transformational Leadership Inventory
(Podsakoff et al.), 4 key behaviours:
?Core transformational dimensions
?Identifying and articulating a vision
?Providing an appropriate model
?Fostering acceptance of group goals
?High performance expectations
?Providing individualised support
?Intellectual stimulation
Plus one contingent reward behaviour
Transformational – critique
Ladkin critiques transformational approaches.
1. Too much credit given to leader ? one ?side?,
one ?aspect?, piecemeal
2. Methodological concerns
Measurement instruments
Positivist, scientific approaches
High correlation between the factors
Lack of qualitative support
Towards a definition
Ladkin alerts us to the importance of
?collective mobilisation towards an explicit or
implicitly determined purpose?? p. 28
Compare to other definitions?
Rost (1993, p. 102) ? an influence relationship
among leaders and followers who intend real
changes that reflect their mutual purposes
Striving for a ?once and for all? definition for
such a phenomena is an impossible task.
The leadership moment
Context Purpose
?Leadership is a moment of social relations?
Relationship side – LMX
LMX (Graen and Uhl-Bien, 1995)
?Stranger phase
?Acquaintance phase
?Mature phase
As we examine the LMX Model next, keep in
mind Ladkin?s critique of this type of
(Aspects, Identity, Moments).
Relationship side – Servant
Servant Leadership (Greenleaf, 1977; Liden et
al., 2008).
Servant leadership stresses personal integrity
and serving others, including employees,
customers, and communities.
?It is based on the premise that to bring out
the best in their followers, leaders rely on
one-on-one communication to understand the
abilities, needs, desires, goals, and potential of
those individuals? (Liden et al., 2008, p. 162).
Complexity theory
CAS = complex adaptive systems
?Neural like networks of interacting,
interdependent agents bonded in a
collective dynamic of common need? (UhlBien
& Marion, 2009, p. 631).
Three functions
Administrative leadership
Enabling leadership
Adaptive leadership
Key words: Interconnectedness and dynamic
3 Leadership behaviours
Inside the ?CAS?
Source: Uhl-Bien and Marion (2009)
Complexity dynamics
Non-linearity ? ?A? does not always lead to ?B?
(Recurrency ? any activity can feedback
into itself).
Bonding ? linking up, interaction, aggregation.
Attractors ? are ?phenomena? that arise when
small stimuli and probes resonate with
Enabling conditions
Dynamic interactions occur as individuals
respond to immediate needs, preferences,
pressures, conflict and demands.
Interdependence ? there needs to be some
sort of shared need.
Heterogeneity ? difference is important.
Adaptive tension- pressure must be exerted so
it can elaborate and adjust. (Pressure
from who???).
PARADOX OF CONTROL ? ?in control? v ?not in
control? ? can create tension.
The paradox of control
Adaptive leadership is related to the human
desire to control, while CAS dynamics are
?uncontrollable? or emergent. This can
result in TENSION and this can be +ve
Adaptive leadership is related to the agenetic,
or deliberative, nature of human activity
(enabling conditions) and CAS dynamics
(mechanisms driven) represent the
inevitable, uncontrolled processes that
emerge from complex interactive forces.
Enabling leadership
Enabling leadership serves two roles:
? Fosters conditions that enable complexity
dynamics and adaptive leadership
(What conditions?????)
? Mediates between bureaucracy and CAS
How can leaders do this?
? Championing ideas
? Issue selling
? Protect from stifling control
?We don?t see things
as they are, we see
them as we are?
Anais Nin
Ready-to-hand v Present-at-hand
?Ready-to-hand? ? everyday, unexceptional, taken for
granted. This makes leadership hard to describe and
difficult to study.
?Present-at-hand? (p. 44-45) involved interacting with ?the
thing? as we see it as it freezes for a moment under
closer scrutiny. This happens when leadership fails?
Hurricane Katrina is her example. What NZ examples
can we use???
Identity and absence
Identity is important because there are many contributing
For example, Ladkin discusses her desk ?(p. 37) she
alerts us to the idea of negative presence ? that we
can think about as ?absence?.
Leadership has three ?absent? aspects (p. 38)
? Expectations
? Stories
? Invisible role played by multi-layers of culture
?This is what I expect of you: I expect
you to sort out the interpersonal
difficulty I have with the guy who
sits next to me in the office, I
expect you to notice everything I
do well and always praise me for
it and I expect you to negotiate
me a substantial raise in the next
year. In short, I expect you to
make my life so much better?
(Ladkin, 2010, p. 39).
Leadership is a socially constructed phenomenon?
How does culture impact on leadership?
Absent expectations are carried by both
the ‘leader’ and the ‘followers’, through the stories that
are told about the ‘leader? and through the culture
from which leadership arises.
What is your story???
Watch ?leanin.org? expert lectures?
?Harnessing the power of stories? by
Prof Jennifer Aaker
Cultural Intelligence
1. Knowledge of culture and of
the fundamental principles of
cross-cultural interactions
2. Mindfulness, the ability to
pay attention in a reflective
and creative way to cues in
the cross- cultural situations
3. Behavioural skills
(Thomas & Inkson, 2004, p. 15)
Concept checks…
1. Organisational culture(s)
?The way we do things around here? (Deal &
Kennedy, 1982)
2. What about the cultures of people?
Shared mental programmes… Software of the
mind (Hofstede, 1980)
These mental programmes condition our
responses to they way we live…what we eat,
how we dress, our mannerisms, ways of
speaking, social behaviours….
Mental programming
Human nature
Specific to individuals
Specific to groups
Inherited and learned
Culture is…
? Shared
? Learned and is enduring
? A powerful influence on behaviours
? Systematic and organised
? Largely invisible
? May be ?tight? or ?loose?
(Thomas & Inkson, 2004, pp. 24-27)
Ladkin Ch 4
This chapter focuses on the ?space between?
the ?follower? and the ?leader??
She introduces the concepts of
?Immanence – embodied
?Transcendence ? beyond the body
?Reversibility ? percipient-perceptible
?Flesh ? the place where immanence and
transcendence coincide
Ladkin Ch 4
The leadership dynamic is constantly in a process of coconstruction
occurring between these mutual
perceptions. As ‘leaders’ see themselves through their
‘followers? gaze, they construct how they operate within
the ‘leader’ role.
Followers do likewise, creating their own ways of
operating within the field of their perceptions and
expectations of themselves intermingled with the way
they experience themselves to be perceived through
the gaze of those leading them (Ladkin, 2010, p. 66).
The in-between space
The ?flesh? (in-between part) is sensitive and
How can we strengthen it?
Flesh alerts us to the way that perception is
embedded in particular places, historical times
and cultures.
The concept of flesh fits with the leadership
moment? It makes us think of something
material something physical that we can hold
and touch.
Empirical support
Emery and Barker (2007) surveyed 77 branch
managers from regional banking institutions
and 47 store managers from one national food
chain. They used Bass? (1985) MLQ-1.
Charisma highly correlated with job
satisfaction and organisational commitment.
Charisma was the only factor to predict
organisational commitment.
Expert 1: Ladkin
Weber?s ?Charismatic authority? (p. 76)
??Gift? from the divine
?Role of context ? crisis
Ladkin cites…
Beyer (1999, p. 316) Charisma is rare
Bass? (1985) transformational theory includes
?charismatic influence?, along with inspirational
motivation, individual consideration and
intellectual stimulation.
Aisthitikos ?Perception by feeling?
taste, hearing, seeing and smell (p. 80)
Aesthetic perception is informed not only
through the rational, conscious part of
ourselves but also from a more bodily,
physically based sensitivity…
Anaesthetic ? puts us to sleep, stops us from
feeling… (p. 81)
Expert 2: Goleman
Emotional intelligence: the ability to manage
ourselves and our relationships effectively.
Goleman (2000) explains the four
fundamental capabilities in full (p. 80):
?Social awareness
?Social skills
EI and leadership styles
The leader?s ?modus operandi? is linked and is
categorised in terms of style. See the EI
competencies and outcomes (Goleman, 2000,
pp. 82-83).
For example, a coercive style, ?do what I tell
you?, is linked to a drive to achieve, and a
need for self control. This works best in a
However the overall impact is often negative.
Expert 3: Kellerman
Kellerman (2012, p. xxi) defines these concepts
Power: A?s capacity to get B to do whatever A
wants, whatever B?s preference, and if
necessary by force.
Authority: A?s capacity to get B to do whatever
A wants, based on A?s position, status, or rank.
Influence: A?s capacity to persuade B to go
along with what A wants and intends, of B?s own
Charisma and the dark side
Conger (2011, p. 99) warns that ?charismatic leaders
appear prone to exaggerated self-descriptions and
claims for their visions that can mislead?.
Kets de Vries and Balazs (2011, p. 390) writes about
narcissistic leaders who ?become fixated on issues of
power, status, prestige and superiority. To many of
them, life is a zero-sum game: there are winners and
[Also lists dysfunctional patterns in leadership, pp.
The importance of vision
Vision is the ability to imagine different and
better conditions and the ways to achieve
A vision is a lofty long-term goal.
Creating a vision is one of the major tasks of
top management.
e.g. COB new Vision:
?Excellence in relevant, innovative, researchled
study of local and global enterprise?
Ladkin Ch 6 – Vision
?Vision? is an essential ingredient of most
leadership theories (p. 101).
Read the passage from Mandela, as cited in
Ladkin (2010, pp. 101-102)? an embodied
awareness of the things that unite South
Africans. Ultimately, creating vision is a
process of meaning-making.
Locating Ethics in Leadership
?[Leadership] is a complex moral relationship
between people based in trust, obligation,
commitment, and a shared vision of the good.
Ethics live at the heart of all human relationships
and hence at the heart of the relationship
between leaders and followers? (p. xv).
?The territory of ethics lies at the heart of
leadership studies and has veins that run through
all leadership research? (Ciulla, 2004, p. 18).
Perceiving change
Ladkin tries to unpick change because 55%-
75% of change initiatives don’t achieve the
majority of what they set out to do
(Appelbaum et al., 2008).
Mobility is the only actual reality (p. 133)
Intellect versus intuition (p. 135)
Sense relates to both past and future
moments (p. 136)
Close-up and far away (bigger picture) (p. 136)
Change as an event
Events can open up ?the ?space? of leadership,
suggesting that at any given time any
individual, whether or not they hold a formal
?leader? role or not, can contribute to and
exercise a major impact on the collectively
produced leaderful moment? (Ladkin, 2010, p.
Example: September 11 ? New York, 2001
Leading Change
?Pay attention to patterns and trends
Pay attention, notice things, talk
Recognise new patterns, new trends
?Make declarations ? using position power to
institutionalise local changes
e.g. Stuart Rose (Marks & Spencers)
?Welcome disruption ? gets attention, enables
e.g. Rosa Parks
non-conformist behaviour
Respect for people
Respect: Taking every stakeholders’
problems seriously, and making every effort
to build mutual trust. Taking responsibility
for other people reaching their objectives.
Teamwork: This is about developing
individuals through team problem-solving.
The idea is to develop and engage people
through their contribution to team
Resistance to change
Ronald Heifetz (1998) makes a distinction
between ?technical? and ?adaptive? challenges.
What might these be? Can you think of
?Some personal change goals, – especially those
we know we must accomplish but still cannot ?
require that we ourselves ?get bigger?; that is,
we must adapt in order to accomplish them?
(Kegan & Lahey, 2009,p. xii).
The ladder of inference
Immunity to change ? student
What is one big
thing you want
to change?
Persistent issue.
Something you
really care
support to deal
with it.
What are you
doing/not doing?
What other
stop you from
achieving your
?one big thing??
I am also
committed to?.
Worry Box
assumptions do
you have to
keep you safe?
I assume that?.
Complete your own analysis
Capture some dialogue from a situation you
would like to ?replay?.
Analyse the dialogue ? ?thinking and feeling?.
Complete the ?immunity to change? chart.
What are your competing commitments?
What are your big assumptions?
Think of how you can change those
assumptions. What experiments can you try?
Ethical Leadership
The perspective of Trevino, Brown and colleagues:
*Leading from the top
*Creating a reputation for ethical leadership
*The transformational component: The moral person
*The transactional component: The moral manager
(Brown, Trevino & Harrison, 2005; Brown, & Trevino, 2006; Trevino, Brown & Hartman,
2003; Trevino, Hartman & Brown, 2000)
The Two Pillars
Moral Manager
Role Modelling
through Visible
Rewards and
Communicating about
Ethics and Values
Moral Person
Doing the Right Thing
Concern for People
Being Open
Personal morality
Hold to Values
Concern for Society
Follow Ethical Decision Rules (Trevino, Hartman & Brown, 2000)
Leader integrity scale
Craig, S.B., & Gustafson, S.B. (1998).
Seven domains:
? Training and development
? Resource/workload allocation
? Truth-telling
? Unlawful discrimination
? Compliance with policies and procedures
? Maliciousness, and
? Self-protection
Response choices: (1)=Not at all; (2)=Somewhat; (3)=Very
much; (4)=Exactly
Key words
Never burn bridges. The world is sooo small.
Get work experience! ? even if it means
Ask questions and be reliable.
Research potential employers. Learn about their
attitudes and cultures
Networking ? generate leads, job opportunities.
Employees appreciate a personal relationship
with their boss. Don?t get stuck in an
environment where you are a leader and don?t
respect your employees. You get what you give.
CV and cover letter
Cover letters are more important than the CV ? tailor it
for each interview.
Interests section in CV ? important to show what type of
person you are.
People naturally assume that you have the qualifications
for the job. Impress them with personality.
Make a phone call as well as sending a CV ? shows your
Ask for feedback if you don?t get the job
Get LinkedIn
Get a mentor! ? Someone to
talk to and be open with from
outside your organisation.
Prepare for interviews ?
prepare questions so you do
not get caught off guard
Ask during interview if you
have to do anything to ?seal
the deal? ? what concerns may
they have with you
Be very proud in an interview ?
it?s your time to shine!
Your interview process starts
as soon as you walk into the
Go in with a plan. It won?t go
exactly to plan but give you a
Find something about the
interviewer that you can talk
about to break the ice
language in general
Make deals eg if I do this, can
you give me this
Many businesses offer
development programs. Or
allow shadowing in other areas
of business
Get a mentor! ? Someone to talk to and be open with
from outside your organisation.
Prepare for interviews ? prepare questions so you do not
get caught off guard
Ask during interview if you have to do anything to ?seal
the deal? ? what concerns may they have with you
Be very proud in an interview ? it?s your time to shine!
Your interview process starts as soon as you walk into
the building
Go in with a plan. It won?t go exactly to plan but give you
a guideline.
Get a mentor! ? Someone to
talk to and be open with from
outside your organisation.
Prepare for interviews ?
prepare questions so you do
not get caught off guard
Ask during interview if you
have to do anything to ?seal
the deal? ? what concerns may
they have with you
Be very proud in an interview ?
it?s your time to shine!
Your interview process starts
as soon as you walk into the
Go in with a plan. It won?t go
exactly to plan but give you a
Find something about the
interviewer that you can talk
about to break the ice
language in general
Make deals eg if I do this, can
you give me this
Many businesses offer
development programs. Or
allow shadowing in other areas
of business
Find something about the interviewer that you can talk
about to break the ice
EYE CONTACT! ? body language in general
Make deals e.g. if I do this, can you give me this
Have get-togethers with like minded people ? can be very
Many businesses offer development programs. Or allow
shadowing in other areas of business
Key words
Leading as a verb.
Ground and figure
The ground – the thing that causes us to see what we see
Figure ? what we focus on
Mary Parker-Follet 1968-1933- Power ?with?
Dialogue, talk, relationships, identities overlap
I + you = You + me. We only exist in relation to others
Who am I in relation to you?
?The law of the situation? ? know the situation and
understand political forces
There is no final authority
Example – Ch 8 ?Dwelling?
I believe that Wilberforce had a greater ability to ?dwell? in
the world than the other politicians of his time, which enabled
him to develop the wisdom necessary to discern a more ethical
direction for British society. In the film Amazing Grace,
Wilberforce is repetitively seen to display ?comportment? as he
remains open to the accounts from slavers and former slaves,
and listens to their stories with the intent exemplified by
Ladkin?s description of ?staying with? (Malick, 2006; Ladkin,
Furthermore, Wilberforce is shown to be actively involved in
?participation?, as he would often explore the insides of the
slaving vessels and examine the weight of the slave chains,
enabling him to comprehend the conditions the slaves were
subjected to in a manner which the other politicians could not.
Example ? So what?
While it is nearly impossible to tackle gender inequality in
society on a global scale, I can make a difference through
identifying inequality in my own social interactions. Sinclair
(2000) makes the claim that the first step to removing
discrimination in society is to recognise where it is occurring.
Whether it is directly through ensuring that I hire and
promote staff purely on merit or through making a conscious
effort to not buy music which degrades women, I can raise
awareness for gender inequality in my social circles to slowly
weaken the biases which are deeply rooted in the people
around me. Moreover, through changing the way I think and
act, I can lead others to do the same.
Example ? So what?
Originally I didn?t consider my role in vocally addressing the
ethical dilemma as leadership. I started this course imagining
?leadership? was simply the act of effectively leading a large
group of people or an organisation, primarily using
transactional or transformational methods. However, analysing
the situation has helped me understand what Ladkin really
means when she says leadership cannot be restricted to one
set definition, but is rather a ?moment? of social relations
?dependent on the historical, social and psychological context
from which it arises? (2010, p. 27). The ethical issue gave me a
chance to practice leadership. By identifying the ?yuck factor?
(Midgley, 1992) and questioning the status quo on behalf of all
the employees, I was able to assist my bosses in finding new
ways of doing things which didn?t involve unnecessary video

Journal of Management
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/1052562907307640
October 2007
Journal of Management Education 2009 33: 37 originally published online 29
Kathryn Pavlovich, Eva Collins and Glyndwr Jones
Developing Students’ Skills in Reflective Practice: Design and
Published by:
On behalf of:
OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators
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What is This?
OnlineFirst Version of Record – Oct 29, 2007
>> Version of Record – Jan 15, 2009
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Journal of
Management Education
Volume 33 Number 1
February 2009 37-58
? 2009 Organizational
Behavior Teaching Society
hosted at
Developing Students? Skills
in Reflective Practice
Design and Assessment
Kathryn Pavlovich
Eva Collins
Glyndwr Jones
University of Waikato
This article examines learning journals as a method for developing selfawareness
within a business education context, exploring ?how can effective
design and assessment of reflective journals assist the development of
students? self-knowledge?? The authors describe three different approaches
to learning journals, with each case study outlining the purpose of the course
and the learning journal within it, the design and assessment of the journal,
and an evaluation of this experience. The authors? aim is to illustrate how
journals can be implemented in management education. Although each case
study is distinct, three interconnecting themes also emerge that underlie why
this approach to learning is important: finding the subjective voice that
enables students to access their inner learning; accepting that learning is
mutually constructed within a cocreative space rather than something ?done
to the student?; and that a more reflective self-awareness engages a higher
sense of personal purpose. These significant outcomes illustrate the success
of this learning approach.
Keywords: assessment; design; learning journals; management; reflection
Education is longing for a deeper more connected, more inclusive, and more
aware way of knowing. One that connects heart and hand and head and does
not split knowledge into dualities of thought and being, mind, and body, emotion
and intellect, but resonates with a wholeness and fullness that engages
every part of one?s being.
?Kind, Irwin, Grauer, and de Cosson (2005, p. 33)
Conventionally, teaching has focused on what Palmer (1998) describes
as questions of ?what? (the nature and boundaries of the problem), ?how?
(the methods and techniques for finding solutions), and occasionally ?why?
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38 Journal of Management Education
(the underlying purpose of the nature of the topic of investigation). Rarely
is there an engagement with the ?who,? with our own self-awareness, and
the relationships we have with others. Questions concerning the experiences
we have, how we reflect on them, and the changes we implement in
our lives can offer a key to a deeper sense of learning and experience. In
examining the ?who,? the focus turns to a practice of inner reflection on our
individual actions to make sense of and to learn from them.
Cunliffe (2004) believes that the practice of reflective thinking is particularly
important in management education, as through challenging our own
assumptions, ?we can develop more collaborative, responsible and ethical
ways of managing organisations? (p. 408). Thus, she continues, a critically
reflexive stance is ?not thinking about thinking, but thinking about self
from a subjective process? (p. 418). This changes the emphasis from the
passive neutral voice so evident in the densely referenced text of academic
writing to a more intuitive inner dialogue that Sch?n (1983) describes as
reflection-in-action. Thus, ?who? we are changes what we write about and
how we write, and our role as educators is to assist students to engage in
insights and perceptions that take them to a new level of self-awareness and
appreciation (Brearley, 2000).
Journaling is one method that requires students to explore their personal
engagement with academic subject content and their individual learning
processes. The writing of thoughts over the duration of an academic course
becomes a journey of exploring one?s learning. We agree with Hall, Ramsay,
and Raven (2004) that a well-designed educative process can assist students
to engage at a deeper level of awareness than conventional methods. Learning
journals, then, are a way of organizing students to become better connected with
their academic subject and, more important, with their own self-awareness. In
this article, we examine ?how can effective design and assessment of reflective
journals assist the development of students? self-knowledge?? This position
brings the ?who? back into the education process.
To explore this question, we present three case studies of learning journals
from different courses within one university. With our School?s focus on
sustainable business, we have opportunities to encourage our students to
think more holistically than conventional neo-liberal institutions. Thus, our
broader vision is to educate future managers to understand the importance
of integrating economic, social, environmental, and spiritual imperatives
into their workplaces. Our aim in this article is to describe each of our three
journal approaches through a format of purpose, design, assessment, and
evaluation to further our pedagogical understanding of how journal design
and assessment may be better employed to encourage student self-awareness.
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Case 1 is an undergraduate course that uses learning journals as a method
for developing and deepening students? reflective thinking abilities. Case 2
is an undergraduate course that uses electronic journals and thus provides a
contemporary modern media approach to journaling, and Case 3 is a graduate
course that uses journals to explore the students? learning experience.
In the next section we review the literature on issues related to the design
and assessment of learning journals, followed by a description of the research
method and our classroom contexts. The case studies will then outline the
design, assessment, and evaluation of the individual learning journal
approaches. Finally we propose insights for wider application.
Reflection and Learning in Management Education
A central strength of learning journals is that they allow students to tap
into intelligences other than just the cognitive (Gardner, 1999). In seeking
to bring self-awareness into our education system, these journals encourage
students to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences toward the
classroom content and processes. As the quote at the beginning of this article
claims, bringing feeling into the education process allows head and heart to
be connected and thus reduces the separation that currently occurs through
the externalization of knowledge as something that happens outside of
oneself. In bringing the emotional experience into the journal process,
students are able to examine not just how they think but also how they feel
(Brearley, 2002). Brearley continues that these emotional connections
enable us to explore our ?shadows of experience? as we more deeply make
sense of the past. Indeed, the act of writing such things down requires a
connection through feeling, requiring honesty about how one feels through
authenticity (being true to oneself) and spontaneity (as it feels at that
moment). Thus, the use of the personal voice requires teaching to be
student-centered on the ?who.?
Journaling requires a different form of expression than is conventionally
found in dense academic text based on analysis of content. It is a private
process. It is about ?me? (Locke & Brazelton, 1997). Although discussion
of learning journals is common in the literature (Cunliffe, 2004; English,
Luckett, & Mladenovic, 2004; Haigh, 2001), studies that adequately outline
such design processes are rare. Those that do note two central features:
clear structure and guidelines, and a student-centered approach. For instance,
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Varner and Peck (2003) note that learning journals encourage students to
be self-directed and determine their own focus in assignment. The assignment,
then, focuses on the students? awareness of how they interact with the
content rather than solely on what the content is. They also posit that
following the journal process, students are better able to anchor their new
learning in experience and have the opportunity to solve actual problems.
Palmer (1998) note that the space created plays a critical role in the design
process so that students are able to be private. He argues that openness must
be developed between teacher and student. Particular challenges face teachers
using this method as students are more familiar with writing what they
think the teacher wants. Moving the dialogue to the student requires a space
without judgment or prejudice. It is one of compassion and empathy for the
experiences that others have been engaged in. Hooks (1994) claims this
requires an ?engaged pedagogy? that involves a reciprocal exchange between
teacher and student that goes further than just empowering students. Rather
it seeks to employ a holistic model of learning where teachers and students
grow and are empowered by the process.
The challenge, then, is to develop a format that creates clear guidelines
for students regarding what is expected with this form of writing, while still
placing the students? awareness at the center of the process.
The biggest issue encountered with reflective journals is their assessment.
Varner and Peck (2003) note that students invest much of their personality
and self-image into the journal, and this makes them sensitive pieces of
assessment to mark. Cr?me (2005) too claims that in writing these journals,
we ask our students to open themselves up to us by using their individual
voice, expressing a sense of honesty, and taking a risk in the content they
write. This makes grading and evaluation difficult, as their subjective nature
defies the standardized criteria of more objective forms of assessment.
Furthermore, when journals are graded, the grade becomes the emphasis
that constrains free expression and creativity. On the other hand, grading
encourages classroom preparation and participation, with other studies
concluding that when journals are not counted toward a grade, students do
not put in the work (Kennison & Misselwitz, 2002). As Cr?me (2005) notes,
what we assess is pedagogically important as it powerfully influences
student learning and also sends signals as to what we, as teachers, believe
is important.
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Moon (1999) concludes that detailed assessment criteria can play a central
part in the success of the journal writing, as they provide the structure and
foundation for what is expected. Clarity of objectives assists students to
move beyond descriptive accounts of their experiences. In a study on learning
journals, Cr?me (2005) identifies the following guidelines for assessing
journals. A good record of study she claims
is a) comprehensive as it meets requirements of an introduction, conclusion
and demonstrates syllabus coverage; b) shows understanding of the material,
with the ability to select, summarize, analyze and show relationships between
concepts, both within the course and outside of it; c) shows self-awareness of
the writer as learner, both in relation to the ideas on the course, and to course
activities, processes and colleagues; and d) demonstrates that the writer is
prepared to take risks with the material in relation to their own political and
intellectual position. (p. 290)
Embedded in these guidelines is a mix of cognitive skills in knowing what
content should be selected as important, while also writing in a manner that
emotionally and holistically connects the student with the context.
Dilemmas regarding issues surrounding the subjectivity of the assessment
process not withstanding, we share Dewey?s (1933) view that reflective habits
must be taught if we wish to foster critical thinking. We believe that learning
journals sharpen our ability to reflect. Most important, we agree that reflection
as a skill can be developed and follow the Habermas tradition in seeing
it as a tool for personal empowerment and emancipation (Moon, 1999). Our
aim in this article is to examine how the design and assessment of learning
journals may be better employed to encourage student self-awareness.
We have chosen a case study method for this research, as the case study
allows rich description of the journaling assessment process that we have
each developed (Yin, 2003). This descriptive approach is significant in that
one of our primary aims is to explain, describe, and illustrate the different
formats that we have developed. As noted earlier, one of the weaknesses in
the literature is an absence of how journaling assessment has been developed
in order that more extensive upgrading of different approaches can be applied
and improved. Furthermore, we have chosen what Stake (1995) posits as the
collective case approach, whereby a number of cases are examined to illustrate
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the predictability of certain phenomena. This again allows us to proffer differing
approaches that may be redesigned for certain contexts.
Our research question of the use of journals to develop self-knowledge in
our students places the ?who? at the center of our inquiry. Yet to achieve this,
we need to develop structures around the ?what? and the ?how? to engage our
students in their academic content (Palmer, 1998). The description of our
differing assessments outlines each case study in the following way: (a) the
purpose of the journals, (b) the design of each journal, (c) the assessment
criteria, and (d) evaluation of the process. Thus, the ?what? and ?how? questions
noted by Palmer (1998) structure a framework around which students can
more deeply examine their own self-awareness and deeper learning processes.
The second aim of the current research is to identify themes that emerge
from the case studies that can be actively used to assist deep learning.
Generating conceptual themes conforms to Miles and Huberman?s (1994)
method of textual analysis, whereby issues of importance inductively emerge
from the data. It is important to note that we also follow Weick?s (2006)
form of ?abduction,? whereby one begins with fragments of understanding
and then builds more holistic pictures of an observable reality. This form of
?invention? includes an act of ?faith,? as abduction forms the ?rules that are
postulated to explain the observed facts . . . they are the groundwork
before coding can begin? (Harrowitz, cited in Weick, 2006, p. 1731).
Underlying our method of research is Palmer?s (1998) what, how, why, and
who approach. The ?what? question is addressed through the academic
subject area. This is the framework in which the learning takes place. The
?how? question denotes the processes around which learning occurs in the
journaling process. The ?why? emerges through the themes from the case
study analysis. Finally it is through the synthesis of the above approaches
through abduction that the ?who? can then be examined and developed
through the inner dialogue reflective process. Furthermore, it relates to
Yin?s (2003) fourth proposition of case studies, in that their purpose is to
explore the relationships being evaluated. This thematic analysis identifies
the processes that are being used to achieve intervention of deep learning
Learning Journal Case Studies
Case 1: Managing with Spirit
This course is offered in the fourth and final year of the undergraduate
management degree, and its central purpose is to explore the key questions
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of Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? In developing students?
awareness, content issues are examined such as the interconnection of all
life forms (deep ecology), accessing personal and organizational spiritual
virtues, and understanding how a creation paradigm constructs human
flourishing through meaningful work rather than following a consumption
and exploitation paradigm.
Purpose of the journal. The reflective journal in this course was designed
to develop students? reflective abilities and move their decision-making
processes from solely intellectual and emotional responses, to more spirituallyand
mindfully-aware actions. Thus, the reflective journal was developed to
specifically guide students to analyze their responses to situations, and then
unthread how and why they made those decisions. The intended outcome is
that students become consciously aware of their actions in every moment.
Design of the journal. In Managing with Spirit, all students were
required to write three separate journals of three to four pages in length
through the 12 teaching weeks (worth 20% of the final grade). Each entry
was expected to cover the readings, the classroom discussions, and personal
experiences. A modified framework from Williams and Wessel (2004, p.
19) was used as a structure for the journal entry. Over iterations of the
course, the need to be very specific on what the requirements were for this
assignment emerged, confirming studies identified in the literature (Cr?me,
2005; Moon, 1999). The following format developed over the years clearly
sets the expectations on what is required:
? Describe the learning event, issue or situation.
What happened?
? How did you feel?
c What was your reaction and why did this happen? (Cognitive and
c Identify specific emotions: this is very important to be able to really
understand the triggers for change.
? Analyze the learning event, issue, or situation in relation to prior knowledge,
feelings, or attitudes.
What were the consequences of that feeling?
? Discuss three to four points from the literature that help you understand
what happened.
c This section ensures that students are covering the reading material
and plays an important role in assessment.
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? What have you learnt?
c Have you gained a new understanding of the learning event, issue, or
What is that value of the learning event, issue, or situation that has occurred?
What is your new understanding of the learning event, issue, or situation?
c Indicate how the learning event, issue, or situation affects future
behavior. This includes the clarification of an issue, the development
of a skill, or the resolution of a problem.
How will you approach the same or similar event, issue, or situation in the
What have you learnt about yourself through this process?
Assessing the journal. As noted above, a very specific structure has been
developed to guide and assess students in their maturing of reflective practice.
The marking criteria closely followed the structure of the journal (see
Table 1) and was placed in the course outline at the beginning of the course.
Describing the event gave the students a C grade. Including some analysis
and making meaning of it moved the grade to a B?this included a good
analysis of the course readings. Demonstrating how this understanding
would create new behavior in the future was necessary for an A grade.
Being able to demonstrate that learning and new action took place was the
essence of this assessment.
Yet new learning and action also emerged for us as teachers, conforming to
what Ramsey (2002) and Williams and Wessel (2004) recalled as benefits for
teachers. Through the development of this article, we developed an ?engaged
pedagogy? to enhance and refine this marking criteria. Subsequently, this
framework is now being utilized by each of the three case study authors and
authenticates its applicability in other contexts.
Evaluation of the journal. In its first year (2004), there were 12 students
enrolled, growing to 46 in its second year, 28 in 2006, and 30 in 2007.
These journals play a significant role in helping students develop reflective
44 Journal of Management Education
Table 1
Marking Criteria for Learning Journals: Case Three
Grade Description Analysis Meanings Action Comments:
C *
C+/B * *
B+/A- * * *
A/A+ * * **
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learning. The following journal narrative from a Chinese student illustrates
the significant struggles she went through to understand the process, and it
highlights the numerous issues that we as teachers encounter in grappling
with our own teaching pedagogy:
Reflective journals were strange to me and none of my three journals has a
good mark. When I first did the journal, I just thought this was an assessment
to ensure the students would do the readings, and then write a summary about
it. So I did the journals in my own way.
However, one day I was really shocked by a classmate?s journal! Having
the girl?s permission, the teacher read out her reflective journal to the class. I
suddenly noticed the difference between hers and mine. She did the journal
by her heart, she did not see the journal as an assessment, and the journal was
from her deep voice. She related the reflective journal together with her feeling,
her life experience and her spirit together.
I suddenly noticed I am too little and small. I understand that study is not
only gaining skills and knowledge; the purpose of study is to learn from one?s
own heart and to improve one?s shortcomings. Therefore, I decided to change
myself, change my attitude to the study. I decided to try my best to learn how
to use spirituality to change my life. Now, I know that reflective journals is a
useful tool which help people to go back to their own heart and to see what is
their deep voice and feeling. I try to link the study with my daily life. I observe
and feel everything happens to me and people around. Every night, when I lay
on bed, I can hear my inner voice and I can sum up important things to my
brain. As long as I study this course, I can feel my heart and my spirit is light.
This quote shows the struggles students have in writing about what they really
feel, rather than the neutral passive voice so prevalent in academic writing. This
requires the students to connect with their hearts first (the feeling), and their
heads second (the thinking). Those who continued to write descriptively on
class topics did not connect at that deeper level. The second challenge was
getting students to focus on one situation to analyze?with a page limit, focus
was important and only one experience was possible for reflective depth.
However, over the three iterations of the course, these journals have improved
dramatically, and most students were reasonably adept at the process of
reflection by the end of the course. Student evaluations confirm this journal
activity as being important in their development of mindfulness.
Case 2: Human Resource Management Theory and Practice
The second case study is a human resource management course in the
fourth and final year of the management degree. The purpose of the course
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is to provide students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge
acquired during their studies to a real-life organization setting. The course is
based around a client-based project (CBP) and adopts a ?blended? approach
to learning, relying on the use of e-communication for distance interactions,
limited face-to-face class-based interaction, and the development of selfmanaging
teams. In 2006, the client-based project involved examining the skill
shortage in the engineering industry, and students interviewed 50 managers in
engineering enterprises. Deliverable outcomes included a management
report and an oral presentation to the client?s Board. Central to the courselearning
objectives is the requirement for each student to maintain a
personal journal in which he or she is asked to reflect on the processes they
are involved in and to think about their own personal learning.
Purpose of the journal. The purpose of the reflective journal is
? to ?capture? critical events and experiences both inside and outside the
? to reflect on the learning process at the personal level.
? to act as a channel for exploration between the student and the class
Design of the journal. Students are required to write a reflective paper
as part of the course assessment, worth 20% of their final grade and due at
the end of the course. First, they need to become familiar with the process
of journal keeping and reflective learning through reading specific articles:
Daudelin (1996), Hays (2004), and Loo and Thorpe (2002). The reflective
paper was based on accumulated weekly electronic journal entries, and
students were expected to make at least three journal entries each week.
The e-journal can only be accessed by the individual student, and material
can only be added. Thus, journal entries submitted before the current data
cannot be edited or removed. The class facilitator has electronic access to
each student?s journal, providing the opportunity to review and comment.
This requires that the class facilitator provide timely feedback and encouragement.
Approximately 80% of the communication between facilitator
and students is through the e-communication channel.
The majority of students had little experience in keeping a journal, and
no one had written a reflective paper. At the start of the course, the purpose
of the journal entries and reflective paper were discussed, and students were
encouraged to reflect on
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? important project-related experience that had taken place inside or outside
the classroom that week
? their own influence on the management of the project group
? their perceptions of the effectiveness of their group and other groups
? their feelings about how the group dealt with process issues such as interpersonal
? how they might have tackled process issues differently.
Assessing the journal. Each student received feedback and comments via
the facilitator?s electronic link with the journal writer. Typically this would
include an e-reply questioning, commenting, and encouraging the student?s
efforts. The facilitator?s comments and queries would be taken up and discussed
in subsequent journal entries. In some cases, the facilitator would
stress the importance of keeping up with regular journals entries as the basis
for the reflective paper. To give the student an indication of the quality of his
or her journal entries, a grading (A ? D) would accompany qualitative replies.
Table 1 illustrates the marking schedule now applied.
Evaluation of the journal. The e-journal has several advantages over traditional
?hard-copy? journals: convenience, ease of use, immediacy, and
visual impact. The e-journals became an easy and accepted means of ?capturing?
experiences and reflecting on them. Most students soon became
comfortable communicating daily with each other and the facilitator on
team-project matters through the e-channel. The journal from the same
channel was easily accessed from home or campus. The second advantage,
immediacy and visual impact, enabled the facilitator to view progress
through each student?s journal ?as it happened.? Each student?s experiences
delivered through the journal could literally be ?viewed? on screen simply
by scrolling through the journal entries. An interesting example is the case
of Polly (not her real name), an international student. At the start of the
course, Polly struggled with the concept of reflecting through a journal with
her entries simply described content issues. This example describes a creative
planning tool, mind manager, which was demonstrated in class:
Thursday 2 March:
?Mind manager?? a tool for brainstorming and planning
Advantages of using mind manager
more visual (compared to list)
helpful to organize ideas, thoughts, project
clear to express what one wants to say (can show relationship between two)
easy for others to see.?
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Feedback from the facilitator saw the student begin to expand her ideas, to
a more free-flowing, creative, thoughtful reflection of her experiences and
the processes.
Thursday 9 March:
Until today, I know a bit about what I was expected to write for a learning
journal. One reason was that last night, I devoted myself to reading the three
articles on reflective paper. Maybe I had not catch the whole idea, but I realized
that my journals last week were on the wrong track. What I wrote last week, was
just a summary of what the reading, material told, not my opinions, feelings
and thoughts. Nevertheless, better later than never.
Scrolling through Polly?s e-journal showed her entries becoming longer,
more creative, and more thoughtful. Her written English improved. She
also began to take risks in reflecting on events in a way that she did not at
the start of the course:
Wednesday, 15 March 2006
Today?s meeting we divided us into two groups and one group were doing the
proposal and the other group were working on the questionnaires. We found
that it was much efficient than we do all the work as a group. Last time I
worked on the proposal, so this time I was in the questionnaires group. As
such, I knew each part of the whole project. I prepared the questionnaires last
night, so I had some additional questions in mind already. During the meeting,
I brought my questions forward, so we could discuss wether they are
good questions which could be used to probe depth. I was happy that most
my questions I gave were accepted by the group members and we agreed that
we put those additional questions below the existing questions.
I found that sharing opinions with each other was wonderful. I knew what I
did was good and which part was not good, so that I could make improvement.
Sunday, 26 March 2006
The interview time is getting close, and I feel a bit nervous and a bit excited.
To be honest, I do not like interview. I am not sure whether it is because I am
bad at interviewing or just I do not like. After think for a while about this
problem, I still have no answer. If it is because I am bad at interviewing, can
I improve it? Is it a skill that can be learned when somebody practices again
and again? Or it is a bit like a gift that no matter how many times one practices,
one just can not obtain the skill. I believe both can happen. But, what I
can do is practicing to improve, even if I know that I am unable to perform
the best, I can do my best. It is good to have improvement rather than to be
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at the origin, even if the origin is quite excellent yet. I think loss sometimes
is good as I can know where I can improve myself.
Also, about the contribution to work, discussion, I have different opinions.
The meeting?s agenda were set by us three. So we can bring to class to
discuss. Sometimes, many people talk at the same time is difficult for communication.
I do not think that contribution to discussion equal to one have
to say a lot. For me, sometimes, I like to listening to other?s different opinions.
I know that you may say that it is not an excuse to escape from participating.
I like discussion, but we already had small discussion before the
class meeting and my ideas are already spoken by the spokenperson. I am
confused that if I do not come up with new ideas, I have no say. Will others
say me have no contribution? Anyway, I think one habit I have to change is
that what I said in the small group, I can also discuss it in the class meeting.
Before, I did not do this as I think may be it is repetitive.
The difference between Kiwis and me is that I am afraid that my opinion
might be wrong and kiwis like showing their opinions. This is what I want to
learn from them, so that I can participate in more discussion and have really fun.
Case 3: Strategies for Sustainability
This graduate-level course aims to enhance students? understanding of
sustainability issues confronting today?s managers. Course topics include:
What is sustainability and why should business care? What are the criticisms
of sustainable business? What corporate sustainability strategies are
leading edge companies implementing?
Purpose of the journal. The purpose of the journal is to give students
space to reflect on themselves as learners. Through reflecting on themselves
as learners, the students indirectly reflect on the course content. By
taking the direct focus off the course content, students were less likely to
superficially summarize the class that week but instead focus on the personal
impact of the course content.
Although this was a graduate-level class and many of the students had
spent years in a classroom, for the most part they had not had an opportunity
to reflect on what inspires or bores them, or what type of assessment they
prefer, or why they respond the way they do to different learning environments.
One excerpt from a learning journal highlights this point:
I have gained a lot of insight into what affects my learning capabilities, such
as my own self-concept and the dynamics of small and large group discussion.
I am also more aware of the delivery styles that help me to learn and internalize
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concepts and theories. There were a range of presenters from our class and
each delivered in a different way. The confidence of the presenter and his/her
grasp of the topic were important to me.
Design of the journal. In this course, students were given options for their
assessment and a learning journal was one of the options worth 10% of their
overall course mark. Students were asked to show the instructor weekly
entries of their journal. These entries were not read by the instructor but
were merely a confirmation that the student had written that week. Although
there was no grade penalty for a missed entry, having weekly checks helped
to keep students writing (and reflecting) regularly rather than completing the
task in one session right before the deadline.
For many students this was an unfamiliar type of assessment, and there
was some discomfort with what was expected of them. If students wanted
some structure to help with the first few weeks? entries, they were asked to
give responses to a series of questions based on Brookfield (1995). For
example: What have I learned this week about myself as a learner? What
were the highest and lowest emotional moments in my learning activities
this week? What learning task did I respond to most easily this week?
Students were asked to take their weekly entries, draw out key themes,
and hand in a monthly report of two to three typed pages. The third and last
monthly report was longer as it included students? reflections over the entire
course. The monthly reports served the dual purpose of giving students
guidance and direction for an unfamiliar assessment and provided the
instructor critical ongoing feedback about the impact of the course.
Assessing the journal. The assessment was formative as students were
given written feedback on the monthly reports; however, marks were not given
until the last report for the cumulative work. The learning journals are assessed
on the incorporation of feedback, depth of reflection, and creativity.
Furthermore, as noted in Case 1, the marking criteria has also been adopted in
this course.
Evaluating the journal. Learning journals have been an optional assessment
for four years (2003 ? 2007) with class size varying from 12 to 18
students. However, in 2005, the option was not given to students as the course
instructor was on leave. The experienced faculty member teaching the course
instead adopted every other part of the outline except the learning journal. On
returning from leave, the colleague was queried about the omission, and he
explained he was not comfortable with the subjective nature of the assessment.
We discussed this difficulty in the literature review (Varner & Peck,
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2003); however, it is worth noting that the idea of ?grading students feelings?
is a significant barrier to the adoption of learning journals.
In the first year, 6 of 18 students chose the learning journal option, the
second year, 2 of 18 , the third year, 4 of 12, and the fourth year 3 of 13
chose this option. There have been no observable common traits among
students choosing the learning journal assessment, For example, over the
three years there has been a fairly even split between males and females
choosing the assessment. Feedback received from the course evaluation
from one student stated:
I picked the learning journal option because I thought it would be an easy
assessment. I learned so much more than I expected! You should change this
from an optional assessment to a required assessment
The learning outcomes from the journal have been so positive that making
the assessment mandatory has been considered; however, students have
consistently responded to liking choice in their assessment. By providing
choice, the course offers several different assessment options with a history
of excellent learning outcomes. These other options include: out in the community,
an essay, corporate philanthropy, the facilitation of a stakeholder
negotiation (a further assessed work in the course), and Web site critiques.
As the literature on learning journals suggests, the feedback instructors
receive from journals about what is going on in the class is invaluable (Varner
& Peck, 2003; Williams & Wessel, 2004). For example, the first year the sustainability
course was taught, students?first monthly reports indicated that four
of the six students considered dropping the course in the first few weeks. There
was no other indication of this undercurrent in the class. In their journals, the
students wrote about feeling that they should know more about sustainability
than they did, and it seemed to many of them that the other students in the
course had more knowledge of the topic. The feedback might not have come
through end-of-course evaluations because students would most likely have
worked through those feelings. However, with the feedback an experiential
exercise was added to the beginning of the course that showed the majority of
students were starting the class with a similar knowledge foundation.
Discussion and Conclusion
Although our design and assessment approach to learning journals varies,
there are common themes that emerge from the three cases, and Table 2 summarizes
the literature and findings from the three case studies.
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The purpose of the journal in all three cases aligns with the literature. It
was not our intent to use the journals to increase specific knowledge of
course content, instead we wanted to foster reflection skills thereby increasing
students? ability to be a critical thinker. The literature highlights the
need for clear guidelines and a student-centered approach in the design of
learning journals (Brookfield, 1995; Moon, 1999; Varner & Peck, 2003;
Williams & Wessel, 2004). In addition, the design of the learning journal
must encourage a reciprocal exchange between teacher and student (hooks,
1994; Palmer, 1998). Cases 2 and 3 required students to regularly input into
their journal, and checks were designed to ensure this happened. Case 1 had
the clearest guidelines for the students. One of the key design features in
Cases 2 and 3 is also related to assessment. That is, both were designed as
formative assessment, with students being given feedback before receiving
a final mark. This assessment encourages the reciprocal exchange recommended
in the literature. The benefit of this type of design is that it helps
with some of the assessment issues outlined below.
There is no question that one of the most difficult challenges of learning
journals is in the assessment. As illustrated in the student quotes we included,
students put ?themselves? into their journal entries, and any grade can easily
be interpreted as grading the student rather than their work. A well-designed
journal assessment includes clear guidelines and ongoing feedback for the
students, which in turn makes assessment of the journal less problematic.
We have noted several examples of how the journals have assisted us to
fine-tune our courses, and how they provide a vehicle for our own reflection
and evaluation. However, the journals did much more for the students, as they
provided a means to expand students? learning in significant ways. To conclude,
we identified three major themes, abductively generated (Weick,
2006), that intersected across the case studies that can further develop student
learning from the reflective journal method. We believe this aligns with and
furthers the literature on the importance of effective design and assessment.
Design: Finding the Student?s Voice
The first theme related to the voice used in writing, as the design of the
journal required students to move beyond the externally focused passive
voice of academic writing. We ask students to explore themselves and their
actions. Mostly, we asked them to connect at an emotional level, which
requires a very different skill set to the more usual academic engagement
through intellectual analysis of phenomena. Indeed, the act of writing
things down requires a connection through feeling, requiring honesty about
how one feels through authenticity and spontaneity. This brings the ?who?
52 Journal of Management Education
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Pavlovich et al. / Reflective Practice 53
Table 2
Contributions to Reflection and Education
Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
A way of
students to
become better
connected with
their academic
subject and,
more important,
with their own
(Brearley, 2002;
To develop
abilities and
To reflect on the
process at the
personal level
and act as a
channel for
and exploration
between the
student and
the class
To reflect on
themselves as
learners and
indirectly on
course content
Clear structure and
(Brookfield, 1995;
Moon, 1999;
Varner & Peck,
2003; Williams &
Wessel, 2004)
approach (Varner
& Peck, 2003)
A reciprocal
exchange between
teacher and
student (hooks,
1994; Palmer,
1993, 1998)
Three entries over the
course (4 pages
maximum each)
Structured (topic)
consequence of
feeling, analysis
through literature,
At least three
contributions a
week to their
Reflective paper
due at end of the
course. Series of
topics given for
students to reflect
on as a guideline.
Weekly, ungraded
checks of journal
Monthly reports
(2-3 pages)
understanding of
the material,
shows selfawareness
of the
writer as learner
and demonstrates
that the writer is
prepared to take
risks with the
material (Cr?me,
meanings and
action (Williams
& Wessel, 2004)
modified from
Willams &
Wessel (2004)
– Description
– Analysis
– Meanings
– Actions
comments and
via the
electronic link
with the journal
feedback through
the monthly
receive from
about what is
going on in
the class is
(Varner &
Peck, 2003;
Williams &
Wessel, 2004)
Journals played
a significant
role in helping
The e-journal
has two major
and ease of
use, and
and visual
Even with a
design and
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into the context, developing what Gardner (1999) called intrapersonal intelligence
based on the capacity to understand one?s self and the context in
which one is engaged. Thus, the use of the personal voice requires teaching
to be student centered in that it incorporates the interpreting of daily habits
of life, as referenced by Brearley (2002).
The journaling process explores small details of routine and habit that are
seemingly inconsequential except for the connections they bring. In going
deeper, the student?s voice grows as he or she moves beyond describing
objects toward the development of a relationship with the subject through
the recognition of personal insights. Indeed, students may explore their
?shadows? (Brearley, 2002) that this inner gaze demands, and requires us
to take a journey alongside the student. Thus, the use of personal voice
challenges our teaching pedagogy at an epistemological level.
The following is an example from a student?s learning journal illustrating
how some students practically ?sing? with the opportunity to use their voice:
I initially was quite interested in the concept behind this assignment. To have
the chance to write what we really think rather than just quote some other old
dude? Unheard of! Students actually have original thought that is worth reading?
Never! And to think that a lecturer was interested in my opinion of class,
and my reflections on the topic is really rather empowering and invigorating.
And, even more so, the first few versions of the assignment aren?t to be marked,
only given feedback on, which means that I have the opportunity to put more
personality and spark into the assignment without fear of being marked down.
That?s why this assignment is not in Times New Roman. And it?s not 12 point
font. And it?s not portrait. And I?m even using first person tense. Impressive
54 Journal of Management Education
Table 2 (continued)
Purpose Design
drawing out key
themes from
weekly entries.
Series of questions
given as a
reports. To give
the student an
indication of the
quality of the
journal entries
to that point, a
grading (A – D)
feelings? is
still a barrier
to journals.
In line with the
feedback from
students was
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huh? I?ve decided to make the most of my opportunity to express my individuality.
This is being written in ?Viner Hand ITC??it?s a font I?ve never heard
of before, but I felt I could better sum up my reflections in a font that looks like
this rather than the standard level of conformity that is Times New Roman.
Rather than the central voice of authority prevalent in the objective world,
it is the internal dialogue that takes center stage, as our students seek to
understand the connections between themselves and their cocreated world.
Design and Assessment: A New Space for Learning
Our second theme is that well-designed and assessed journal provides a
new space for learning. Our feedback indicates that our courses can change
the way students look at the world.
One of the major changes in my learning that I have noticed while completing
this learning journal, has been that I am now less likely to accept everything
which has been said in class, and now prefer to form my own opinions about
different topics. I think this is a major change in my learning, and as a martial
artist, I think there are similarities between this point and achieving a black
belt. A black belt in karate does not symbolize that one is a master of the art,
rather it symbolizes that the person has mastered the basics and is now able
to start to truly learn the art, they have ?learnt how to learn.?
Transformational learning can be exciting but also challenging as long-held
ideas and beliefs undergo a new scrutiny, and students can be left feeling
adrift. Learning journals are ideally suited to support transformational learning
by providing students with the space to reflect on the evolution of their
beliefs. Exposing those new beliefs to an instructor through a journal can help
validate the emerging thinking through instructor feedback. This journaling
process reconnects the inner world with the outer and helps reduce the separation
of self from context. One student articulately described this effect:
I find that I learn in a different place now. Before learning was something that
was done to me, whereas now I am learning because I want to improve
myself. It?s become a much more inwardly focused action. Now I ask how
will this help me to understand myself?
The journals provide a space for truthfulness, not only for us as teachers
(and the markers) but more importantly for the students themselves. When
Pavlovich et al. / Reflective Practice 55
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truly examining one?s learning, there is no place to hide and no need to be
less than honest. Finding and accepting an inner truth requires courage, as
so often we overlook our weaknesses in an attempt to not appear ignorant
to others. Thus, openness and honesty are powerful attributes that assist in
reconnecting the learning spaces. This is eloquently described by Palmer
(1993) who noted that ?we often clutter our learning space with obstacles
and distractions to evade the emotions that education evokes? (p. 83).
Indeed, through leaving those emotions unattended, our learning too is
stagnated in that there is no balancing of ambiguities. Thus, in choosing not
to learn solely through the external world, a focus on our inner world brings
our own personal identity and integrity into one interconnected space.
Evaluation: Realizing a Higher Purpose
Our final theme is how learning journals enable some of our students to
connect with a more purposeful life. One student noted,
It amazes me that I took this paper because I wanted an easy ride this semester.
Well what a ride it has been. Twelve weeks down the track, and I am a different
person. I am a person with a purpose, but also a person who recognises that
I am in charge of my own destiny. I recognise that I have faults, but I also
recognise that they are fixable, adaptable and that they are worth working on.
I recognise that it will be a hard road, but one that will be fulfilling and joyful.
This process of thinking and awareness strengthen the students? learning
toward a holistic understanding of living and purpose. Our experiences of
reflective journals illustrate three outcomes of higher purpose. First, that of
personal development as indicated above. The second was of meaningful
career, with a reflective process allowing space for inner learning and the
natural abilities of the person to filter to the surface. One student described,
It?s funny to think that a class I nearly withdrew from in the first week has
resulted in a change of life: I am now volunteering and choosing a different
career path that has low pay but much more enjoyment. Two things that six
months ago, I would never have picked.
The final theme that emerged here was of the concept of mindfulness, noted
earlier by Van Manen (1997), whereby one connects at a deep level of
awareness through being present with one?s surroundings at each moment.
This delightful student comment is one that gladdens a teacher?s heart:
56 Journal of Management Education
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In the last class, I really got it! I knew there was something really significant that
I had learnt, something about me had changed; and all I could say to the class
was that some questions of mine had been answered but mostly it had opened
up more questions for me. However, I realized this afternoon as I thought about
it some more that I am more aware of my actions. I do things with intent?that
is what I have learnt and what has changed my life. I think about the water when
it comes out of the tap. I think about my breathing. I think about how great it
was swimming for the first time in the sea this year. I think about how my feet
were standing in the mud when I was playing volleyball the other day. This
is what I have learnt. I do things with intention now.
In identifying these three themes, we contribute to a greater understanding
of how learning journals can develop students? inner awareness. New voices,
new spaces, and more meaningful life purpose all challenge classroom
conventions epistemologically. We believe that in adding this pedagogical
approach, we are developing future managers who are more able to connect
within their inner thoughts and emotions. Through this process, they may, in
turn, develop stronger interpersonal skills. Indeed, we support Van Manen?s
(1997) conviction that reflective practice is not so much problem solving, as it
is resolution through deeper understanding. Thus, the art of managing is about
connecting with others in a more meaningful way. We believe our approach to
teaching assists this and conclude with an illustrative student entry:
When my grandmother passed away I was asked to do a reading at her
funeral by my Dad. I found myself at a loss about what to read to truly represent
how I felt about her. A friend suggested that I read the paragraph from
my second reflective journal as part of the reading to show the importance
of my Grandmother in our lives and the difficulties that all my family
encountered when she became ill. I was skeptical at first, thinking about
myself and how the people there would perceive me as being selfish and
self-centred. I then realized that I was falling into the same trap. It wasn?t
about me, it was about my Grandmother, my family and all of her friends
celebrating her life. They would be touched and proud to hear of the respect
and significance I reserved for her.
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