Simon Brooman - assessing reflection


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“Think about it!” Can structured experiences and assessed reflection help law students to adjust to university?
Simon Brooman
Sue Darwent
Liverpool John Moores University
School of Law

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
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  • These theories underpin much of what we aim to help students attain during their first semester
  • Although we wanted to measure the effects of the poster project, it has to be recognised that it is a field study, and the effects of the project itself can’t be isolated, so we have to take into account that the outcomes may be influenced by other experiences eg planned activities in halls etc
  • In many ways, gaining some insight was what we hoped students would be able to do. While self-help and study skills books tend to give advice, we hoped that by reading the articles students would be able to make the links between the studies and their own thoughts and behaviours for themselves. This student gives a particularly good example of an ‘aha’ moment when she is writing her assignment – that she doesn’t feel the same about criminal justice and Law seminars and so doesn’t prepare for them in the same way. She realises that her thinking needs to change: she had not realised that her belief that she doesn’t feel very clever when she walks into a law tutorial affected her behaviour.
  • (Epp, 2008)
  • Simon Brooman - assessing reflection

    1. 1. Think about it! Outcomes:Lily says:- Links to theory:-“I gained more Self-efficacyconfidence dealing with (Bandura, 1997, Pajares, 2002; Lane & Lane, 2001; Devonport & Lane 2006)different people I‟d nevermet”“ eyes were opened Autonomous learning (Evans, Kirby & Fabrigar, 2003;as to what was expected Kember, 2001; Macaskill &of me as a law student....” Taylor, 2010; Vrugt & Oort, 2008)“I‟ve learnt that you can Social support (Bernardon etwork with different al., 2009; McQueen, 2008;people and come out Roman, Fenollar & Cuestas, 2008)with the best out of that Social integration (Hausmann et al., 2007; Tinto, 1982, 2003;task” Wilcox, Wynne & Fyvie-Gauld, 2005) Team work (Taylor, 2001)
    2. 2.  Why focus on the student experience at transition? What is ILL? Structured experience Reflection Assessing reflection
    3. 3.  Retention rates FT: 1999 – 72%, 2000 – 86%, 2001 – 67%. Review of literature The birth of the long thin „thing‟ – „transition‟ Independent Learning in Law
    4. 4.  More tutor contact Early feedback Involvement of 2nd/3rd years Diaries and a learning report Group poster Information to think about: practical and personal
    5. 5.  FT retention rates constantly above 85% Student approval Anecdotal support Why? When? How? Three research studies.....
    6. 6. 1. Structured experience:the poster project What is Actus Reus? Actus Reus “guilty act” describes the physical element of a crime. For an Actus Reus to be committed there needs to be an act. Generally an act is described as a bodily movement which is voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary act An involuntary act is when a defendant performs a physical act but it is not in control of their actions due to an external factor. Body movements during unconsciousness, sleep, due E.g. R v Quick (1973)- the defendant- a diabetic, was charged with assault however this occurred to hypnosis, convulsions or reflex’s are all involuntary acts, whilst the defendant had low blood sugar levels due to an excess of insulin therefore the court felt he also an involuntary act can be forced by someone. should be acquitted due to automatism as his unconsciousness was due to external factors, i.e. insulin. Although in theory an act which is involuntary should be excused this is not always the case for example Hill v Baxter the defendant argued that due to his loss of control due to falling asleep he was not liable for causing an accident. However, this does not constitute an involuntary act as he was aware of his lack of awareness and knew he was not in a fit state to drive. State of The Actus Reus here is distinguished by the fact that the defendant’s behaviour must produce a Actus Reus in these situations are much more particular result. Possibly the best example of Affairs simpler however much more harsh. It is a matter of “being” rather than “doing”. this type of crime would be murder, as regardless of the methods used the result must Result Crimes always be the death of the victim. Crimes R v Larsonneur 1933 Action Larsonneur, a French national, landed in England with a French passport endorsed in such a way, which prevented her from working in the UK. She Crimes R v White 1910 In this case, the defendant set out to kill his had to leave England so went to EIRE, from there mother, choosing poison as his method. she was deported back to England by the Irish However even though White’s mother did Police. She was found guilty of being in the UK, drink the poison, she later died of a perfectly contrary to the Aliens Act 1920. natural heart attack before the poison could work. Merely committing the act here is sufficient Actus Reus, the consequences of that act being immaterial. R v Stone & Dobinson 1977 Perjury is perhaps one of the best examples of Stone’s sister lived with him and his girlfriend, Dobinson, an action crime, where by someone makes a She was mentally ill and stopped eating properly. Due to this she became bed ridden and after several weeks she false statement under oath, regardless of whether it affects a case or not isn’t important. Conduct & The act has been committed. died. Stone & Dobinson were both convicted of manslaughter and appealed. The Court of Appeal held that they had accepted responsibility for Stone’s sister as her Circumstance carers, and were under a duty to summon help, or care for her themselves. As a result they were liable for her death. Crimes These crimes are characterised by the particular way in which they are committed. Volunteering They require a certain conduct carried out Responsibility under specific circumstances. Rape is an easy example that shows the meaning of a conduct and circumstance crime, as the conduct of penetration is required under the circumstances that the victim has not consented. Inadvertent Creation of A Crimes of Family Dangerous Responsibility Situation Omission R v Gibbons & Proctor 1918 Gibbons & Proctor were living together with Gibbons’ young daughter. They failed to take care of her or give her R v Miller 1983 food, she subsequently died. The trial Judge directed that Miller was squatting in a they were guilty of murder if they withheld food with the building. He lay on a intent to cause G.B.H, resulting in death. mattress, lit a cigarette and fell asleep. Sometime later Contractual he awoke to find the Responsibility mattress on fire. Making no Poster by: attempt to put the fire out, Sean Moran, he simply moved to the next R v Pittwood 1902 Adam Morrison, room and went back to Sophie Morris, A gatekeeper of a railway crossing opened the sleep. Miller’s failure to act gate to let a car through and forgot to shut it Jonathan Mullan, to put out the fire was when he went off to lunch. As a result a hay cart Sinead Murphy treated by the courts as crossed the line while a train was approaching sufficient for the Actus Reus and was hit, causing a number of deaths the of arson. gatekeeper was convicted of manslaughter.
    7. 7.  Work with up to 6 others in a randomly populated group.... .... To produce a poster on one of two law topics... ....Within two weeks, starting on the second day of the first semester.... .... With support from module leader, second year student, personal tutor, library staff
    8. 8.  Peer relationships Student engagement with discipline Relationship with personal tutor Belonging/cohort identity Basic geography! Improved confidence to succeed – self- efficacy Awareness of studying at university
    9. 9. Does anything measurable happen to: Self efficacy? Development of relationships? Attitude to university study?OR Is this just another „knee-jerk reaction‟? (Longden, 2006)
    10. 10. Time 1 Time 2Validated scales: Self-efficacy (Bossher & Smit, 1997); CollegeAcademic Self-efficacy scale (Owen & Froman, 1988);Autonomous Learning scale (Macaskill & Taylor, 2010).Social integration scale developed using EFA : 3 subscales - Oldfriends, Sense of belonging, Relationship with staff
    11. 11. Sample n=142 (57% response rate) Skewed towards single honours (74%); female (66%) and younger students (89%) Accommodation: 35% home, 62% student halls 38% had a term-time job
    12. 12.  Gender: females had lower efficacy beliefs; higher study habits Age: older students perceived greater support from staff initially Working students: higher efficacy, learning beliefs, & study habits found initially, but not at time 2 Accommodation Live at home Live in halls Live at home Live in halls
    13. 13.  Home-based students › Stronger links between self-efficacy and autonomous learning › Those with a higher initial sense of belonging had higher scores on general self-efficacy at time 2. › Those who reported greater contact with old friends at time 1 had a greater sense of belonging and perception of staff support at time 2. Both groups › Students who perceived greater support from staff at time 1 had higher autonomous learning beliefs at time 2.
    14. 14.  Self-efficacy: no change Autonomous learning › Independence of learning beliefs: decreased (Joint hons) › Study habits: no change Social integration subscales › Sense of belonging: increased (all) › Perceived support from staff: increased (LLB, home-based)
    15. 15.  We understand more about outcomes of transition processes Processes are having an effect We need to know more – don‟t assume it‟s working Some results surprised us – self-efficacy Informs change
    16. 16.  Greater involvement of tutors Timetabling poster group meetings, particularly in the first week Introduction for joint honours students Let students know pre-arrival what will be expected of them Essential information on group processes given early on
    17. 17.  Which articles? Access „Have I got to read them?‟
    18. 18.  Students attended a lecture on „personality and success‟ › Emotional intelligence › Self-efficacy › Stress › Resilience and mental toughness Recommended reading: 3 journal articles Advised to keep a diary Assessment „c‟: reflection on their experiences in the first semester
    19. 19. What did we do?• Qualitative analysis: IPA• Examined scripts from assignments• To determine whether and how students had used theinformation from the self-awareness articlesFindings:• Why students engaged in reflection• Developing and planning positive changes• Recognising and responding to stress• Gaining new personal insight
    20. 20. „In our first ILL session we were given anarticle written by Susan Hall on why it wouldbe a good idea to write a diary. I took heradvice from the article and made sure Ipurchased a diary to find out if it would reallyhelp me. “Jotting down your values for just 15minutes a day could help you reachimportant life goals” This quote really stoodout for me and made me realise that it‟s notjust a way of keeping organised, but its usesare more beneficial in the long termreflecting back on your own progress anddevelopment.‟
    21. 21. Findings:Why students engaged in reflectionDeveloping and planning positive changesRecognising and responding to stressGaining new personal insight „According to Bandura, mastering different situations allows for higher self-efficacy. This has helped me to understand why it sometimes felt easier to give up when trying to complete a piece of work…..After reading around these subjects my outlook on learning and study has changed, allowing me to become more positive about the course as a whole. This, plus preparation for tutorials, has made me more confident and so my contributions have improved.‟ (49, 13-31)
    22. 22. Findings:Why students engaged in reflectionDeveloping and planning positive changesRecognising and responding to stressGaining new personal insight „…Another study …compared self-efficacy with stress as anxiety may depress self-efficacy judgments of students. I feel that I too have experienced this as when I feel stressed about doing something my confidence and ability to do the said task decreases… [So], I organize myself in such a way so to try and minimize stress levels and I start my essays in advance so not to still be writing it out on the day it is due to be handed in. I have found that being organised and reflecting on my diary from previous weeks is beneficial to me adapting to university life and my studies.‟ (5, 2-17)
    23. 23. Findings:Why students engaged in reflectionDeveloping and planning positive changesRecognising and responding to stressGaining new personal insight „Higher efficacy links to greater academic performance‟ (Lane and Lane, 2001). Self-efficacy affects success as it has a great influence on what we choose to do and how we behave towards these choices….. I find it a lot easier to participate in CJ tutorials and in turn will put in more effort into preparing for them. I have realized now that this is the wrong attitude, even just reading back what I have written in this essay. I don‟t feel very clever when I walk into a law tutorial. I know that to build my confidence up I need to work harder on my preparation so I can follow what is being said in the tutorial. (48, 33-55)
    24. 24. Improving confidence Self-Quality of Dealing withreflection awareness stress literature Formulating positive action Any questions?
    25. 25. What did students do? Assessment „b‟: reflections on groupwork for the poster task Assessment „c‟: reflections on experiences of academia in the first semester Keeping a diary is crucial BUT.... „When I was asked to write a reflective diary I saw no relevance or significance in doing such a task. However, I noticed whilst doing this assignment it became very useful as I came to realise some problems with my current learning style.„(88, 8-12)
    26. 26.  Definition of „diary‟ Is reflection useful for undergraduates? Need for „training‟?Ethical concerns: Can everyone reason about emotions? (Mason, Tyson, Jones & Potts, 2005)
    27. 27.  Definition of „diary‟ Is reflection useful for undergraduates? Need for „training‟?Ethical concerns: Can everyone reason about emotions? Disclosing private thoughts to staff (Riley-Doucet and Wilson, 1997; Boud, 2001)
    28. 28.  Definition of „diary‟ Is reflection useful for undergraduates? Need for „training‟?Ethical concerns: Can everyone reason about emotions? Disclosing private thoughts to staff Should diaries be assessed? (Kember et al., 1996; Creme, 2005)
    29. 29. What did we do? Qualitative analysis: IPA Examined scripts from assignment „c‟ in which students specifically referred to diary use Investigate outcomes not process of reflection Advantages of diary-keeping Help in addressing common concerns: › Am I clever enough to pass? › Will I settle into university life? › How much work will I have to do? › Is it so different from school?
    30. 30.  Initial cynicism/emerging surprise Adjusting to demands of university academic work Developing learning strategies Taking control Self-efficacy
    31. 31.  Diary-use brings benefits A tool to develop and demonstrate learner autonomy Useful reflective practices can be achieved by new undergraduates Do it early Use evidence to encourage reflection Do not force the use of diaries Use a „sounding board‟ and final assessment
    32. 32.  1st year students may not be „gold standard‟ reflectors but: There are benefits in encouraging them to use diaries so; In preparing students to start a diary concentrate on what they might gain rather than what they can‟t.
    33. 33.  Curiosity – Does it work? The sting - Quality of HE/Law pedagogic research Adventure – Innovation (lawyers?!) Stop! - Reflect on practices Professionalisation of pedagogic research in law Use diaries, self-awareness literature and posters!
    34. 34.  Bossher, R. & Smit, J. (1997). Confirmatory factor analysis of the general self-efficacy scale. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 339-343. Brooman, S., and S. Darwent. (2012a). Yes, as the article suggests, I have considered dropping out: Self-awareness literature and the first year student. Studies in Higher Education 37, no. 1: 19-31. Brooman, S., and S. Darwent. (2012b). A positive view of first-year undergraduate reflective diaries: focussing on what students can do. Reflective Practice , no. : . Edward, N. (2003). First impressions last: An innovative approach to induction. Active Learning in Higher Education 4, no. 3: 226-42. Longden, B., (2006). An institutional response to changing student expectations and their impact on retention rates. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 28, no. 2: 173-87. Macaskill, A, & Taylor, E. (2010). The development of a brief measure of learner autonomy in university students. Studies in Higher Education, 35(3), 351-9. Owen, S. & Froman, R. (1988). Development of an academic self-efficacy scale. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, New Orleans. Palmer, M., O’Kane, P., and M. Owens. (2009). Betwixt spaces: student accounts of turning point experiences in the first-year transition. Studies in Higher Education 34, no. 1: 37-54. Tinto, V. (1988). Stages of student departure: Reflections on the longitudinal character of student leaving. The Journal of Higher Education, 59(4), 438-55. Tinto, V. (2003). Promoting student retention through classroom practice. Paper presented at Conference on Enhancing Student Retention: Using International Policy and Practice, Amsterdam, November 5-7. Yorke, M., and L Thomas. (2003). Improving the retention of students from lower socio- economic groups. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 25, no. 1: 63-74.