As a creative arts student, I was tasked with a period of undergoing personal development on three of my weaker areas. I had to find a suitable place that would agree to let me experience my placement with them. Eventually I organised to assist Christina Littleson one day per week with her show at Pulse 98.4 community radio station. This was an ideal opportunity to undertake research, help with the decision-making process and be involved with current ideas and help develop new ones.
I created a Personal Development Plan (PDP) which let me focus on what I wanted to learn from this experience and what capabilities I wanted to develop Honey (2001).
My PDP identified and highlighted three of my weaker areas that could be put into learning objectives for me to work on. I felt it would be beneficial for me to work on these throughout my placement, which I will go into detail about in my next section.
However, the first tasks I completed were two self-assessment questionnaires. The first revealed that I have a ‘perfectionist working style’ Heasman (2000), and the second indicated that my learning style is that of a ‘activist’ Honey (2001).
I used Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle as a framework to structure my learning journal entries because I felt this was the easiest structure to follow. The headings (shown below) made me think more in depth about my placement. This was useful for reflecting back on each week to determine whether I was closer to reaching my learning objective goal.
Learning Objective 1
Kolb (1976) provides some helpful insight with his “developed concept of a four-stage process”, the process has been developed further as two orthogonal dimensions of learning derived from the Learning Style Inventory.” (LSI; Kolb, 1976). The dimensions have two labels, one known as ‘prehension’ which is grasping information from experience. The other is known as ‘transformation’ which is ‘the processing of information grasped.’
My first task for the radio broadcasting team was to become familiar with the technology and equipment used to run the radio show. I found this a little challenging and uncomfortable as I was inexperienced.
However, it wasn’t long before I was feeling comfortable with operating the sound board. This is where Kolb’s theory comes into play because I was grasping the information of how to work the equipment from the experience of being allowed to use it. Kolb’s concept explains “differences in terms of two bipolar styles (i.e. the manner) by which each stage in the learning process is approached and operationalised.” He explains “these bipolar dimensions are sometimes described as learning types.”
Understanding how the system works and being able to complete this task on my placement was useful as it helped me achieve the learning objective to increase my confidence.
Honey & Mumford (1992, p. 1) explains that a learning style is ‘the attitudes and behaviour which determine and individuals preferred way of learning.’ Completing their questionnaire helped me determine that my learning style is that of an ‘activist’ which ties in to Kolbs (1976) theory of learning from experience.
Learning Objective 2
Bassot (2016) states, “being well organised is vital for success for many areas in our lives and good time management is an important skill everyone needs for study and professional effectiveness; many people find they need to continually work at it.”
One of the key tasks within my placement was managing the timing of the radio show. For example, the adverts are played quarter to and quarter past the hour and sky news must be played on the hour. These rules are essential because the adverts fund the radio station. It was my responsibility to keep track of time and adhere to these rules. This initially made me feel nervous because if I wasn’t able to stay on top of this task I would be going against the station rules and regulations.
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Bassot (2016, p.11) explains that time management is, “rather like fishing by hand – one day I think I’ve got it and the next it slips away from me!” I identified with this because each week I felt my success differed. Once I became confident then my time management improved but I still had the odd time when I failed to be accurate with my timings.
However, in relation to my personal time management I feel that I achieved this greatly. I made sure I was on time every week for my placement and the lack of rushing about meant I was less stressed which allowed me to focus on my tasks throughout the duration of my placement.
The use of my learning journal helped me stay positive when I felt demotivated. I was able to reflect on my progress from each week of placement which showed more success than failures. Moon (2016) explains Dewey’s (1933) approach to reflection and reflective thinking as the inability to understand a task, a sense of goal directedness and the idea of testing or evaluating.’
Dewey believes “that the process can be improved by having an understanding of, and experimenting with, forms of thinking and that the motivation for improvement of these skills is initiated by formal education.”
This ties in with my learning experience because using reflection to build on my formal education has showed great results when comparing where I was with my learning objectives before and after my placement.
Learning Objective 3
Throughout my placement I was set tasks and given responsibilities where I had to make quick decisions. In my Personal Development Plan, I identified that decision making was one was of my weaker areas and having this responsibility made me uncomfortable.
Bassot (2016, p.4) describes Bridges (2004) model of transition. “Bridges argues that all transitions start with endings and finish with new beginnings.” It has three stages which are “endings, the neutral zone and new beginnings.” Bridges (2004) explains that the neutral zone is “generally an uncomfortable place where we can feel anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead.” Bridge argues that in order to figure out where we are heading we need to spend time in the neutral zone.
I felt challenged when presented with the opportunity to speak live on air alongside my supervisor. However, being put in this uncomfortable position led me to overcome my anxiety and I soon felt relaxed when doing this regularly each week. Overcoming these challenges was beneficial because it meant I was slowly achieving the learning objective I’d set.
The regular use of my learning journal was good practice as it allowed me to keep track of the progress I was making in terms of achieving my learning objective.
Moon (2015, p.5) explains, “A person who is reflective seems to be someone who comfortably and successfully engages in the mental activity of reflection and would made decisions that are well considered.”
This fits in with Honey and Mumford (1986). Their term ‘reflective practitioner’ which appears to relate more to the characteristics of a person “than to the habitual use of reflection as a mental tool.” When completing their questionnaire, it revealed I was an activist learner not reflective therefore using my learning journal was helping me to become increasingly reflective with my work.
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One of my tasks was to record a demonstration of how I would present a radio show on air. I was shown quickly how to use the pre-recording studio and then was left myself to complete the task. I felt a little apprehensive because this was my first time using the equipment unsupervised and it wasn’t in the live studio we had used every week. I also felt too much information was being told at such a fast pace that I began to lose my focus and tune out of the conversation.
Schon (1987) uses the term ‘knowing in action’ when someone has a ‘knowing’ or intuitive that is sometimes used in professional actions. He explains, “Intuition is a mental process commonly termed ‘the sixth sense’, and refers to a process by which the individual comes to a conclusion about something in the absence of sensory inputs and without consciously thinking about it.” He also highlights how, “professionals often face situations that are unique, but apply their knowledge and previous experiences to how they act.” Schon (1987) uses the terms “professional artistry” to define this experimental process.
I felt this theory was relevant during my placement when my supervisor had shown me quickly how to operate the system but I couldn’t remember exactly what buttons to press. This is when I used Schon’s (1987) theory ‘knowing in action.’ I used my intuition when trying to figure out how to work the operating system which fortunately was successful as I was able to record my task without having to ask for further. However, even though I used my intuition I also applid my previous experience of working in the live studio which was similar to the pre recording studio and this enabled me to face my unique situation within my placement.
Having completed my placement and reflecting upon it I’ve realised that taking on this module has not only increased my skills and knowledge but has improved my confidence greatly. My time spent at Pulse 98.4FM was a learning curve for me because the challenges I was faced allowed me to overcome my anxiety.
When I first went into radio broadcasting I had no knowledge or interest to learn about it. However, after spending time with my supervisor and learning her trade it has sparked a personal interest in this side of the creative industry. My supervisor also encouraged me to try new tasks on my own which I would have feared away from in the past.
One of the key gains I’ve made through this placement is being offered the chance to run my own show for this radio station. After speaking with my supervisor and the station manager they’ve offered to take me on board as a trainee. This outcome not only shows the success I have achieved but also proves I can overcome anything if I put my mind to it.
Another key gain from this experience is being able to be increasingly confident with my own decision making and trust my intuition. Before I set out to do this module I wouldn’t feel confident trusting my own instinct and would always have to double check with someone else. I feel that overcoming this will continue to make an important impact on my life because I won’t be constantly second guessing my life choices.
Learning to manage my time more efficiently is also a key gain from this experience. Prioritising tasks has made my life less stressful and it has allowed me to be focused and engaged with the tasks rather than rushing through them. Having the time to focus on these tasks properly means I’ve had more successes than failures.
My supervisor also gave me great results when she filled in my feedback form which left me surprised but feeling very positive. These results convey that I have achieved my objectives successfully.
I’m going to continue to work on my three objectives after my placement is finished because I feel being confident, managing time efficiently and decision making are all key skills that I should be continuously improving as a life-long learner.
Kolb (2015) states, “The challenge of lifelong learning is not just about learning new marketable skills in an every-changing economy. It is about the whole person and their personal development in their many roles as a family member, citizen and worker.”
His theory relates to my experience from my placement because not only was I able to build on my skills but the impact of overcoming my learning objectives positively affected every aspect of my life. Therefore, I would highly recommend this module. Completing my placement also has given me the opportunity to become a trainee for their company and this would never have happened without this module.
- Bassot, B. (2016). The reflective journal. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Bridges, W. and Bridges, S. (1991). Managing transitions. 18th ed. Reading: Mass: Addison-Wesley.
- Dewey, J. and Chambliss, J. (1993). Philosophy & education in their historic relations. Boulder: Westview Press.
- Duff, A. and Duffy, T. (2002). Psychometric properties of Honey & Mumford’s Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ). Personality and Individual Differences, 33(1), pp.147-163.
- McGregor, D. and Cartwright, L. (2011). Developing Reflective Practice. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.
- Honey, P. (2001). Personal Development Plans. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications Ltd.
- Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (2000). The learning styles helper’s guide. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications Ltd.
- Moon, J. (2004). A Handbook of reflective and experiential learning. New York: Routledge Falmer.
- Moon, J. (2015). Reflection in learning and professional development. London: Routledge.
- Mumford, A. and Honey, P. (1992). QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON LEARNING STYLES QUESTIONNAIRE. Industrial and Commercial Training, 24(7).
- Quinn, F. (2001). Continuing professional development in nursing. Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thornes.
- Schwartz, H. and Schon, D. (1987). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 32(4), p.614.
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