Developing student transferable skills through reflective porfolios
Davies, Hilary and Reynolds, Catherine 2009, Developing student transferable skills through reflective porfolios, in AUBEA 2009 : 34th Australiasian Universities Building Educators Conference : Managing change - challenges in education and construction for the 21st century, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 1-22.
The development of transferable skills in students, ie those relevant to any future employment, is a common goal of degree programmes. Reflection is a mechanism frequently used in the training of medical and teaching professionals to develop self-awareness of personal skills levels that enable participants to become self-reflective practitioners. The intention in this research was to trial reflection for construction management and architecture students through a series of interventions to engage students in the explicit development of transferable skills and self-awareness. Students were required to keep a ‘diary’ or journal under specific skills headings: communication (involving active listening, conflict resolution, negotiation), team building, problem solving, report writing and presentation skills based on their experiences at university, work and in social situations. A range of learning resources were made available to assist students. The journals were analysed according to a recognised coding for the depth of their reflection . At the end of the semester, students were required to “apply” for a job description that required explication of the knowledge and skills that were intended to be further developed during the unit. In practice, few students appreciated the journaling and some were even hostile to the process, but all students demonstrated good appreciation of their abilities and skills in the job application – essentially a mechanism that required reflection. In conclusion, explicit reflection through journaling is not a universally popular practice, but tasks that appear to have some foundation in practicality that require reflection are more likely to be appreciated. Students depth of reflection was found to improve through practice.
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