SECTION 2 Context and Requirement Context “We do not learn so much from experience as we do from reflecting on our experience.” – John Dewey John Dewey (1859-1952) is considered by some to be one of the most influential thinkers about the philosophy of education in the twentieth century. His writings in Dewey, J. (1933) How We Think. A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process (Revised edn.), Boston: D. C. have inspired many of those involved in the education process – educators and students. His ideas are located in more recent, populist writings, illustratively: Harry stared at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze. “ What is it?” Harry asked shakily. “This? It is called a Pensieve,” said Dumbledore. “ I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.” “Err,” said Harry who couldn’t truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort. “At these times” said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “ I use the Penseive. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into a basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.’ Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling (Rowling, J.K., (2000) Harry Potter and the goblet of fire. London, Bloomsbury Publishing.) Reflection is important within educational experiences. A reflective statement is a statement that captures thoughts about, perceptions of, a past experience, such as that you have experienced in your study of this module. They help us to understand past events and associated experiences and to learn lessons. Having written a reflective statement, it is then possible to analyse it and draw lessons about future decisions, behaviour and actions. Such a statement can focus on the consequences of the educational experience for work-related decisions, behaviour and actions, not least in the arena of confirming or amending professional work practices. Required Look back over your studies in this GIFP module made up of six themes. Identify any three ideas from within the six themes, ideas which you feel are relevant to work practice, be that previous work, and/or current work, and/or work you aspire to. Justify the ideas identified for inclusion in your list of three. It may be appropriate to identify ideas which are perhaps very new to you and/or ideas which although you were already familiar with, your studies have thrown new light on them, prompting new insights. Take time to think about what you have studied and learnt about each of the three ideas. Capture and articulate the new learning that has taken place both in terms of the nature and theory of the idea, and practical applications. Thereafter extend the practical applications context to include ‘real world’ situations – past, and/or current, and/or potential – leading you to illustrate how each idea has already impacted upon or will impact in the future upon your professional practice when dealing with matters financial. Where appropriate, this should include a statement of changes you will have to enact to ensure that your professional practice is enhanced, and how you will set about enacting them. You should utilise the word count as you see fit. In responding to this requirement you should, clearly, certainly refer to relevant MPAcc materials as appropriate. You are encouraged to also draw upon other materials, as appropriate, from other sources. Ensure that your response is not just descriptive but also reflects analysis, evaluation, conclusions, and plans. There are a number of sources freely available concerning the art and science of reflection. Feel free to draw upon such sources. Alternatively you may wish to read Appendix B of this document. Appendix B Reflections guide To help you frame your thinking around being ‘reflective’ one particular model that may be of use is Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle or Model of Reflection (1988)i. This is depicted on the right and contains six categories. You can use these six categories as a departure point as you embark on thinking and writing reflectively for each round of Icarus and indeed, for the final project when the time comes: Description • What happened during the round? Who was involved/not involved? • What was the actual process that was applied as you embarked upon the activity? • What were the aims of the round and of your team within Icarus compared to your own aims? • Relay the account to the reader but do not spend too much of your word count on providing an account that is just simply descriptive. Feelings • What did you feel? How did you react or respond? • Why did you respond in such a way? Did your feelings affect your actions? • Identify and examine your reactions, feelings and thoughts at the time. • It is important to be honest. Evaluation • Look at the judgements and choices you made at the time about how things were going. • What was positive? Negative? What made you think this? • Try to stand back from the event/round/experience and be objective in your evaluations. • What made you think something was good or bad? • Examine your own judgements and what contributed to them. How do you feel about them now? Analysis • Examine the experience/event/round in depth and identify an overarching key aspect of the experience/event/round that affected it greatly and as such needs addressing next time. For example, an aspect of communication or time management or organisation or commitment that might have played a central part in the outcome. • How was it flawed this time? In what way? Why? How should it have worked in this situation? • What ideas or theories are you aware of which look at this? Does theory about this aspect help you make more sense of what happened? • Could you use theory to improve this aspect in the future? In this section, you need to fully examine and make sense of factors affecting the situation, and exploring ways to change and develop these. Conclusion • What have you learned from each experience/event/round? • What would you change for next time? • Would such a change be possible? • You should also identify what to improve. These may be specific skills, or identifying new knowledge. Action plan • What could you do differently next time and how could you prepare for this? • What areas need developing or planning for? What resources do you need, and where would they be found? • What steps will be taken first? Do remember that your reflections on an event/experience/round can change over time as you reflect more and acquire more knowledge. Refine your reflections, perhaps by writing a longer, more descriptive account but focusing on key events/moments. Reflective writing is useful as a positive method to help identify and develop yourself and your skills. Often, we do not get a chance. I have identified the following three IDEAS which I feel are relevant to work practice. 1. Corporate Social Responsibility 2. Tax avoidance 3. Harmonization of international Accounting Standards Please find below the positions I have occupied during my career: 1997-2000: Medical records assistant in a public hospital 2000-2000: (5 months) Clerical Officer in the ministry of Land Transport and shipping 2000-2014: customs and excise officer in the Customs and Excise Department ( from 2009-2014 I was posted in the Post Clearance Audit section where I was conducting audit exercises on importations made by importers) 2014-now: Compliance Officer in the Mauritius Revenue Authority ( Income Tax and VAT inspector) I aspire to become a professional accountant or Tax advisor in the private sector.