First Reflection (342 Words) Critical Thinkings Examples
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I have realized that my best approach to learning is to observe, listen and try, gain feedback, and try again. This process along with hard work and perseverance seem to be my key strategies. This approach has afforded me the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the industry that I have chosen to pursue, the art industry. As a consequence I have had the opportunity to become an active art industry participant and contributor.
However, I feel that despite these successes, I can enrich and supplement my professional experience by adding onto my formal education. Nowadays, most successful artists have some form of formal education. Also my family constantly pressurizes me to acquire a formal education as a fall back plan in case being an artist does not work. I also believe that it is also my duty as an art professional to do so, so as to add value to, and to be more confident in future projects I partake in. I feel this way because higher education is highly valued in the art industry and seems to be expected in order to receive credibility in the industry.
Up until now, I have never really felt like I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in full time or on campus study. This is due to time constraints and pressures of everyday life. My decision to study online was not an easy one. I feel that nothing can replace real face-to-face learning. The ability to ask questions, gain answers and participate in discussion and debate, in real time can trigger ideas and inspire meaningful collaboration and outcomes (Iowa state university. N.d).
Despite this lack of human interaction, it’s also very clear to me that nothing can replace the true and thorough research that takes place during formal education. I have decided that at this point in time, studying online is the only way that I am able to pursue a degree, and although I carry some conflicted ideas about the option, I am grateful that the option is available to me at this point.
Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MegHiL93B0 (331 words)
Watching Meghan’s speech is nothing short of inspirational. The way she speaks candidly about her problem has encouraged me to speak about my fear since talking about your problem makes other people stop thinking about your problem, instead they listen to you.
Her speech has taught me something very important about our weaknesses, that they only hold us at ransom when we hide them. The moment Meghan talks confidently about her stutter, I stop focusing on it and I then get a chance to focus on her warm, funny personality.
My biggest fear in life, like many other people, is public speaking. I have always been scared of speaking in the smallest of gatherings, say family meetings. My palms get sweaty, my voice gets hoarse and I suddenly feel the urge to go the toilet!
Image credits; (Schwerty, 2013, p. 1))
Watching Meghan talk about her struggle with stuttering, and how she always thought that things would change when she grew up has really challenged me. Just like Meghan, I am already grown up and I need to face my fear just like she did so that I can overcome it.
She talks about going for therapy so as to improve her speech. I, on the other hand, will start attending public speaking classes so as to get tips on successful public speaking and to gain confidence (Schwerty, 2013, p. 1)
The other thing that I have learnt is that for one to overcome any challenge in life, they first have to accept that it is a challenge. In my culture, men are not supposed to be afraid of anything; they should be strong and courageous. Unfortunately, I am afraid of public speaking, something that I have never really accepted. From today onwards, I have promised myself that I will accept my fear of public speaking and start working on overcoming. I hope that one day, like Meghan, who speaks to large crowds of people despite of her stutter; I will also be able to speak confidently in front of people.
3 Watch this - http://www.timminchin.com/2013/09/25/occasional-address/ (327 words)
I must admit that throughout my life, I have grown tired of motivational talks that offer life lessons since they all talk about the same thing. However, listening to Tim Minchin’s “nine life lessons” has been very thought provoking and inspirational since he does not look at life the way many people do.
He encourages people to be micro- ambitious or have short term goals since long term goals hinder people from seeing the opportunities that are right in front of them and they always end up disappointed. This is especially true for me because this is not how I had imagined my life. I dreamt of going to a good university where I would engage directly with my professors and classmates and enjoy the vibrant campus life (Minchin, 2013, p. 1).
Yet here I am, doing an online course, going to work and taking care of a family. Tim’s speech has encouraged me to focus on my short term goals which are completing my online degree and working on myself as an artist. This will enable me to focus better on these two goals and reduce the paralyzing anxiety that I sometimes get when I start thinking about my future. Will I succeed? Will I be a half-baked graduate since I am doing an online degree? Will be an excellent artist? Tim has encouraged me to stop focusing on these questions and instead focus on getting the most out of my online degree and being a good artist.
The speech also encourages us to constantly and thoroughly examine our opinions, biases and prejudices. This has challenged me to stop seeing my online degree as inferior to other degrees since I do not get to see my teachers since there are people in actual universities who do not attend their classes. I have also learnt that I should keep myself health and happy by exercising, sharing the things that I know and having a passion for the things that I love (Minchin, 2013, p. 1).
4. Podcast 3 (438 words)
Simon Blonde’s podcast on 'Ideology and Representation’ helped reinforce my belief in how important images are in steering the collective memory and fabric of the world. Billboards, television or magazine advertisements, news programs or newspapers, art galleries and even graffiti play a collective role in shaping the way people think and act in the world. Prior to this podcast, I did not know that certain elements of an image can be manufactured in a way that pushes a particular meaning onto audiences, this is an interesting discovery. However, the thing I found most interesting was what Simon explained as the ‘Levels of Meaning’. The denotative things which are the ‘apparent', the connotative which are the ideas that come into your head by means of association, and the ideological meanings which are the ideas that seep into our unconscious minds.
The ideological is what I find to be the most dangerous of all three. It is perhaps what helped to drive misconceptions about Indigenous Australians to the rest of the world during the colonisation of Australia. It is also perhaps what drives common ideals about masculinity and femininity. Simon's statements, especially his example of Hitler’s image of soldiers with shovels, have helped me to obtain a closer understanding on just how an image can work and how powerful, and at times, menacing images really can be.
(USHM, n.d, p. 1)
I now feel that the argument I aim to create in my essay on 'Photojournalism and truth telling in the news’, will not be complete unless I research Simon’s ideas further. I intend to critically look at the ideas touching on notions of ideology and representation in my essay.
I know that many untruths, half-truths and strong beliefs can be fed to audiences through news images and literature. However, I feel though that people don’t question what they see often enough and that most of the world falls into the trap of “seeing is believing.”
I have also realised that I am also guilty of this relaxed way of reading images. I probably still do so, every day without thinking through certain ideological meanings hidden in images. Does that mean that I need to question everything I see? Perhaps I might end up a paranoid non-believer of anything? Perhaps that is what is required to remain safe and not succumb to anyone else’s potentially damaging ideals? Especially since images can now be so easily manipulated with photo-editing software, and there is a high risk that this technology is progressively being used in news media. I have decided to be more conscious of the images around me so that I cannot be easily manipulated.
5. Reflect on one particular issue for yourself as a student (357 words)
During the last few days, I have been thinking about how difficult it can be to manage study time. A considerable amount of self-discipline is required, good time management, effective and efficient study skills and a proper reading environment. Practising these study time management habits has not been easy for me since I have a full time job, a family to take care of and other things that require my attention. All these commitments make it difficult for me to carve out study time, which is very crucial for me since I study online and I have to manage my own academic schedule.
Upon deep reflection, I have realised that, illness, stress and problems at work or at home really affect my concentration levels thus affecting my studies. When I am stressed or anxious, I cannot think critically or creatively or even perform a simple task. It is therefore, my responsibility to learn to shut out my problems or the problems of other people so that I can focus on my academics.
Sometimes I draw a timetable of what I should study and when I should study it but I always get distracted by my family, the TV and even fatigue. To avoid this, I have converted the pantry into my study room and no one is allowed to come in or play loud music when I am studying. I also do not bring my phone in there so as to avoid distractions. This has really improved my discipline and concentration.
I am learning not to focus solely on my problems but to realise that they shall all come to pass and I should not let them be a hindrance to my success. I am sure that there are people out there with bigger challenges than mine who still achieve their goals and I should not use them as an excuse for academic failure. Intend to communicate more and deal with my issues as soon as they arise so as to reduce stress. I will keep myself health and strong through exercising and using mental relaxation techniques. I hope these changes will help me achieve my goals.
6. Final reflection (compulsory entry) (474 words)
Reflect back over your work on the unit during the semester: what have you learned, what are you satisfied with, and what would you like to have done better? Then reflect forward on where you would like to take your communications processes in your future studies and professional life: what processes will you build on in your future studies, and what will you do differently?
At first found it difficult to grasp the various referencing techniques but as I learnt the importance of referencing, understanding it became much easier. In fact, I have realized that referencing is very valuable within my practice as an artist or/and curator and will assist towards curatorial essays and artist statements. When visiting exhibitions I see so many artist statements and essays, some correctly referenced and some not. The ones that aren’t referenced correctly seem to lack credibility to me especially if I know where the source is from.
During the unit the concept of mind mapping was re-introduced to me. I have used this method briefly in the past but never for study and I am finding it very useful, perhaps more useful for study. This is great for taking notes but I now also use the technique for planning out the bone of an essay, looking for solutions to my problems or any semi complex project for that matter. It helps users to reach into the corners of my mind to create a visual smorgasbord of ideas for them to draw upon and edit before going forth to select the most relevant points to expand upon. This method allows for me to grab hold of ideas rather than lose them as a passing thought (Mind mapping, N.d).
If I could, I would change the way I approached studying and the sourcing of information. I found that I spent so much time looking for information, which was at times irrelevant, when I could have spent more time thinking, writing and rewriting in order to develop stronger arguments. I intend to change this during the next semester and also practice my critical thinking and writing skills.
I think that learning how to think critically is key to being successful in creative industries. It seems that most interesting artists and curators question issues that other people do not question. I feel that I am somewhat closer now to developing good critical thinking strategies and techniques. I think the first step is to question everything, and before this unit I have to admit I rarely questioned preset ideas, especially when an academic presented them. I am not exactly sure why this was the case, perhaps the feeling of inadequacy through lack of comparable education had something to do with this?
In the future, I intend to be more clear and articulate in my communication. I also want to improve my writing skills, through constant reading and writing. I think that keeping a journal will help improve the way I express myself in writing and also improve my writing skills.
I feel driven now than before. It is becoming my second nature to question decisions and perspectives. This is something I will continue to develop and take with me into my future studies, work, creative processes and life in general.
Schwertly, Scott. “Public Speaking: Fear vs. Anxiety” Sliseshare.net. November 11 2013
Iowa State University. “Advantages and Disadvantages of eLearning” e- learner. N.d
Minchin, Tim. “Occasional address.” Tim Minchin.com. September 2013
United states Holocaust Museum. “Soldiers with shovels.” United states Holocaust Museum. N.d
Mind mapping. “Mind mapping” mindmapping.com. N.d
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