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My Journal of Excellence: Reflective writing

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A brief introduction to critical reflection and keeping a journal…

My Journal of Excellence


An Excellence Journal is a place for critical discussion of reflections, insights and challenges.

Critical discussion opens ourselves up to multiple perspectives of looking at a situation.

Discussion –> Building on Knowledge

Inner development is management training for the unexpected in life…

Note the recently unexpected in Your life?

…is Your life orientated toward professional development?

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Blog O’ The Day

A fellow Cairns blogger selcted my blog as his fav for the day, so I am returning the gesture :-)



Inspiration to Help Us Persevere: Part I


How to Define Ethics


Quasi-Politics and Thesis Writing

I have been collaborating with a handful of thesis writing students across the globe. This is an interesting time for students, I have found. And supervision plays a vital role. Unfortunately, there appear to be some academics that do the least they can to support and guide students through the research process.

Which is a pity, as we need graduate to be capable of planning, implementing, analysing, interpreting and implementing new knowledge, if our society is to grow in strength and needed services are available.

Anyways~ to complement your current supervision support, here is a paper by Levine (nd)

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Reflective Essays: Improve your career prospects

Over the bridge
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A neat site with reflective writing tips can be found here with Jenny Moon

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Podcast: Reflective Journaling for Psychology Students

Dragonfly in the sky
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Reflective journaling for psychology students [Free]

Click on the link to download the MP3

Let me know what you think of it…


Summer Sunday!~ How to not study

The tropical scenery in northern Queensland ci...
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Well, summer has returned to tropical Cairns in Australia. Yes, that temperature is now 29 degrees Celsius instead of around 21  ~:-)  At least, it will be later today. For now it is 6:20am and I have on my wool boots and a jumper. Truly, I am a tropical frog

Today’s adventuring will be a morning ride (around 8:30am) to visit my ex-foster son and his family. Appears they will be moving towns, so I want to catch up before they go. Luckily for my cardiovascular system my friends live 15 kms away, so I will have my daily juice of sunshine and movement.

My past week has kept me busy as usual. I am helping a friend (who is also a student) to create a Job Club for the Korean students that her company looks after in Cairns. We have incorporated readings about developing a business plan and organising a small business into our daily English speaking classes. How’s that for efficient!

I am plugging away with my TESOL course and am confident that by Tuesday I will be half-way through~ yeah! Already I am including my new knowledge into the Free English Talking sessions with the Korean students and my online Skype EFL tutes.

The garden is blooming, though a naughty rat ate my first eggplant I have managed to find one or two cherry tomatoes. Early in the week my neighbour shared her marigolds with me, so I have scattered the seeds ev—-er—-y—wh—er—e— I shall create my own lil’ India

This week also saw me touching base with another small business home-based operator ( We coordinated our times for this week’s outing to network. We will be attending the Indigenous Festival to be held in the garden area of our city~ it will be great and moving I am sure.

And my mummy-preneur sister Allison ( is busy busy collaborating with local non-gov orgs to apply for an Arts grant to run a program for pregnant youth. I will be working on the application later today~ phew~ it’s great to have a full inbox!

Ok, so the birds are singing and the sun has come up, I can move around more without bumping into things (I avoid florescent lights). Time to water the veggies, brekky and coffee, and finish some online housekeeping before peddling toward the mountains.

Share how you will spend your day…?

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And There is More~ With Presentation Helper

Sam Morton from Presentation Helper presents a neat cartoon clip exposing the The Mehrabian Myth and the importance of content.


More PowerPoint Presentation Resources

Presentation Zen by Gary Reynolds provides a series of presentation tips with stunning visuals. Take a look at his latest post, Design lessons from the art of washoku


Better Presentations in Business and in Academia

Andrew Griffiths has a fantastic resource on his blog titled, The fight against boring Powerpoint presentations continues…


Reflections on Reflective Writing Assignments

I always enjoyed reflective assignments because I had the opportunity to write in first person (i.e., using “I” and “myself” statements). And it was fun to scout for references that backed up my claims, it really brought home to me that my interpretation of life was not brought about in a vacuum.

I am a being embedded in my culture, and geography and historical time play a large part in how I draw the conclusions that I do about information.

At university or college it is not unusual for an assignment task to be a reflective assignment, or reflective writing exercise. This is more likely if you are taking a health care or social care subject, such as education, psychology, nursing or management.

The role of reflective writing or journaling is to “Reflection is indicative of deep learning and where teaching and learning activities such as reflection are missing… only surface learning can result” (Biggs 1999 in King 2002 cited in

Higher learning levels require that a professional can critically reflect on their decisions and behaviours. Reflection is a process and so it can be acquired and adapted as necessary. PDP has an essential reflective element. Maintaining a journal helps the student-professional to develop data recording skills, gain observational practice, and maintain guidance from latest theories and models and to develop analytical skills that enhance the ability to argue convincingly.

Having a clearer idea of who you are as a person and as a professional highlights your strengths and areas of challenge. You gain a better idea of the direction you are headed in, how and when to change course, and what you need to reach your destinations.

Analysing life experiences and choices provides the foundation for future learning. Developing the ability to think critically enhances academic writing and presentations. As an independent learner, the reflective person has the advantage of being able to cultivate these skills by taking responsibility for their disappointments and seeking ways to enhance their professional competence.

It is evident from research that a clear links exist between action, reflection and change.

If you want real change, reflect.

One model to explain the reflective process is the Action-Reflection Model, see Figure 1 below.

First there is the initial or novel experience. Next there is a period for reflection and observation of choices made and actions taken. This contributes to the development of a new concept or attitude. Experimentation is the way in which experiences are re-lived or new ones occur, which sets the cycle in motion again.

Action Reflection Cycle

Figure 1.

Looking at the model from this ‘bird’s eye’ angle implies a cyclical process, though more accurately it is a spiral, moving upwards and outwards, see Figure 2.

spiral of life

Figure 2.

Reflection-in-Action occurs when you actively think about what you are doing/experiencing, as it happens. So, you consciously assess and make changes in-the-moment.

For a person who is prefers structure and predictability in life, self-reflection is a challenging process. For others, unfamiliar territory is a place to improvise and adapt to the conditions, and so they are more open to the process of reflection-in-action.

Ways of doing things, at work, university or in our personal lives can become ritualised and automatic. We no longer think about what we are doing and why.

You can read more about this process in an article by Rob Clark, here

Leave a Comment about your reflections…

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7 Foods to Get You Energized: Guest post by Mary Ward

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At times it seems that all of us could use a bit more energy. We run a mile a minute trying to get things accomplished and it feels as though there is just not enough time in the day. Add this to the fact that many of us don’t get enough sleep in a given night and it’s no wonder that we feel run down. That’s when you need to focus on what you’re eating and determine some natural ways to get more energy into your day. Here we look at the top 7 foods to help us feel more energized.

7 Foods That Are Tops For Energy

1.    Apples: Apples are a natural source of sugar and therefore provide a great lift to your day. They also contain a good amount of fiber and nutrients which can help you to not only feel full longer, but can help you to feel happier almost instantly. These make for a great snack if you need a lift throughout the day!

2.    Red Bell Pepper: The rich red color tells you that this is one healthy and nutritious food. These peppers contain high levels of Vitamin C which contributes to essential functions throughout the body, and this in turn provides you with more natural energy to help you get through your day.

3.    Salmon: The health benefits of salmon seem almost immeasurable due in large part to the high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Eating salmon helps you to rebuild cells, maintain a picture of health, and more important in the short term acts as a great source of protein for getting energized.

4.    Almonds: A hand full of almonds provides a “good fat” which is excellent for your overall health, but can be extremely important in providing you with natural energy. Just a handful can be an excellent way to get the energy that you may be lacking.

5.    Carrots: The bright vibrant color found in carrots just screams nutrients, so this makes an excellent energy source. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene and Vitamins A and C. This means that they help you to feel better and get some excellent natural energy.

6.    Sweet Potatoes: Yet again a rich color in food can equal an excellent natural energy source. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals, but more importantly can provide the right type of carbohydrate which means that you will get the energy you are after almost instantly.

7.    Fortified Cereals: It’s important to be sure that the cereal you choose is not only high in fiber and low in calories for a healthy choice, but also that it is in fact fortified. This will provide you with a great source of zinc, but more importantly when it comes your energy level is that this is the “right type” of carbohydrate which results in a boost of energy.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important for more than just weight matters.  From improving your mood to maintaining the energy that gets things done, your good diet is the foundation of your overall health.  These top 7 picks will keep you energized and on the go.

Mary Ward writes about various healthcare career topics, including how to obtain an
online masters in healthcare.

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