Reflections

My personal reflective analysis

This portfolio represents a valued attempt to capture important highlights in my personal and professional landscape. As I continue to grow and learn, I know that I cannot capture all the transformative moments as a student, employee, lifelong learner and human. My work has shown me that I have a wide variety of skills, and the sum of all my experiences has sharpened my skills which validates my decision to pursue a master’s degree in adult education.

Through the activity of developing a professional portfolio, I discovered that although my path is not a linear one, my experiences, my curiosities, and my desire to share information have set me on the path towards being an educator. I emphasized my leadership experience, and through my current role as a Director of Training, I am learning how to use educational technology combining software, educational theory, and practice to facilitate learning to paraprofessionals at Strongest Families. This position affords me an incredible opportunity in my career. I can refine my skills in leadership, education, and organizational development.

Since beginning this master’s journey at STFX, I realized how complex adult learning and pedagogy are. There is tension within me as I want to learn everything all at once, but I need to slowly digest morsels of information to process and deeply reflect on its meaning. I still have a lot of growing to do in my respective interests and applying new knowledge in my professional life, balancing the needs of what the organization wants now and my preference to slow down and strategically plan for the long haul.

My professional growth is hard to measure as there are always areas in need of improvement; however, throughout my career and academic life, I have grown in my writing abilities which I hope to continue in a more scholarly way. I enjoy researching the subject matter and learning how “plain language” can help me write in a more concise and accessible manner. While reflecting on my journey, some areas need development such as, critically analyzing my writing and others, deepening my critical thinking skills, and being more rigorous in my examination of journal articles.  

My future goals

My overall learning goal is to develop a deep understanding of adult education theories and practices to apply this knowledge when designing and implementing community and professional programs. My learning intention is to develop educational campaigns that draw on transformative learning theory, arts-based and feminist pedagogy. I hope that these campaigns will create change in the life of women.  My choice to study adult education is to help me develop the required tools to shape my reflective practice, research interests and feminist pedagogy.

Building on this, I would like to develop my critical reflection skills. I have many years of professional and personal experiences that have given me depths of strength and resilience, which serve me well when challenges arise. What is important to me at this phase of my life is intellectual stimulation and spiritual freedom. However, the importance of critical reflection cannot be understated, and I need to build into my daily life structured time to reflect and integrate learning.

What I have learned about myself

My professional portfolio clarified that I taught indirectly over the years. As a Director of Training, I manage a large project to develop educational materials and content within the Field Service department. My staff is new to the process and I guide, coach and mentor them to build their confidence and contribution to the project. I continuously reflect on how I can better build capacity within my team. I actively ask them questions and provide opportunities for dialogue so I can learn from them as well. Through my learning of adult education and knowing my personal philosophies, I have also increased my understanding of how my team learns and how to encourage them. 

After completing this professional portfolio, I can see where my experience has influenced my knowledge and journey. It has brought perspective to my past experiences and clarity for possible future directions. Professionally, I have had a diverse career that has given me opportunities to grow, stretch and change my perceptions on social and gender issues. Insights from my lived experience such as loss, inequality, and mental illness have informed my learning and influence my choices on what subjects to educate community groups.

Final thoughts

Although my portfolio is about my skills, educational philosophy, and professional practice, I included several personal aspects to show that I have many facets to who I am. Feel free to click on the bonus links to learn more about me personally: Beyond the Professional, Art Portfolio, Travel Photos. I feel this is crucial when teaching others. It also represents my other values, such as the importance of fun, adventure, family, and creativity. Adults bring life experience to their learning and letting them see who I am can help build a reciprocal trusting relationship. 

The process allowed me to reflect on where I want to go next. I can see how the sum of all my experiences leads me to pursue academic challenges and professional development goals. It is not only for the sake of pursuing knowledge but filling in gaps in my practice. I am good at directing, leading, delegating, managing projects, yet it is time to use my wisdom to let others lead, innovate, and provide a safe space for them to thrive. It is also time to give myself permission and space to be more philosophical, to go deeper in my learning and understanding. I want to build upon my prior knowledge, skills, and attitudes which have laid the groundwork for more.