Sunday, 13 April 2014

Final reflection on learning

Before every semester, we have to through the pain of planning our timetable. I always put in a lot of time in planning it because I have to make sure that there is a balance between being able score, what I can get out of the module and interest in the modules I choose. This is not the case when I choose ES007S. I know that the amount of learning that I can gain from it is limitless, however I also know that I would not be able to score since I have been weak in writing (had to take ES1102) and presentation. I thought this module would be a good opportunity for me to strengthen my weaknesses.

Just like what I expected, this module has thought me a lot about effective communication. I find every lesson fresh because we get voice out our opinions, unlike during statistics tutorial where we just listen to the teaching assistant. Then again voicing my opinion was not easy for some who is listener rather than a talker like me. Besides that, the lesson setting also encourages me to think critically about certain issues.

Despite learning all the knowledge on professional communication, I experience difficulty in applying the knowledge.  There are times where I am disappointed in myself for not being able to effectively adopt this knowledge in my presentation and writings. I guess old habits die-hard. Hopefully, I am able to improve with more practice.

Overall, I did not regret taking this module. Our tutor, Dr. Radhika, was great. It was wonderful to meet and work with new people. I will definitely recommend this module to my friends.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Reflection on Project Proposal

I am glad that my group, consisting of Jacinta, Nazyra and I, managed to pull through this project despite the delayed start. In fact, I feel that we utilised the the little time we had left well. This project is one of the most time-consuming projects that I have done and I am sure we could have done better if we started early.

I find that this group is the easiest team I have ever worked with (I hope I am not the only one who feels this way haha). The possible reasons could be the small number of members, which made it easy for the group to come to any decision. Another possible reason could be how often we meet for class, which help us to touch base and prevent any members from MIA (this happened twice during my past projects). However, I am sure the interpersonal skills we learned in class were applied by the members during our group interactions thus increasing our group cohesiveness.

Besides that, I am sure the others members agree that we had selected a difficult topic. Our proposal is on the management of overcrowding in Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and it is an area that none of our members has expertise in. Coming up with proposed solutions also required some technical knowledge which we lacked. We managed to solved this by getting the opinion on the feasibility of our measures through an interview with Dr Lee. Moreover, a lot of measures have been in place thus coming up with a new measure is mind-boggling.

We also almost did not manage to secure an interview, which would be detrimental to our proposal. It was difficult to get an time slot when all members and the interviewee was available. Nevertheless, this problem could have been easily avoided if we had started on our project early. I also feel that we should have done the interview first, followed by the survey. That way, we could have gotten the opinion on a technically feasible solutions versus those that were not feasible.

In summary, I feel that this project demonstrates the importance of having effective interpersonal skills. It is also a real life example where numerous problems could have been avoided if we start early. I also learned that it is important to put in more thoughts in planning which should be done first during the course of the project.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Evaluating Intercultural Behaviour

This scenario took place in a Chinese language class in Taiwan during an Immersion Programme. The class consisted of Singaporeans and one exchange student from Germany. Lets call the exchange student Friedrich. Friedrich received a lot of attention in class for being the only exchange student. Occasionally, our Taiwanese Teacher would call names and directed questions to us during lesson. However, we did notice that Friedrich got called more often than the rest of us. After being called multiple times to answer, Friedrich started to feel sullen and exclaimed "Why me AGAIN?”. Our teacher noticed that he was unhappy and subsequently stopped calling him. In the later part of the lesson, we were instructed by our teacher to create a sentence using a verb we had just learned. The adjective was "漂亮" which means "beautiful". Some of us, including Friedrich, volunteered to share our answers with the rest. Friedrich sentence was "台北机场 不漂亮" which translates to "Taipei airport is not beautiful". Our teacher was taken aback by his answer. She regained her composure and then explained to Friedrich that in Taiwan, it is not very nice to give negative comments in a direct manner and especially something negative on a country that you are visiting.

In my opinion, I think Friedrich felt that our teacher was picking on him although I would not think that way if I were Friedrich. I would think that she wants to ensure that I learn well. I think the reason she kept selecting him was that she was fond of him and being a non-asian, she probably thought that he would need more help to learn Chinese. It is quite clear that Friedrich did not feel the same way. While I am not sure if this is a result from culture differences, I do think that the directness in Friedrich's words could be due to his culture. According to an online source, Germans have a blunt communication style. He probably thought voicing out his honest opinion was innocent. However, the teacher was offended by it. Conflict could occur when there are cultural differences in communication styles. In some culture, it is better not to say anything if we do not have anything nice to say.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Interpersonal conflict involving modern telecommunication

Technological advancement in telecommunication bridges the gap of geographical distance and ease communication. However, can these inventions that bring us to be so closely knitted also cause a hitch in our communication?

I am sure many of you have the cross-platform instant messaging application named ‘WhatsApp’ installed in your phone and have ever utilized it for group project discussion. Below, I will be describing an interpersonal conflict, which occurred between members of a project team on WhatsApp.

The group consists four members and they are Shawn, Kim, May and Sarah. Kim and Sarah have known each other for a year and have worked together in a project prior to this project. They get along well. This project required them to submit a ten-page report and given three weeks to complete it. There were small disagreements throughout the period of completing the project but nobody showed their discontentment. Due to other concurrent deadlines, they could only edit the report the night before the day of submission. Only Shawn and Sarah kept their promises and went online to edit. Since both of them aren’t able to come to school to print and submit the report on the following day during lecture, Kim volunteered to print and submit the report. On the day of submission, May asked Kim via her personal WhatsApp chat to reprint the report because she had just made changes to the it. Kim did as told. After Kim had submitted the report, May messaged Kim to ask her to correct some inaccuracy in the report and reprint it again. Kim refused to do so and felt like she was being bossed around. May then messaged the group chat and this is how the conversation goes:

May: Is anyone in school to print the report?
Sarah: Isn’t Kim going to print it?
Kim: I have printed and submitted it. But May wants me to reprint it at the last minute. This will be my third time printing it! May didn’t even tell me where the error is. How am I supposed to find it?
Sarah: I think just submit whatever you can.

May left the group chat at that moment as she felt Kim’s complaint was uncalled for and put her in a bad light. Since then, May and Kim have been avoiding each other. How do you think May and Kim should have better handled the situation?