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Practice Learning Reflection (PL2 Assessment)

This reflective account will document the professional competence I have developed in my year 2 placement with Man On! Inverclyde, whilst evidencing this by including materials from the work I have engaged in throughout this time and theorising my learning. I will conclude the reflection by giving consideration to my long-term goals for 3rd year and identify how I believe I can achieve this. For this reflection I will evidence how I believe I have facilitated and promoted community empowerment whilst developing as a reflective practitioner.


My 2nd year placement is with Man On! Inverclyde, a grassroots community group that I founded in early 2020 due to my feelings of injustice around how health and social inequalities were having a devastating impact within my community of Inverclyde. Dorling (2010: 320) stated “everything it takes to defeat injustice lies in the mind, so what matters most is how we think” and this resonates with me in regard to the passion I continue to have for impacting change locally. Local and national media continually report negative press regarding Inverclyde, including headlines such as “drug deaths at 10 year peak”, and the latest instalment that “Inverclyde is the most deprived area in Scotland” as per SIMD records.


As a community worker I have the regular opportunity to witness first-hand the level of deprivation, lack of investment and lack of employment opportunities within our area. This combination can lead to a fatal lack of hope for some and has been this way since Thatcherism ripped the heart out of the Shipyard industry that previously allowed Inverclyde, a proud working-class community, to thrive. I shared my passion, stories and ideas with like-minded local people to try and bring about action with my plans for the grassroots movement. Ledwith (2020) states that “without collective action there is no change…together we can change anything”, and this represents the first stages of my development within Man On! Inverclyde, notably linked with the CLD competency “facilitate and promote community empowerment”.


The wider context of this competency evidences my professional development during this time, including “identify and manage community assets” through the recruitment of 18 lived-experience local volunteers during the lockdown period. Peter Senge’s “shared vision” theory is very relevant to my professional development at this stage, where our volunteer team came together with the common goals of wanting to make changes locally to the rising health inequalities we experience. Coupled with our shared vision and collective action, we developed as a team in the months that followed, notably through the global pandemic lockdown period.


The wider context within the same CLD competency is where I believe my next level of professional development occurred during this placement, particularly “analyse and understand power dynamics and decision-making processes” and “participate in decision-making structures and processes”. This is where I believe that I started to really focus on my role as a leader and reflective practitioner within the community setting. Kolb (1984) defines learning as “a process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” and I believe this is in line with my journey with Man On! Inverclyde, whilst also resonating with Kolb’s wider thinking that this experience is transformed through thought and reflection. This is evidenced through a learning cycle model that relies on both experiences and reflection, which is where I firmly believe my professional development has improved.


I often reflect on decisions made within the group and evidence this particular competency through creating a democratic committee sub-group within Man On! Inverclyde, made up of members of our volunteer team. Schon (1983) developed two strands regarding reflection “in-action” and “on-action” and this also falls in line with my beliefs around being a reflective practitioner. This is evidenced particularly “on-action” where we would meet every 6 weeks as a committee group to debrief on recent events, whilst trying to build new ideas to move forward with. I personally use “reflection-in-action” as events happen, whilst drawing on previous experiences to manage difficult and challenging situations, being guided by the knowledge and theories that I am currently aware of.


Although my placement for year 3 will need to be formalised, the current global pandemic continues to provide a number of barriers to access to the wider community. Bearing this in mind, I will use this opportunity to reflect on my developmental goals for progressing as a community practitioner with Man On! Inverclyde next year. I will focus on developing within the CLD competency of “organise and manage resources”, with the wider scope focussing on developing an understanding of planning, organising and managing resources, demonstrating an “ability to develop and plan programme activities” and “identify and access funding / resources”.


I think it will be very important for me to prioritise and planning a programme of activity within Man On! Inverclyde for the volunteers and the members. I am really keen to develop my role as a community educator and plan to deliver training sessions for our volunteer team. I also believe it will be an important juncture for Man On! in the community to continue to access essential funding after our year is complete with the National Lottery. I believe developing the competency of managing and seeking out wider resources will be key to the growth of Man On! and my growth as a practitioner. My passion for this service and addressing health inequalities locally will continue and I will keep sharing our story. Ledwith (2020) advises the importance of stories as being the start and end of everything as they provide a key element of explaining human suffering and human well-being together, whilst having the ability to drive forward the reasons why we need to make changes in society.


In this final section of the reflective account, I will showcase materials from the placement and discuss the significance of each to my professional development in year 2. I will also continue to reference my development plans for year 3 and beyond.


Figure 1 – Committee of Man On! Inverclyde

Pictured here are the committee members outside our Wellbeing Centre. This particular picture was taken by the local press, Greenock Telegraph, celebrating our success at being granted £9,978 from the National Lottery. This was due to myself and the committee working together to submit a funding application for the ‘Awards for All’ grant programme. This is evidence of my development within community empowerment and leadership within the community setting, whilst engaging within the “identify and access funding / resources” CLD Competency. This is a competency that I aim to develop throughout my Year 3 placement, where possible.


Figure 2 – Man On! Podcast

Pictured is the community Podcast that I developed with the volunteer team to connect with a wider audience during lockdown. This is evidence of innovation and features interviews from local people discussing their journey to recovery from addiction as well as featuring discussions and interviews with our local MP on the changes that must be made to address health inequalities.


Figure 3 – Delivering a presentation for International Men’s Day

Pictured is a tweet from Professor Ross Deuchar, UWS, advising that I was delivering input for an event to mark International Men’s Day. I had developed a powerpoint presentation to the delegates, pictured in the tweet, on the importance of community to supporting and developing community wellbeing. I discussed the importance of relationships with volunteers and members and reflected on my own personal journey to get to this point. Kolb (1984) would argue that the experience of presenting this will prepare me for future events, particularly after taking the time to reflect afterwards. Sharing these stories will continue to develop within year 3.


Figure 4 – Poverty Alliance Community of Practice

Pictured is myself and a group of local community activists engaging in discussion with staff from the Poverty Alliance in how we can make a difference to address the health inequalities faced within Inverclyde. Wenger (1998) argues that learning is a social process and that a primary vehicle for this learning is found within communities of practice. This has been evident within this as we aim to learn from each other, whilst aiming to create change locally with the support of the Poverty Alliance. This is an ongoing Community of Practice and my role will continue to evolve into year 3.


In summary, I believe I have developed as a community worker over the last year and have evidenced this through the different strands of important work I have been involved in locally with Man On! Inverclyde. I have embraced theories and influential community models such as the community of practice whilst developing as a reflective practitioner and understanding why by engaging with Schon’s (1983) theory on reflection. I am anticipating further growth in year 3 and looking forward to the opportunities, practical and learning, that are ahead.

REFERENCE LIST

Apple Podcasts. 2020. ‎Man On! On Apple Podcasts. [online] Available at: <https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/man-on/id1515056655> [Accessed 7 December 2020].

Cldstandardscouncil.org.uk. n.d. The Competences | CLD Standards Council For Scotland. [online] Available at: <https://cldstandardscouncil.org.uk/resources/the-competences> [Accessed 8 December 2020].


Dorling, D (2010) injustice: why social inequality persists, Bristol. The Policy Press


Kolb, D (1984) Experiential Learning, Engelwood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall


Ledwith, M., 2020. Community Development, A Critical And Radical Approach. 3rd ed. Bristol: Policy Press.


Lochrie, S., 2020. Drug Deaths In Inverclyde Have Hit A New Record For The Second Year In A Row. [online] Greenock Telegraph. Available at: <https://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/18946130.drug-deaths-inverclyde-hit-new-record-second-year-row/> [Accessed 15 December 2020].


Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner; how professionals think in action, New York, Basic Books


Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. 2020. SIMD (Scottish Index Of Multiple Deprivation). [online] Available at: <https://simd.scot/#/simd2020/BTTTFTT/9/-4.0000/55.9000/> [Accessed 7 December 2020].


Senge, P. et. al. (1994) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization


Senge, P., 2017. Peter Senge And The Learning Organization – Infed.Org:. [online] Infed.org. Available at: <https://infed.org/mobi/peter-senge-and-the-learning-organization/> [Accessed 7 December 2020].


Tnlcommunityfund.org.uk. 2020. Man On! Inverclyde Covid Response - Project | The National Lottery Community Fund. [online] Available at: <https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/grants/0020141510> [Accessed 7 December 2020].


Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.

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