Assignment 1 Guidance
The first assignment is due
on April 27th and I thought that some guidance might help you
prepare. The first thing to remember is that it is 1000 words long (it can be +
or - 10% so anywhere between 900-1100 words. The reference list is not included
in the word count, but everything in the body of the text is, including in-text
citations. Anything that is in an appendix is not counted.
The assignment is asking you to select a critical
incident drawn from your experience of coaching
or mentoring and analyse it against a model of reflection such as Tripp's
critical incident analysis or similar. There are many ways to approach this
task, so I offer a structure below as a suggestion only. You are free to
respond to the task any way you feel fit, as long as you are addressing the
learning outcomes, so don't feel obliged to use this structure:
What is a 'critical incident'?
'A critical incident need not be a
dramatic event: (It may look very inconsequential to
others and you may not have deemed it critical at the time) usually it
is an incident which has significance for you- this significance may be
apparent at the time of the incident or following your reflection. It is often
an event which:
1. Made you stop and think,
One that raised questions
3. It may have
made you question an aspect of your beliefs, values, attitude or behaviour.
4. It is an
incident which in some way has had an impact on your personal and professional
learning and/or on your teaching.
In a teaching mentoring
situation, a critical incident might include:
an aspect of mentoring that
went particularly well
an aspect of mentoring that
relationship that you found particularly demanding
situation which increased your awareness, or challenged your understanding, of
social justice issues e. g. Equality and diversity issues
involving conflict, hostility, aggression or criticism. This may concern a
colleague or a learner.
Critical incidents may relate to issues of communication,
knowledge, treatment of and by others, culture, professional or personal
relationships, emotions or beliefs.
Critical incident analysis
When analysing a critical
incident, it is useful to ask yourself questions such as:
What are the key
elements of the situation?
Why do I view the
situation like that?
Would it be viewed the
same way by others?
You may find it helpful to discuss
these points with someone you can trust – or you may prefer to jot down your
thoughts. By structuring your responses around the bullet points above, you are
distancing yourself slightly from the issue. This may help you to think more
clearly and less emotionally about the best way to address whatever situation
you are considering.'
With only around 1000 words at your disposal you
need to be focused on the issue and avoid description other than the minimum to
explain the context. (If you deem the description of the critical incident to be
vital to your analysis then it can go in an appendices, it is a waste of words
otherwise) You should focus on the command words in the assignment
title - 'critical reflection.' In
doing this draw upon your reading so far, but don't include lengthy direct
quotations otherwise you will run out of words very
An important point to note is that the incident you
identify for critical analysis in this first assignment will be used as the basis for your second assignment too. The
emphasis in this first assignment is on identifying and critically reflecting
on (as in looking back on) its significance. When you come to the second
assignment you will use it as the basis of a critical analysis against the key
theories and models in order to develop your own approach to mentoring or
coaching and thus the emphasis is much more on forward looking (as in based on
my experience I will do this differently in the future).