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Practical experience is as important as theory in fields such as education and nursing. Reflection on that experience helps you to make links between theory and practice, integrate new knowledge with previous knowledge and develop your understanding. Reflecting on and learning from your experiences, including your mistakes, can help you to avoid repeated mistakes and, at the same time, identify successful aspects of an experience and principles which might usefully be applied to other situations. Reflection provides the opportunity to make sense of and learn from any experience and handle similar situations appropriately another time. It gives you the chance to explore thoughts and feelings, work through difficult or painful experiences, develop self awareness and fresh insights. It can help you to get away from routine, automatic action and make conscious and informed decisions after weighing up all aspects of a situation.
Reflection may take place at different times:
Reflective writing is largely concerned with looking back - but with a view to the future.
To be effective and constructive, reflective writing needs to go beyond description of events and your own associated feelings. You need to:
Because reflective writing involves personal analysis of personal experience and feelings, it is acceptable to use the "first person" – i.e. to describe what "I did" and how "I felt.) However, the style should not be too informal and the tone not conversational.
Several frameworks have been developed to help carry out the process of reflection in a structured way. Some of these are described by Elizabeth Girot in Baillere’s Study Skills for Nurses (Maslin-Prothero ed, 2001). Students other than nurses might also find them useful. The following checklist of questions, based on three main questions, combines elements from some of these frameworks and could be a useful starting point if you are unfamiliar with reflective writing:
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Engineering professionals are required by their governing code of conduct to perform their duties diligently. They should ensure that the systems under their scope are functioning well. They should ensure that the projects are benefiting their users and the society in which the projects are located in. This means that the projects should address society’s concerns. A society’s concerns are based on its history and culture (Engineers Australia, n.d). This paper will evaluate the History of the Aboriginal people and its impact on the engineering profession from a reflective writing perspective.
From history I have learned that at the beginning of the twentieth century, some Aboriginal people were forcefully evicted from their lands and were resettled in the reserve areas. Aboriginal persons did not have access to quality government services such as education. They were discriminated from other Australians. Aboriginals were forced to work for foreigners for free. Apart from the free and forced labour, the indigenous did not get enough food. Later there were serial killings of the original inhabitants by the foreigners. This further spoilt the relationship of the foreigners and the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people viewed the foreigner Australians as enemies. It has been hard changing their mentality. The constitution didn’t have a definition of Aboriginal people, but rather it referred to them as “a race” or “natives”. They were forced by the government to work for just meagre wages which some of them never got paid (Hollinsworth, 2010).
Following a referendum in the late 1960’s, Aboriginal people were given the right to make laws for their race. This action empowered Aboriginal people to reoccupy their native lands and claim of ownership. In 1993 an act of law was passed which recognized the ownership of the land by the natives. The government of the time tried to minim use the benefits of this act to the indigenous people. However, the indigenous people still have somehow limited rights to ownership of the land. Miners and other companies intending to use their lands must first seek consent from the Aboriginals. The indigenous have the right to seek compensation for the use of land by foreign entities. They use agreements on the use of the indigenous land for the negotiations
The integration between the natives and foreign Australians came with a number of changes. First, I need to understand the language that is used so that there will not be any conflicts in communications. The aboriginals hold their traditions close to them and special terms have been developed to refer to a few contagious issues. The term religion is not accepted by the natives, it makes them feel colonized. A phrase such as creation or even teaching are used instead of the term religion (Hollinsworth, 2010).
Important to note is also the terms used to refer to a different group. Inappropriate are; Aborigines, The Aborigines, The Aboriginal people, Aboriginal, Aborigines, The Torres Strait Islanders, Blacks, Whites, Yellafellas, Coloured. Accepted terms are Indigenous Australian people/s, Aboriginal people/s, Aboriginal person, Torres Strait Islander people, Torres Strait Islander person (Brian, 2005).
Ethical practice of Engineering calls for upholding of the Australian code of ethics in regards to the profession. The ethical practice is influenced by how the Aboriginals have been shaped by their history. The Australians indigenous have come up with protocols relating to their welfare. The Aboriginal Act of 1976 requires aboriginals to accept only those organizations that are addressing their diverse needs. The Engineer code of ethics emphasizes on the importance of prioritizing the needs of the community that is affected by a project. This an engineer will have to discuss with Aboriginal people ascertain that the activities that will be undertaken by the engineer will address their needs (Brian, 2005).
Aboriginals Councils and Associations Act that was put into place in 1976 mandates the Community Councils to ensure that Aboriginal people live well. It also makes bylaws that should be followed by both the indigenous people and the foreigners. Engineers must therefore comply with these bylaws to enhance their harmony with the locals.
Aboriginals Planning and Affairs Act, which were made in 1972 requires that all the non-Aboriginals intending to visit the Aboriginal society seek authorization first before entering the territory. Engineers, therefore, should seek the permission to visit the area. They should further seek permission for them to be allowed to visit those areas that have been reserved for different purposes. They should get the permit from the Aboriginal Land Trust. If they don’t do that they will be regarded as law breakers.
According to Aboriginal Heritage Act that was created in 1972, all heritage sites that belong to Aboriginal people in Western Australia must be conserved. Any access to this cultural heritage must be authorized. Therefore, engineers should seek permission if they have intentions to interfere or access these sites. The engineers can access the information about the scenery in the related registers. If the engineers intend to use the online version of the register, they must first seek permission from the officer in charge of protecting heritage in Western Australia.
Engineers ought to be confidential in matters relating to Aboriginal people. The community would like to have foreign people who will not disclose about their sensitive issues to other people outside the community. To foster good relationship with the people, an engineer should abide by this condition.
As a way of showing respect to the local Aboriginal people, engineers should sit back as the chairman of the community introduces them in a meeting. The chairman will regulate how the meeting is conducted. The engineers should wait to be alerted by the chairman about the conclusion of the meeting and highlight the recommended next course of action.
Engineers should avoid taking alcohol in Aboriginal land. The behaviour is not acceptable in most communities (Brian, 2005). Even if they are not sure whether the act is against the traditional morals, they shouldn’t risk being perceived as immoral people by being drunk. This may destroy their reputation and risk being banned from visiting the land.
As an engineer who intends to do a project in Western Australia for Aboriginal people, I would make sure that I seek permission from the Community Council. I would also seek permission for me to be allowed to use the community’s heritage. I would get the Community Chairman to give me an insight of the interest of Aboriginal people. I would then seek information about the landowners who would be involved in the project. I would then ask the chairman to inform the landowners about my or company’s intentions to start up the proposed project. I would request them to organize a meeting where we would meet physically and also come up with a meeting venue.
On the meeting day, I would just attend the meeting. I don’t need to confirm about the meeting since I would have been convinced that all the people invited would attend. During the meeting, I would wait for the chairman to introduce me. He would be the manager of the meeting. Have the aboriginal person who would be assisting me in interpreting some of the difficult Aboriginal English terms. After presenting my proposal to the members of the meeting, I would expect them to give me a positive feedback. If there are members who are absent I would seek information about their lands since the locals know each other. Give them time to discuss the matter. I would wait for the manager to give me the feedback of the meeting and the way forward as proposed. I Would make sure that I give feedback as soon as possible on an issue that I have been asked. I would also make sure all the local people that are involved in the project are informed about the meeting’s agenda; especially the ones that would be in attendance. I would ask the chairman to email or call them to inform them about what was discussed at the meeting. I would write down what was discussed. I would then read out about what was discussed, allow further discussion and then write down at what was agreed.
Depending on the feedback of the meeting, I would seek permission from the relevant authorities to go further with the project. For example, I would make a phone call or send an email to the officer in charge of Aboriginal heritage to seek permission to access the heritage sites.
My assumption that all the Aboriginal people invited to the meeting would have inconvenienced me. In the event there was a burial function on that day I would have gone and be surprised at finding that no one else had attended the meeting. The understanding involves a long process of consultations with the locals and the relevant authority. The process calls for patience because its outcome may not be as per the engineer’s expectation.
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