Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reed Pettys CRS 302 Fall 2010

Final Paper

Throughout my various Creative Studies courses I have learned more than what the syllabi have outlined. It goes beyond generating ideas, creative problem solving, and facilitation. The beauty of these courses including CRS 302W, is that they require and extract so much more from us students. It isn’t history or theory we are learning about, it is practical skills that we can use in ever day life; skills that will make us a better student, parent, employee, friend, and person.

This semester has been no different; I have again obtained new skills that I did not intend on discovering. Through this learning I also realized more about myself, and for this I am extremely grateful. One thing I learned is that I can work successfully in a team. For the longest time I was convinced that working in a group never really works. I believed that most team members would consistently drop the ball, and leave most of the work to one individual. However, this semester has shown me other wise. With my service-learning project and my feedback team, I came to the conclusion that a group can work successfully if all members are committed to the task. It all comes down to the performing stage of group development, the stage where all group members are focused on completing the task while maintaining a positive relationship with the other group members (Miller, Vehar, & Firestien, 2001b). My teams were committed and we did meet our goals. I can honestly look toward future group work without fear or apprehension.

Another thing I learned, which was not in our textbook, was that confidence can really make a difference in numerous situations. I do not mean cockiness or arrogance. I mean assurance in one’s self to be able to complete the task at hand. Referring back to my facilitation run –thrus and service-learning project, I came to realize that confidence is key. Being so new to facilitation, these experiences really were “off the cuff”. I was learning as I went, but because of that I came to the conclusion that self-belief can assist in the process. Believing that I could push through even though I did not know everything about what I was talking about. Assurance is a state-of-mind that can be used in all situations to help complete a task successfully.

One other skill that this class has honed is communication. I don’t think our class talked about it much, but it is an essential component to facilitation. This is not to say that I didn’t know how to communicate prior to this class. However, it was something we used often in this class, and I no doubt progressed my skill level in communicating to a whole new level. Whether it was just in teamwork or in gathering data for our facilitations, communicating properly can make problem solving a whole lot easier. In fact, it is a skill that can make many situations easier. I learned that I now have the ability to communicate in any situation without struggle. Working individually with someone is almost effortless thanks to this skill, and addressing and working with large groups is something I no longer am afraid to do. I give kudos to the Creative Studies program for making me realize the potential I have in communicating properly.

My feedback team has also helped me learn more about myself this semester. Throughout the course, they gave praise on what they thought I was doing well. They also let me know what areas I could work on. More importantly, they were always there when I had a question regarding myself. They were there to help me, and I was there to help them. It was a mutual partnership that taught me a lot.

One piece of feedback that I received was that I’m a bit too introverted at times. My feedback team described my initial presence as shy. They observed that I was quiet and in the shadows at first. However, they did say that as the semester went on that I did come out of my shell a bit more. I completely agree with their assessment. I would certainly describe myself as an introvert, especially in the beginning of the semester. Introverts prefer to think things through and reflect before forming or stating their opinions (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2007). Whenever I start a new class or I’m in a new situation, I tend to be a bit more reserved as I scope things out. I like to observe my surroundings first before I act in any way. This helps me determine what is appropriate for that situation. Once I’m comfortable with my new environment, then I open up more. In the future, I could easily make more of an effort to be a bit more outgoing at first. Perhaps such a change will lead to something new and adventurous.

My feedback team also praised me in one area. Despite my shyness, they did say that I have a great stage presence when it counts. They noted that whenever I spoke in front of the class or in a group setting, that I seemed very comfortable in what I was doing. I attribute this to two things. One, all of the Creative Studies courses I have taken. This program has continuously required me to go outside my comfort zone and public speak. Second, is all of the theatre experience I have from high school. Being on stage really helped me develop the ability to conquer my nerves. These experiences have allowed me to be in the right frame of mind when I’m addressing a group of people.

One question I asked my feedback team, was whether or not I showed progression in my facilitation skills. According to Miller, Vehar and Firestien (2001a), a facilitator is the person responsible for keeping track of logistics, idea flow, and group development. This person does not contribute ideas or help converge on them either. In my first facilitation run-thru, I broke this cardinal rule of facilitation. I shared my own ideas with my client (the class). From that point forward, I was always worried that I would break the same rule again. Needless to say, I sought feedback in this matter. My team did report that I did not break that rule again in later facilitations. Not only was I glad for their feedback, but I also was glad to use them as a resource for my own inquiries.

Overall, CRS 302W and all of the Creative Studies courses I have taken, have far exceeded my expectations. I learned the creative problem solving process, I practiced facilitation, I studied various leadership theories, and I even created some things in the process. More importantly, I learned more about myself. I realized my potential, witnessed my strengths, and identified areas I need further work on. This class and the program have pushed me as a creative being, a leader, and have ultimately made me a stronger and more skilled individual.


Komives, S.R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T.R. (2007). Exploring
leadership: for college students who want to make a difference
San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Miller, B., Vehar, J., & Firestien, R. (2001a). Creativity unbound an
introduction to creative process
. Williamsville, NY: Innovation
Resources, Inc

Miller, B., Vehar, J., & Firestien, R. (2001b). Facilitation a door to
creative leadership
. Williamsville, NY: Innovation Resources, Inc.

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