Sample Paper on The Role of Education in Personal and Professional Development

Reflection

Education plays an essential role in personal and professional development. This enables individuals to develop their knowledge in different aspects related to their surroundings. it 9is through education that an individual can have the ability of relating different theoretical frameworks developed for academic purposes in the realization of the application of the emerging concepts in the external environment. These include the prevailing circumstances and the emerging issues. Furthermore, it is through education that students can be motivated in the selection of their prospective careers and in the development of personal and academic goals. In the psychology program, education plays a role in the development of skills and capacities on how to apply essential psychological concepts and theoretical models in their daily lives to understand the society and in their professional lives as a way of boosting their careers. The psychology program has enabled students to comprehend the expectations and the benchmarks that are integral in the development of understanding in their areas of specialization during and after graduation from school. It is through the psychology program that students can apply knowledge acquired in areas such as statistics research methods and ethical standards in the evaluation of different areas of interests. Upon completion of the program, it is possible for students to use the knowledge acquired in creative and critical thinking to assist in making objective decision in the discipline of psychology. My objective in the field of psychology is to pursue clinical psychology. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate how the above stated goals and objectives in the psychology program were met and their benefits in terms of application in real life.

Goal1: Application of major concepts, theoretical models, empirical findings and historical trends in the field of psychology in preparing students for graduate and post graduate studies and career opportunities in the field of psychology.

My interest in psychology began when I took introduction to psychology as a freshman in college. While pursuing this course, I was introduced to different concepts and theoretical perspectives, historical trends and empirical findings in the field of psychology. As I went further into the discipline, I developed the ability of applying the aforementioned for a future that had its relevance in psychology training. I have developed the ability to apply and utilize the skills and knowledge acquired on how to associate with other persons in the course Psychology of Personal Relationships. Through the course, I learnt to with my fellow students. In an attempt to become an excellent psychology student applying various ideas and skills learned, I was unable to ensure sufficient communication. It was during this course while at UMUC that I was able to adequately study interpersonal dynamics and how different relationship skills possess the potential of developing desired and undesired behavior among different individuals (Cohen et al, 2011). In addition, I was also able to understand different concepts on conflict resolution and effective communication. Furthermore, it was through this course that I acquired knowledge on how technological developments in the society have altered societal understanding of different interpersonal dynamics. The development of an understating on the best ways to communicate with different people has been essential in advancing my ability to ensure effective interpersonal skills and communication. The knowledge gained from this course can be passed to teenagers and other members of the society on conflict resolution and the development of healthy relationships.

Theories of learning were some of the most interesting perspectives that I learnt while taking the psychology program was the social learning theory as propounded by Albert Bandura. This theory was of interest because it focused on the role of the environment in influencing human behavior. According to this theory human beings are active participants especially in processing information (Ewing et al, 2011). This makes it easier for man to think of his behavior in relation to the possible consequences. This theory also stresses on the essence of observational learning which places more importance on observational learning arguing that it was only through a cognitive process that learning could be considered a possibility (Ewing et al, 2011).  I will be able to use this theoretical approach in understanding the way children learn by observing the behavior of those in their surround. The individuals that act as reference points for children are role models and the higher their levels of influence the higher the possibility that they will influence the eventual behavior. The role models in the society the best examples of behavior that children are expected to imitate.

Social psychology is one of the courses offered in the UMUC psychology program. This course offers knowledge of the social factors that define individual and interpersonal behavior. The information that the course provides is applicable in all social conditions that define any field of work. In the course of participating in the program, I was provided with a case study that involves the Abilene Paradox. This case study was relevant because it brought an understanding of how oftentimes it is possible to find people agreeing to be involved as partners in a given social context yet their wishes are contrary to their activities. This paradox is applicable in situations where a group of individuals agrees to participate in an activity even though none of them wishes to be engaged in the activity (Harvey, 1974). These individual often agree to participate in these activities because other members of the group have agreed to be part of the activity (Nicholas, 2014). Developing knowledge on how to cope with the paradox is essential when engaging in any social situation. According to the existing studies, one of the ways that individuals can use to ensure the development of effective skills is to confront members of the organization and ensure they receive feedback.

Goal 2: Application of basic knowledge on research methodology, ethical standards, guidelines, measurement, and regulations to design participates and evaluates research in different social contexts.

The psychology program at UMUC has been an effective learning platform in the application of knowledge of statistics, research methodology, ethical standards, regulations, evaluation and participation in different social contexts. In the course ‘Research Methods in Psychology (PSYC 300)’, it was required that I participate in a group with the aim of completing a project where the aforementioned was applied. The group was interested in numerical memory recall. It was from this topic that my group planned to conduct a study that could give information on who, between men and women could be better in recalling and repeating information, especially with regard to numbers and sequence. The objective of this study was whether gender can be used as a variable in understanding issues of auditory memory. Through the research initiative, we were able to review literature, collect data and perform an analysis of the data generated. The study was accompanied by a hypothesis that in normal circumstances, women more than men would memorize and repeat sequence and numbers more accurately (Scherr et al, 2013). In my first study, I had to conduct a literature review without a proper understanding of the requirements. However, through in-depth discussion with my group members, I have come to understand that literature review entails critical and in-depth analysis and evaluation of previous studies in a relevant field (Snyder et al, 2011). These include the study of books, journal articles and magazines from authentic writers and publishing companies. It is through this approach to research that I have been able to identify different study gaps within my field of interest. In the view of my professor, effective literature review was expected to surpass the reasons for selecting a specific topic of study. The study requires the group to abide by specific psychological guidelines, meet specific ethical standards and respect different regulations and laws as enforced by the American Psychological Association (APA).

For easy analysis, most of the data gathered through different research methods required knowledge acquired from Introduction to Statistical Methods for Behavioral Sciences (STAT 225). This was so far one of the toughest course that I had taken as part of the psychology program. Knowledge din this course was largely focused on the selection of appropriate statistical test and the determination of reasonable inferences and predictions for specific data (UMUC, 2014). I was also able to acquire relevant knowledge in a topic that involves central tendency, measurement variables, normal distribution, correlation, and hypothesis testing. Statistics permits psychologists to develop the best possible methodologies that can be used in the interpretation of data. The process of organizing data is essential in the psychologically field since it can be used in proving the effectiveness or efficiency of a theory in explaining a specific social context. The use of visual displays such as graphical representation of data, scatter plots, frequency distribution, and pie charts make it possible for researchers in this field to develop a better overview of the data collected and analyzed. In addition, it also helps in the development of patterns that might otherwise be ignored while conducting different research initiatives (Snyder et al, 2011).

Goal 3: Application of knowledge of human behavior to provide information on personal growth, effective communication, solving problems, making decisions, and interaction with other communities and organizations

The course, ‘Theory of Personality (PSYC 335)’ and ‘Introduction to Counseling Psychology (PSYC 432)’ improved my understanding of different aspects related to human behavior, personal growth, making decisions, problems solving and interactions with different members and institutions in the society. The main objective of PSYC 335 was to evaluate theoretical perspectives on personalities using traits, behavioral, psychodynamic and humanistic theories. The psychoanalysis theory was the most intriguing. This school of thought shows that all the perceived contradictions of the mind and behavior have solutions and that nothing is ever an accident. It was through psychoanalysis that it was possible to discover reasons that are hidden deep in the mind of an individual (Nicholas, 2013).

One of my favorite courses in the psychology program was ‘Introduction to Counseling Psychology’. The focus of this course was to provide mechanisms on how to counsel different individuals and groups. According to the course, in groups, participants are required to create families that were in need of a counseling session or a program. Individual counseling required every participant to create their own family members and then put these groups together. This may then be followed by a counseling session. Through these approaches, it was possible to counsel the clients as individuals and as family members. One of the most interesting aspects about ‘Introduction to Counseling Psychology’ was that it heavily borrowed from different courses hence increasing my understanding of different concepts and theoretical perspectives that we had learned in the previous classes. The related courses include ‘Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 301)’ and ‘Positive Psychology (PSYC 437)’. These courses provided an understanding that human behavior is dynamic and subject to change in relation to the prevailing environmental conditions in any social context. In addition, it was through such courses that the practicality of different psychological aspects could be easily understood (Duckworth, 2005).

Goal 4: Using creative and critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, appropriate technology and scientific approaches in solving problems related to emerging and current trends in the domains of psychology

The study of psychology surpasses the idea of the mind. This is because this field of study is intertwined with biological aspect related to human anatomy. Courses like ‘Biological Basis of Behavior (PSYC 301)’ and ‘Sensation and Perception (PSYC 310)’ provided insights on the relationship between biology and psychology. The process of understanding the way an individual’s body acquires and processes sensory information acted as a foundation for the development of elaborate understanding of the physical aspects of the human mind. This means that successful explanations of these processes will be realized through psychological and biological explanation. Possessing knowledge and information on different aspects related to reflex actions and other biological concepts related to sensory motor was essential. Furthermore, it is through this understanding that it was possible for members of my group to realize the relationship between different biological concepts and the theoretical perspectives and models presented in the field of psychology.

Inasmuch as it is possible to develop a biological explanation of human behavior, there are psychologists who disagree with these connotations. In the course ‘Positive Psychology (PSYC 437)’, explanations on human behavior were based from both psychological and biological perspectives. According to the theoretical and practical explanations in this course, positive psychology surpassed the idea of just being positive. This course focuses on a myriad of topics that are concerned with the wellbeing of an individual in terms of his or her mind in relation to the biological composition (Duckworth, 2005). This school of thought provided a challenge to scientifically based psychology considering that its main focus was on behavioral attributes such as altruism and gratitude. These are largely non-scientific approaches in nature but they can be used in explaining even the biological concepts and non-biological concepts such as the promotion of innermost happiness.

Goal 5: Diversity of values, different perspectives, tolerance to ambiguity, ethical actions and appropriate communication with various sociocultural and international populations

The psychology program provided at UMUC has brought with it additional knowledge on the benefits of valuing diversity and different perspectives. It was through this program that I came to understand and appreciate the essence of different theoretical schools of thought in providing an understanding of variety of aspects in the society. From the theoretical perspectives, it became possible to blend assumptions from different schools of thought and generate a better methodology of developing sustainable criticisms (Ewing et al, 2011).

Through the psychology program at UMUC, I have also been able to develop a high level of tolerance towards ambiguity. This is based on the understanding that clarity in the differentiation of learning theories in psychology for instance is often slim and this makes it possible to identify numerous similarities between different theoretical approaches addressing a specific topic area in psychology. The use of ethical codes in communication to different sociocultural communities is also an essential aspect that I learned when undertaking the psychology program in UMUC. This is based on the understanding that different individuals sand communities are defined by variety of cultural, religious and academic aspects. From this program, it is possible to embrace diversity while addressing matters related to counseling and clinical psychology. Different people demonstrate different behavioral traits and this means that the elements of objectivity and adherence to ethical behavior is crucial in ensuring that those seeking any form of psychological treatments are satisfied with the services that are offered (Ewing et al, 2011).

I have been able to use ample resources provided in each course. This is in regard with information and all other aspects related to the field of psychology. One of the major discoveries that I have been able to make while engaging in this program is that culture is highly influential and definitive of an individual’s personality and behavior. An aspect that is acceptable in one culture is often deemed unacceptable in another. This makes education a crucial component in the process of developing effective ways of analyzing behavior. The field of psychology is ever evolving and this makes it important to maintain open mind and the willingness to learn.

Conclusion

My decision to enter the field of psychology was based on my desire to provider assistance to women and children to live happier, productive and fulfilling lives. In addition, I also wanted to understand different aspects related to the human race. The psychology program offered at UMUC has exceeded my expectations concerning the subject of psychology. I have been able to acquire invaluable information, which I will be able to put into use when undertaking clinical psychology in my postgraduate studies and in my future career activities. Through the program have been able to understand and appreciate human race.

 

References

Cohen, D., Milman, D., Venturyera, V., & Falissard, B. (2011). Psychodynamic Experience

Enhances Recognition of Hidden Childhood Trauma. Plos ONE6(4), 1-7

Duckworth, A. L., Seligman, M. (2005). Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annual

Review of Clinical Psychology, 1:629-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.144154.

Ewing, J. C., Foster, D. D., & Whittington, M. (2011). Explaining Student Cognition during

Class Sessions in the Context Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. NACTA Journal55(1), 68-75.

Harvey, J. B. (1974). The Abilene Paradox: The Management of Agreement. Organizational

Dynamics, 3(1), 63-80.

Nicholas, M. (2013). Altruism and Gratitude. Unpublished manuscript. University of Maryland

University College.

Nicholas, M. (2013). The Psychoanalytical Approach to Personality. Unpublished manuscript.

University of Maryland University College.

Scherr, M. L., Dean, J. M., Parker, G. W., Rosenstein, R. H. (2013) Influence of gender on

numerical auditory memory recall. Unpublished manuscript. University of Maryland University College.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., Pedrotti, J. T. (2011). Positive Psychology: The scientific and

practical explorations of human strengths. Los Angeles: Sage Publication, Inc.

University of Maryland University College (2014). Retrieved from www.umuc.edu on May 5,