McKnightTReflectiveJournal (2)

McKnightTReflectiveJournal (2) - REFLECTIVE 1 Reflective...

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REFLECTIVE 1 Reflective Journal Terrance McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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REFLECTIVE 2 Prior to taking this course, I naively believed that conflict could not be of any benefit to any situation or relationship; the word in itself had a very negative connotation. I thought I was avoiding it at all costs. But that was me viewing conflict as overt dysfunctional behavior on the border of chaos; basically, literal verbal or physical fighting. And because I have never been in a fistfight and can count the number of times I have had an intense argument with others, I believed that I had had a moderately conflict-free life to date. Part of this was due to my style of handling conflict; I employed an accommodating or avoiding style more often than not. This was not because I did not have concern for myself, but because I often have not cared enough about the issue at hand to challenge the positions of the other party(ies) involved. I am an African-American who plays sports. Both of these aspects of my cultural identity lends to me having a competitive nature; the former because of the direct, emotional conflict style of African-Americans, and the latter because of the “win-lose” dynamic that is innate in most sporting games. Additionally, I live in an individualistic country; I have in recent years begun to realize how much I do not take other people’s values, needs, or desires in consideration, regardless of the situational context. Thus, I compete more than enough, in my opinion, whether personal or professional, formal or informal, intragroup or interpersonal. This has resulted in me avoiding conflict, or what I believed conflict to be. Another factor is that I sometimes believed that I lacked the power needed to handle the conflict in an effective manner, or to even bring the conflict to light. I have an issue with this second reason. I believe that I have allowed myself to get pushed around at times in the past, by people who held more power than I, or of whom I granted more power to than necessary.
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REFLECTIVE 3 I now know that I actually confronted, and continue to confront, conflict on an almost daily basis, whether intentional or not. The caveat is that I can now appreciate the benefits of conflict, in terms of clarifying, critically analyzing and confronting issues within working and personal environments, and between two or more people. I would even venture to say that conflict resolution through cooperation is more common than through competition; this is due to the common enemies and/or goals of the involved parties. While I still cling to the competitive aspects of conflict instinctively, I have begun the process of altering my cognitive state when conflict arises, in order to provide an arena for cooperative measures to be fostered. I can identify and effectively handle conflict much better than I could three months ago. I was able to practice this skill set twice within the class – one likely anticipated, the other not.
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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McKnightTReflectiveJournal (2) - REFLECTIVE 1 Reflective...

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