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ARP 622: Communication & Group Process

Course Reflection and Summary of Learning

Danny Oliveira
San Diego State University


My learning in the Communication and Group Process course has been

best reflected in the Counseling Session Practicum. The Mock Role Play and
the Applied Counseling Experience Video provided an opportunity to directly
apply my learning in this course to real life interactions. Although I have had
professional experience as an advisor in Student Affairs, this was the first
opportunity to analyze my approach and skills in this important aspect of my
professional skill set. Having direct feedback from my peers and instructors
in the Mock Role Play confirmed that my experience in advising students has
translated to the skills and competencies required for this practicum. It
afforded an opportunity to reflect on the skills that I unconsciously enact
through my experience in advising students as well as the skills that I can
improve upon. The Applied Counseling Experience Video in particular
provided a unique opportunity to observe my non-verbal tendencies that I
can improve upon such as potentially distracting movements and note taking
that could potentially convey a lack of empathy and attention to the student
with which I am interacting.
I applied concepts and skills discussed in class by the instructors as
well as from the course readings related to interviewing, advising, and
counseling. I directly applied some of the skills and competencies of
advising introduced by Love & Maxam in their article entitled Advising and
Consultation. These skills included interpersonal skills such as active
listening through appropriate eye contact, awareness of body language, the
content and tone of words, verbal and non-verbal feedback, and


paraphrasing what the student communicated to me. I used effective

questioning by using open ended questions to draw out additional insights,
concerns, and issues that might not otherwise have been addressed.
Attention to my verbal responses such as continue responses, focus
responses, check responses, switch responses, and my use of open ended
questions further strengthened my skills in effective advising and
The practicum connected with many of the student learning outcomes
for the course. I applied basic theories and approaches of counseling to my
practice in student affairs. I developed my empathy and understanding of
developmental issues and life stressors that challenge college students. I
was able to respond appropriately to a student in crisis in the mock role play
activity. I communicated effectively with my colleague and a student whom I
serve in my role as an advisor in my graduate assistantship.
The practicum was especially connected to the program learning
outcome of Identifying ones own leadership strengths and identifying
areas of continued development (PLO 5). Through my observation and selfreview of the video as well as observations of my peers counseling sessions,
I have identified skills in which I can improve upon in my continued
development as an effective advisor. The practicum was also clearly
connected to the program learning outcome of Communicating ideas and
concepts effectively in written and spoken word (PLO 10). Effective verbal
communication skills are critical in advising and counseling students on a


regular basis in my career in Student Affairs.

This assignment was effective in addressing my personal goal of being
committed and fully engaged in my education and personal growth. I was
diligent in learning and applying the skills and competencies introduced in
the readings and class discussions. This exercise contributed to my personal
growth by reflecting on specific skills in which I can improve upon. It was
equally effective in addressing my professional goal of further developing my
skills and strengths in order to become a highly competitive candidate for
any professional position that I apply for. I feel that I am an effective student
organization advisor and will continue to refine my skills in individual
counseling and advising because of the self-reflections inherent in this
counseling session practicum.
This was an excellent course that is directly relevant to the
competencies and skills that will make me an effective and competent
student affairs professional. The team approach that the instructors used
was very effective in providing multiple perspectives on the concepts and
skills discussed in the course as well as multiple perspectives in providing
feedback to the students in the class on our various assignments and
exercises. The only recommendation that I can offer for improvement of the
course is the use of online storage tools such as Google Drive or Dropbox
rather than flash drives to share video files among students and instructors.
I was able to share my video with my mock role play partner as well as play
my video in class directly from Google Drive instead of using a flash drive.


This will prevent the technical difficulties that some of my classmates had in
playing their videos in class. It also eliminates the need to keep track of
hardware such as flash drives when students can share their video files with
the instructors for grading and feedback.