Connecting with carnival: Developing critical business education through reflective writing

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

In response to recent criticisms, and following a sustained effort by Critical Management Scholars, business education, especially the MBA, is increasingly taking seriously the idea that it needs to enable students to develop the capacities of critical and reflective thought. One method in particular is suggested as meeting this end; reflective writing. The aim of this current paper is to consider if this method lives up to the promise of developing critical and reflective corporate citizens. Using a body of critical theory on reflective practice, I argue that reflective writing as done by students tends to be a Truth posing exercise. This is insufficient to the end that critical scholars envision. My aim with this paper is to introduce a new form of reflective writing. Drawing on the based on Bakhtin’s (1984) notion of carnival, I argue for a dialogical text in which different voices and perspectives jostle and claim that this is productive of texts that grant autonomy to the reader to make meaning. This form of writing is more conducive to the constitution of ethical and critical thinking than are the current Truth books (Masschelein, 2006) that dominant reflective writing. I illustrate this through my experiences introducing reflective writing in an undergraduate accounting unit and to an MBA. I argue that the latter is more dialogical and carnivalistic as the reflective writing is a joint effort.

Keywords: reflective writing, business education, MBA, reflective practice 

Connecting with carnival: Developing critical business education through reflective writing

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Pollard, Vikki