January 21, 2011

Final entry of A3

Follow-up to The follow up on A3 from A way of growing; my choice to learn

Since the last time that I've written in this blog I have completed three essays, three of which I've applied what I've learnt from the program. I first tried understanding what is required of the essay question before tackling the potential issues of the essay. I then used Bloom's taxonomy to determine if my argument is at the level such that it is evaluational-al and that I have a well-supported opinion about the topic.

On the whole, I have utilized the lessons learnt from the workshop in understanding how I can approach my essay and present it.



Final entry for P7

Follow-up to Organizing ourselves and our time from A way of growing; my choice to learn

Deadline for final entry? 18th January 2011. Date of submitted entry? 21st January 2011. Not a very good reflection of the program. But again like the last time, I was prioritizing my other assignments before this entry. Admittedly I was in a sleep-deprived-induced coma since my last assignment was handed in on the 17th January but I think that was pretty justified. Then again, this exercise is not about finding excuses.

However, in the time I was given to implement the goals of the program, I think that I did a pretty good job. I did utilize the SMART methodology to clarify out objectives, and I clearly prioritized more urgent assignments ahead of others. The tools of macro and micro planning were really helpful, particularly since I have many applications deadlines and I prioritized which applications that I needed to start first. I was however partially successful with dealing with my time-stealers. They're addictive and I've managed to drop a couple of tv shows, but I still have quite a number. I was only fortunate that they have a season break that's long enough for me to catch up on my work. This is not a good thing and I should stop watching tv unless I deserve a good break.

Looking back this program really helped me to step back and look at the big picture: I had problems balancing my schedules, and a main source of this problem would be my addiction to television because of my preference for fictitious distractions as opposed to the current weight-bearing reality. Interestingly though, for a point in time I actually did stop watching TV but I got caught up with shopping and scoring for sales. I guess the real problem wasn't television - it's my need to distract myself in any way possible. This is not good because it stands in my way of completing my tasks and studying.

That is why I have learnt to adopt this approach where basically since I've made my own bed I'm going to sleep in it. Only I can change myself, and only I can stop this from spiralling out of control. I need to stop thinking in miracles that will save me from my own laziness. There is a reason why I need this workshop and it's to organize my time. And the only way I can do that is to plainly stop being lazy or constantly trying to distract myself. This will be my fight and my fight alone.


December 23, 2010

The follow up on A3

Follow-up to Trying to write a better essay from A way of growing; my choice to learn

This is embarrassing, but I hit a writer's block. In the end I abandoned that essay and wrote my contract essay instead.The contract essay regards a fictional case scenario where we identify whether our client is required to pay for the incurred cost that has resulted from his failure to acknowledge the clauses.

When approaching the question, I first understood what is required of the essay question. Then I tackled the potential issues brought by the case, such as whether there was a contract between the client and the company, and whether these clauses can be construed as binding. I admit I got a bit confused because technically, if the contract does not exist in consideration of whether there was an offer and acceptance, and if it is not even legally-enforceable through the doctrine of consideration, then you don't even need to bother to think about whether the clauses is binding because there's no legally-enforceable contract in the first place. But I believe that because my client signed a document acknowledging his knowledge of the clauses, this can perhaps make the contract legally enforceable. Anyways, it is from my understanding of what the question requires that I begin researching what constitutes as a legally-enforceable contract, and whether the clauses are incorporated into the contract.

From here I created a structure for my argument, where first I acknowledge that there is possibly a non legally enforceable contract. I then argue that the contract could be enforceable through the signature of the document. Then I argue whether the clauses were even incorporated into the contract. 

After that I used Bloom's taxonomy to determine if the level of my argument is evaluation-al, where I implemented my opinions about whether my client is bound by the clauses.

Overall, I did consider the lessons that I've learnt from the workshop, and they prove to help me be able to understand how I can approach and structure my essay.


December 22, 2010

The follow up on P7

Follow-up to Organizing ourselves and our time from A way of growing; my choice to learn

So far I have been relatively successful. Sure, there were a few hiccups where I had other priorities, such as bringing my parents to the airport,  but overall I have been pretty okay. I tried stopping my habit of watching tv, which was really hard, because I need at least one lovable episode of The Big Bang Theory to wake me up in the morning. Good God, I am so addicted...but at least I've cut it down to only watching when I've completed a task.

Anyways, the micro and macro planning tool does work. I have listed out the tasks that I need to do, and I have prioritized my academic tasks over other tasks. And if I don't feel up to the 'major league' tasks, I'll just do the minor tasks, so in the end my day hasn't really gone to waste. I know that this is not really the aim of the micro and macro planning (it's to help you prioritize your assignments) but it's pretty niffy.


December 13, 2010

Organizing ourselves and our time

Considering that I’ve just only managed to submit this article in lieu of my new dateline (13th December 2010), this does not bode well as to how I’m utilizing this time-management workshop. But since I was prioritizing my other assignments before this project, I think that my last-minute attempt at publishing my evaluation of the workshop is pretty justified.

This workshop is about considering the basic time management tools and skills, where we were taught about the different types of planning (from lifetime to micro-planning), the mayonnaise message (which is about how we need to balance everything, from our family to our workplace obligations), SMART (which is an acronym for clarifying our objectives), prioritisation, scheduling and finally, determining our time-stealers and, finally, adjusting our attitudes towards our obligations. Although this workshop is reminiscent of what my mom used to tell me, and what my teachers used to scream about at my class, it really helped me to step back and view the big picture.

As an active member of different societies and a law student, I have quite a lot of workload to balance with. My diary is one of my best time-management tools because it helps me remember all of the deadlines that I have. However, recently I’ve realized that I don’t always update it. And I thought back hard as to why it always seem that I don’t have time for anything. And the obvious answer is TV – I love watching TV. It’s a great distraction from the reality of pain, stress and pressure. But after one awesome show, I needed to watch another. I crave that mindless entertainment which makes me feel the senseless bliss that reality can rarely bring me. It’s indeed a drug that I can’t get rid of so easily. I’ve already gotten rid of like, thirteen shows. But it’s not enough. I need to stop trying to watch it once it comes out (which is roughly 3 a.m. UK time) I need to prioritize. That’s why I have utilized the workshop tools a la macro-planning, where I have listed the numerous deadlines that I have. Every time I look at it, I feel the rush of adrenaline. I’ve learned to not fight the fear and dread of looming deadlines. I embrace it. The adrenaline it gives me is a form of survival instinct, where every nerve of me is telling me to get off my lazy ass and run, and get on with my assignments.

In short, from this workshop, I plan to use the tools of macro and micro planning to set my head straight. I still have my doubts about lifetime planning because honestly, I don’t know where I want to go for in life. I want to be as flexible as possible. But of course, I did key in the important dates such as my exam times and dates when I have to move out of my house etc.


Trying to write a better essay

As the title suggests, this workshop entails teaching and reminding Arts and Social Science students the basics of writing an essay, and what is expected of us as university students.

The workshop first introduces us to the many basic types of academic writing, the approaches to understanding/choosing a topic and utilizing the sandwich paragraph structure, which consists of the topic sentence, supporting factors, and then finally the concluding sentence. Our workshop teacher then teaches us about Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy, which identifies a classification of levels within the cognitive domain and recognizes the different levels of intellectual behaviours that are important in learning[1]. In this model, we learn the very basic form of learning (ala recalling information) to the most advanced recognized form of learning: evaluating a topic and forming our judgements. We then translate this into our essays, where we were reminded about the core elements of an essay: POINT (the hypothesis), EVIDENCE (the supporting facts) and, lastly, ANALYSIS (process of examining the topic).

As a law student with a lot of essays on my plate, I really appreciate the value of this workshop. It reminds us that it is crucial to understand our Essay Question (EQ) and understand its critical aspects instead of merely assuming. It is from there that we are able to form a purpose in our research and thus create a structure of how we can present our argument and our views. In fact, I am applying the values that I have learnt from the workshop in one of the essays that I am currently working on, which entails discussing whether recognition, despite confirming the existence of a state, is not constitutive of a statehood in any meaningful sense by recognizing how a recognition may confirm the claim to statehood even though the conditions to achieve these statehood was not entirely fulfilled. When I was choosing the essay topic, I have chosen this particular topic by doing some research and asking the seminar teachers to confirm my suspicions about the topic’s aims. Although I believe that recognition does not identify the significance of the requirements of statehood, I was unsure how I can support my stand based on what I know. Hence, I am now organizing my research with the particular purpose of exploring my topic and supporting my stand, whereby I question what constitutes as a state and how recognition is achieved. I will then research for any real-life scenarios that will help me establish my claim. I will also, on a fairer aspect, acknowledge arguments that contradict my claim, although I will try disputing these arguments to support my stand.

With this in mind, I plan to utilize the many lessons obtained from the workshop in my essay. I plan to use Bloom’s taxonomy to determine the level of my evaluation/academic-writing, and the sandwich to structure my essay. However my first plan would be to determine what is required of the EQ, and thus organize the necessary research and the structure in which the essay is to be presented.



[1] 'Bloom's Taxonomy.' Academic Writing for Arts and Social Science Student, Warwick Skills Workshops. Gerard Sharpling.2010


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