All entries for November 2011

November 17, 2011

First Entry on Developing Your Critical Thinking at Masters Level

Tutor: Austin Griffiths

Date: 8 November 2011

The workshop began with an introduction to the concept of critical thinking and why it is such an essential skill when it comes to academic writing. After a short discussion, we came to the conclusion that there is no difference between undergraduate and postgraduate critical thinking. The only difference lies within the fact that undergraduate studies are more structured, whereas postgraduate ones require a more thorough individual research and motivation.

The basic topics covered by the workshop were:

  • Questioning and Hypothesis
  • Arguments and Issues
  • Assessing Journal Texts

The first exercise that we were assigned was to write down in papers words that would illustrate what do we like/dislike about ourselves, why do we think others like/dislike about us. Then, we were supposed to pick a hypothesis and justify it based on the data given, which we had to critically analyze them as to if they wereBias or reliable, and which methods were used.

Secondly, we examined the case of The Queen Vs. Dudley and Stephens, from which we were to summarise the moral issues that arose (Murder, Cannibalism, Consent, Utilitarianism, Sanity) and analyse them in accordance to the potential decisions of the court(guilty, not guilty, guilty but, not guilty but).

Finally, we were taught how to filter surveys' data and findings. The survey conducted was onself-esteem of pupils in schools for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties: myth and reality (Swinson 2007) Picking one of the two methods used, we were asked to comment on any bias, reliability/validity and methodology, identifying strenghts and weaknesses.

The workshop was highly challenging for me as, having completed my undergraduate studies in a different educational system (Greece), I had never been taught how to apply critical thinking on my academic writing. Although I probably should have attended the "introduction to critical thinking" workshop to gain a spherical knowledge on the matter, I found this one extremely valuable.


1. To filter information I read in Journals- not to take any conclusion reached as a fact

2. To apply the methodology mentioned above when it comes to justifying a hypothesis in my academic writing

3. Pay specific attention to the sample used in any research conducted. It is likely that the sample is not representative of the population for many reasons. In some cases, the conclusion reached might me invalid.

November 10, 2011

First Entry on Effective Seminar Participation P5m

This workshop was such a surprise! Even though it was 3 hours long and on a Monday evening, I did not even realise where the time had gone. The tutor, Bev Walshe, was absolutely fantastic. Direct, humourous, expressive; there was no way anyone could get bored during this workshop.

At first, she let us socialize in a free way so that we had to know something special about the new people we were supposed to get to know with (e.g. Antonio is a professional guitarist).

Secondly, she introduced us to the concept of body language, giving vibrant examples and letting us comment on each case. I never thought that I could actually pass so many messages, subconsiously or not, via my body language.

Thirdly, she showed us how to be and look confident using our moves and voice. As she said, it doesn't matter if we are small in size. We can raise our voice, and make our presence obvious.

This was the point when I started thinking... "what do all of these things have to do with seminar participation?"

However, my concerns were eliminated by the excercise that we were assigned. We had to form couples, read a small presentation and try to come up with effective ways of presenting the information given to us in an effective way, according to what we have been taught before. We had to make sure we keep our "audience" interested, and provoke their thought. That is why she seperated us in two groups - the one consisted of people who were to present their topics in a "round table" and the other consisting of the observers. The observers' role was very important because they monitored if the presentors were actually effective, as well as the audience's reactions.

At this point, Bev told us that what makes a seminar effective is not only the presentor but also the people in the auduence. They have to look interested and using their face expression, they have to encourage the presentor to perform with confidence.

This was indeed the most useful and interesting workshop I have ever been to, and that is probably thanks to Bev Walshe.

Action Points:

1. I will always try to keep my hands off my pockets whenever I present something otherwise that could imply that I am in an awkward position

2. I will always look any person that present their ideas, in the eyes and try to encourage them with my face expression

3. I will gain confidence inside of me, when making a presentation, so that the people listening to me become interested as well

November 02, 2011

Initial action points for reading and note making

Follow-up to First entry on Reading and Note–making from Chrisa's blog

1. Start using the Cornell method for Note Making

2. Practice on skim reading, as it seems very practical

3. Try to manage my time more effectively, when it comes to reading

November 2011

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