April 06, 2012

Final entry for Warwick Skills Portfolio Award

I refer the “Warwick skills workshops” as a great fortune to me and I am quite happy that I find it through Myadvantage at the beginning of my master degree study. I still remember that I was confronted by the language difficulty during my first time overseas life. I have to say that the six workshops have helped me a lot and improve my personalities in several ways. It is a real “portfolio” that get yourself exercised and the important thing is that you can choose your own preferred courses in the portfolio.

1.The first workshop I attended is the “Reading and note-making”. Lots of difficulties came cross in such a new environment. The workshop teaches me several academic skills in reading like how to speed up my reading and how to capture the main structure of an article more efficiently. I used the skills to write the memo when I read my work papers. After several practices, I can capture the main structure of a article more quickly than before and get used to the English materials much more better. On the other hand, I get several note-making method like “mind mapping” and “sub-heading” that I am still using now.

2.I got great pleasure through the “Delivering effective presentation” workshop and I strongly suggest one can attend the workshop if possible. Every foreigner might feel nervous when giving a presentation in a foreign language. But the tutor was really nice and tried to make a convenient atmosphere during the workshop. Actually there are many skills one can use during the presentation. I find some are really useful like “ pause at the beginning”, “well preparation” and “practice your pronunciation”. I used the BBC “6 minute English” to practice my pronunciation and it helps a lot especially when you follow the native speakers word by word. Still I attended the CAL class which also help me in speaking.

3.When I find it hard to dill with my course study I took the “Effective learning strategies” workshop to help me organise my major study. I got some valuable suggestions from the teammates during the workshop. You will always find many nice teammates and their ideas can absolutely help you a lot. The most meaningful action I did after the workshop was to write action plans for short and long term. Besides, group work is strongly suggested and it is really helpful if you can find someone to discuss during your study.

4.I took the CORE workshop later after several other workshops. It gave me a general picture of the workshop portfolio and helped me to decide which one to choose in the future. We talked about the purpose for taking the workshops and discuss the barriers to gain personal skills etc. The tutor encouraged me to try something new and do something that I really enjoy. Her suggestions are really impressive and I have done lots of interesting things that I have never tried before.

5.“Introduction to critical thinking” is the first workshop for my second term study. We made very interesting self introduction at the beginning and we were divided into 3 groups. I still remember the video “The moral side of murder” by Harvard which helped us to better understand the meaning of critical thinking. I built my own critical thinking toolkit in reading after that. I used it to make comment on my reading material and find the well-defined points of the article. I also find critical thinking useful in group discussion. One can easily benefit the group work by using his smart idea and critical thinking ability.

6.One of my friends introduced the “Speed reading” workshop to me. I was quite familiar with the tutor since this is the third workshop I attended by her. The skills I learnt are definitely useful. It helped me to break my poor reading habits like making circles on key works or pausing at some point to think over and over again. Nowadays, after practice, I can read several blocks of words and I have overcome some bad manners during my reading. I think it is the most useful skill for me since I have lots of paper works to read especially for my dissertation in the third term of my master programme. Meanwhile, it is still not enough for me and the most effective way to improve my reading ability is to read as much as I can.

I never think this blog can be my “final blog entry” and I do really want to take some other workshops. However, it is really difficult to find a suitable time to attend since we do have massive works to do for finance programme. The six workshops are like six different tutors that teach me different modules. I have practiced a lot and made several progress in reading, note-making, speaking and thinking. I believe this kind of thing is the most wonderful and valuable thing to do at warwick. The most important thing is that the skills I have learnt will form into habit and help me in the long run.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the tutors of the workshops. Thanks for their patient tutoring and thoughtful guidance. Meanwhile, many thanks for those classmates during the workshop and they really gave me many smart ideas and valuable suggestions. It is a great pleasure to become friends with some of them.

April 05, 2012

Final entry on Speed reading

Workshop Tutor: Han-Na Cha

My feeling towards the English reading has changed a lot since I came to warwick from strangeness to happiness. The ?speedy reading? workshop has definitely helped me change the feeling. For a foreigner, it is a really difficult stuff to totally understand the English deeply. What I had trying to do is just to understand the literal meaning of the reading materials.

However, this is the basic thing I need to do. Among this kind of language skills, reading quickly is quite important to get hold of a foreign language.  Under the guide of the tutor, I have overcame several bad habits of reading and built my own reading techniques. I tended to mark on the words when I am reading and think about the structure of the sentence over and over again. I tried to overcome this since it is not a sensible way to read a long journal or article. I also tried my best to prevent back-skipping and it really save me a lot of time.I think I have already built my own way in reading. Every time I get a reading material, I always slow down for the introduction part to get an overview of the whole article. I like to write down the key words at the blank area at the side of the graph. This kind of method makes me easier to locate the important points I want to review.For my major, there always many more things to reading and there is not always enough time to finish them. After I attended this workshop, I have learnt from other classmates?? and get more skills from the native English speakers.

However, there is still many more things I need to improve. For example,  I still need to be paused over a little bit after I finish reading some lines of the reading material and think the Chinese meaning over and over again. Actually the best choice should be think in English without translation. Besides, it is difficult for me to understand the compound sentence and may need time to separate the sentence which will spend lots of time.

It will be a long journey to improve my reading ability. My short term plan is to reading the FT(financial times) newspaper everyday and try to make it easier to understand the professional reading materials. Besides, I will use my major??s reading materials of the dissertation to better speed up the reading. The long term plan might be reading some English poetry or literature materials.

October 25, 2011

First entry on Reading and note–making

Workshop Tutor: Han-Na Cha


This is the first workshop I attend after I came to Warwick. As an international student, I come across my difficulties in a completely new environment. This workshop did help me a lot with academic skills.

During the workshop we discussed several issues regarding the reading and not-making skills including when, why and how to make notes, special tips along with dos &don??ts when you making notes. Besides, we talked about four reading methods and how to improve a reader??s ability. Opinions were exchanged and some tips from the smart guides do help a lot to me. I like the atmosphere of the class, people seat around a table and can share the opinions from others and lesson to the tutors at the same time. I think it is a better way to absorb the knowledge.

I used to make notes with ?linear with sub headings? method. However, after this class, I am going to fix it with ?mind mapping? format since the sub headings usually go out of order after I made them. I have learnt from my group that use a tape to record the lectures will help a lot especially you can not understand the tutors. I am going to use a recorder and hope I have time to review the tapes.

To sum up, it is really a wonderful style to compile different skills and improve personal competencies. I hope I could get much more opportunities to attend these kinds of workshops.


  1. Perfect my note-making method:

    I used to use the ?linear with sub headings? method to make notes. However, I found it out of order after I review the notes. After learning from the workshop, I am going to fix it with ?mind mapping? so that I could make the sub headings more organized and easy to recall.

  2. Exercise my reading speed:

    I learnt some tips to improve the speed of reading during the class and I am going to use it in my daily study. First of all, I will print the material off my computer screen, especially the content in the seminar. Secondly, I try to count the time every time I make a fast reading and try to summarize the key points of the article. Thirdly, after several practices I will try to come up with my own techniques of reading so that I could use it in every reading.

  3. Write in English instead of Chinese:

    I was used to make notes in Chinese. However, it will do harm to the language learning since I need to shift frequently between thinking in English and Chinese which will drop down the efficiency of language learning. So try to think in English and make notes in English.

To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills/masters/what_we_offer/workshops/academicskills/a1/blog

First entry on Delivering effective presentations

Workshop Tutor: Bev Walshe


I was hesitate to book this workshop the first time I saw it in My.Advantage, but now I can make sure that I have made a right decision to attend. Actually I feel nervous when give a presentation in English. As an international student, I find it really hard to express the thinking in English especially I am used to think things in a Chinese way. Thanks to the tutor that she made the learning atmosphere much more light-hearted so that I made myself to concentrate on what she was talking.


The most impressed skill l learnt from the workshop is that ¡°stop two seconds before starting¡±. I found it really a fancy way to relax yourself before a group of people. After that I can start my presentation in a confidential manner of speaking. Besides, I learnt the postures and the ¡°EFG¡± (Eye contact, Facial expression, Focus and Gesture expresses) methods during the presentation. Actually, there are lots of skills I have leant and I am going to practice over and over from now on.


What is worth mentioning is that giving a short presentation one after another is truly a wonderful way to learn from each other. One never knows how well he or she has done after comparison with others. As the result, I gain lots of tips from others¡¯ performance. For example, some of the fellows use the tools on the table and had a good communication with the audience. This kind of skill does help a lot to catch people¡¯s attention and help your speech a lot. Thank you all and especially the teacher.


  1. Pause at the beginning:

    Just as I mentioned, this skill do help a lot to relax myself and have a steady-going beginning. I will try to practice this skill at every presentation, group work and any other talks in front of a group of people.

  2. Preparation before every presentation:

    This is a systematic work and I am going to create a personal structure to help me organized the content I want to deliver during the presentation. This structure may contain the framework of the presentation, the tools I will use (e.g. PowerPoint and other aids) and the communication method I want to use.


  3. Practice the English pronunciation:

    It is hard to give a successful presentation especially when using a second language. For the international students, we need to improve our spoken English and try our best to imitate the pronunciation of the native speaker. I have found some web-sites to practice my English like BBC Online Learning resources. From now on, I need to make the time to learn the online resources every day and the plan must be hold on to the last.


To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills/masters/what_we_offer/workshops/ppd/p4/blog

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Most recent comments

  • Hi Chunze, It has been a real pleasure to be one of your tutors and also to see your progression as … by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Chunze, This is a really good final entry on the speed reading workshop. Thanks for adding in the… by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Chunze, Thank you for your final entry on the speed reading workshop and what difference it has m… by Han-na Cha on this entry

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