All entries for Friday 13 April 2012

April 13, 2012

Follow up on Leading a Group Project

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

1. Remember that leadership styles operate on a continuum and recognise when and where the most appropriate style is applicable and adapt accordingly.

Having joined the leadership scheme I have further developed this understanding, becoming aware of what style best suits me and practised adapting my leadership style in role play situations, for instance, getting the most out of even the most quiet. During my academic group work I have also worked in a large variety of groups with many different skill sets and as a result have had the opportunity to learn which style is most appropriate. When there are strong characters in the group who like to actively contribute to discussion and the direction of work, I find it best to adopt more of a co-ordinator style of leadership. Then, when the group is less willing to contribute openly, a more autocratic, but fair delegation of work helps to keep the whole group engaged and involved.

2. Remember to get to know group members or at least their preferred roles, experience or skill sets.

Having worked with and got to know the majority of the class by now, it becomes easy to overlook the importance of this step. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand each others strengths and weaknesses and often the preferred roles and skill sets are volunteered at the start of such group forming stages, making the delegation of work easier and more efficient. 

3. Familiarise and understand the task before delegating and setting ground rules which must be achievable and realistic.

This is again another important stage of group work, which when subject to time constraints can become neglected. Despite this, throughout my academic group work so far, I have made the conscious effort to set aside an evening or so before the group begins work so everyone has the chance to familiarise themselves with the tasks set. This has helped to improve understanding and work efficiency and is therefore something I will try to maintain. It is also important to note that it is never too late to take a step back and evaluate the progress or relevance of the work generated, as this is where problems can be resolved instead of ignored. In terms of ground rules, the most productive has been that everyone attends each group meeting. Where the work delegated can be completed and then the individual contributions pulled together as a group, to ensure full and visual participation. 

Follow up on an Introduction to Academic Writing at Masters Level

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

1. I will remember to remain passive in my writing style to display an evaluative and critical approach to my arguments in essays.

Although at Masters level we are asked to present our own original analysis and interpretation of the information we present it is still important to remain passive. Therefore, through a conscious effort to do so I believe this has helped to improve the quality of my work and writing style as reflected in my feedback, such as 'a mature and comprehensive review.' 

2. I will include more precise, articulate language and avoid vague, broad vocabulary such as 'interesting' and 'good' to maintain an accurate and concise academic style.

This is particularly important to me as I often have tight word limits in which I have to provide a detailed discussion sometimes on a broad topic, whilst avoiding being too superficial. Through using articulate language and precise vocabulary this has helped to keep my word counts down whilst still effectively presenting my arguments, or critically commenting on scientific findings where the phrase 'good' would be too vague. Therefore, I will continue to make a conscious effort to apply this to my work.

3. I will try to critically re-read and revise work if necessary and include a wider perspective or purpose for the work in my conclusions.

To get around time restraints which may prevent me from fully re-reading and revising my work after I have finished an initial draft, I try to incorporate this into my work as I progress. Re-reading and revising paragraphs as the essay builds helps to keep each paragraph relevant and also means I have read through the entire essay several times to ensure it flows and the reader can follow easily. Including a final wider perspective or purpose to my conclusions was also an important point I found really useful when finishing essays, as it gives me the opportunity to summarise my own opinions, providing further evidence of the originality and understanding needed, as well as reiterate the arguments presented.  

April 2012

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