November 12, 2010

An Introduction to Skills Development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio

On Friday the 5th of November I attended the workshop 'An Introduction to Skills Development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio' run by Han-Na Cha. I found the structure of the workshop was extremely good and I learnt alot about myself and my own working styles. It was also extremely interesting listening to other peoples' concerns as it helped me look at my own. I also enjoyed helping people and thinking about my own problems to assist them with theirs.

It was extremely interesting when Han-Na asked us which our preferred learning message was, she used the example of "if someone asked directions how would you prefer them to be given to you". This was an interesting way to approach it and in this situation I would have liked them to be written down in a diagram, when writing or revising I often draw pictures to make me remember them. Furthermore, initially when asked what learning style I thought I was I thought that I would have been a 'theorist'. After filling in the questions it was interesting to discover that I was in fact a 'reflector'. I scored 9 on 'reflector', 7 on 'theorist', 6 on 'pragmatist, 5 on 'activist. When reading the learning style descriptions I felt that the'reflector' description was an extremely accurate portrayal of my learning style. Other people who weren't 'reflectors' then helped me think of ways I could change and develop my other learning styles to make them stronger, and I in turn thought of ways that they could become more of a 'reflector'. As 'activist' was my lowest I was particualrly interested in the feedback that people could give me here.

In my own time I looked at the learning activities that suit my learning style (pg 22). I am aware that as a 'refelctor' there is a need to be able to dwell over things and this can often use up a lot of time, I am often aware when writing a essay or piece of critical work that I need a lot of time to investigate and research and this is not always completely necessary. I like to know all the facts before I get started and perhaps I would be better to get started and then learn the facts as I go. Under the heading 'You will find it more difficult to learn from activities where.... you are not given time to do a thorough job, struck a cord with me. I often get stressed and worried that something that I am presenting or handing in isn't to the best standards that I can do. As I do English Literature there is no write and wrong answer which means I can keep working on something forever if I wanted to. However, I have to understand that this isn't always the best use of my time and should let go after it has been submitted. 

I found it extremely interesting that Han-Na suggested that we should strengthen all aspects of our learning styles. Previously people have simply told me what learning style I am and I had thought that you could only have one. Obviously, thinking about it now, it is far more advantageous to be a combination of all four as you are strong in all areas. As I was weak in the 'activist' area I was keen to explore and develop how I could strengthen myself here. The set of questions that we were given in the book was a fantastic way  of exploring different areas where we could strength ourselves. I choose '33': I'm usually the 'life and soul' of the party. 

  • From this I am going to try and be more outgoing. At parties and gatherings I am going to set myself the objective of initiating conversations with people I don't know that well or maybe people I don't know at all. In seminars last year I made myself talk at least twice and then slowly increased this each week, from this I learnt that no one is unfriendly or laughs at you. Similarly, I'm sure I'll find this in socialising, there is always the fear that someone will not remember you or be rude, but generally this is a fear that everyone shares and once you talk to someone you realise this. At the moment I am trying to go to any activity or party that I am invited to. In keeping with strengthening my 'activist' style I am going to go without taking a long time to think things over. Once there I generally find that I enjoy myself.
  • I am going to make myself continue to go to salsa even when it gets hard or when my friends don't go, this way I will make new friends.
  • I want to strengthen my networking skills as I would like to go into Finance and this is a key aspect of the work. I am going to make sure that I keep in regular contact with people from home and people I met in summer.
The Skills Questionnaire clearly reflected the areas in which I am strong and weak. It showed that I felt that my communication is 'ok but room for development.
  • I am going to develop my communication skills further by attending a Warwick Assertive Class. 
Additionally, I was made aware that I need more knowledge about how organisations work and business acumen, and commercial awareness
  • This is extremely important for the summer internships that I am going to apply for and I need to look more into the finance sector, the competitors and attend more firm presentations.
I felt that this sheet was also extremely useful because it also highlighted areas in which I feel I have a strong skill set in. These are areas that I will continue to work on. The workshop was also interesting in the fact that it stressed reflecting on past experiences, this is something I have thought about before, and have a book that I have titled 'Lesson to Learn From.' From the workshop I can really see how important reflecting is because otherwise you can't develop or increase your skill set

The workshop was extremely useful and I will start building on my aims immediately.

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