All entries for Monday 13 December 2010

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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  • It's always worth remembering that variety, not turmeric, is the spice of life. by Sue on this entry

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