Final entry for Warwick Skills Portfolio Award
My working experience as a teacher has inspired me to be a life-long learning person. Several objectives such as enhancing my English and improving academic and personal development skills are the main purposes to join workshops organised by Student Careers & Skills. Furthermore, I am also able to learn different kinds of teaching style and get to know friends from other departments. Against this backdrop, I decided to commit and achieve the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award (WSPA).
In this final entry blog, I would like to share my learning journey into three different parts, which are academic skills, personal development skills and leadership skills. I am going to share specific skills under the respective part.
Being a student and having university life after working for 10 years is quite difficult to focus on the academic things particularly reading and writing skills. The first academic workshop that I joined was reading and note-making. Joining the reading and note-making workshop was the best decision to refresh certain skills that I need to gain as a student. Several action points have been very helpful for me to start my learning journey. At the beginning of my learning journey, I was so excited about many interesting topics either from the books or journals to be explored and read. However, I found difficulties how to choose and organise my readings. After joining the reading and note-making workshop, one powerful action plan to solve my difficulties is to organise my readings by making an efficient note and organising them using correct referencing system. As a result, I have been familiar with the referencing system at the beginning of the autumn term, and easier to find and choose a topic for my assignment.
The second academic workshop that I joined was speedy reading. I realise that reading has been one of my weakness and hoping that some reading strategies will help me to read faster and better. Several reading strategies which are part of my action plans namely using a pointer, reducing sub-vocalization and avoiding skip-backing during my reading have helped me a lot to focus on my reading and even more increase my reading speed.
Introduction to critical thinking and developing critical thinking workshops were the last two academic workshops that I joined. However, I ended up with writing the reflection of these two workshops into one blog only. The action plans regarded to critical thinking have helped me very well in my writing skills. Applying the critical way process helped me to arrange my essay better particularly the logical order, purpose and key information of the writing. Another action plan, which helped my writing, is balancing my essay with presenting different perspectives between advantages and disadvantages of a topic. The third action plan has helped me to be more a critical person when reading a book by checking the published year and its references in detail.
Personal development skills
The introduction to skills development and the Warwick skills portfolio has created an opportunity to complete a self-assessment. I was quite surprised to know the result of some of the personality tests as I found that some of my personal characteristics have changed and improved. However, the tests showed that there is a room of improvement for me to be a more reflective person. Then, I decided that achieving the WSPA and writing a blog could be a way for myself in improving myself to be more reflective. In fact, it did helped me a lot as the WSPA system accidentally made me to think and write about particular workshop strategies which I can apply in my learning journey. By writing the blog, I was able to reflect on my own strategies which I had set up.
Another workshop related to personal development skills, which is emotional intelligence, has also assisted me during my learning journey. The quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt ("No-one can make you feel inferior without your own permission") has strengthened and motivated me to complete my assignments even though I feel down. Another test, Boston EI has made me aware that I still need to manage my emotional part better. Last strategy has worked well in communicating and expressing unsatisfied situation using first person.
My last two-year experience working in a school has requested me to lead school events and do several presentations. I realised that joining leading a group project and delivering effective presentation will help me to develop my leadership skills better. However, it had been difficult for me to apply the action plans and strategies as my course does not require any group projects and only require few voluntary presentations. Finally, I was able to set up and apply action plans from delivering effective presentation workshop but unfortunately it did not work for the leading a group project workshop.
Most of the strategies from the delivering effective presentations have been very useful to improve my presentations skills. The ‘pause’ before starting a presentation is a new strategy for me to attract and settle the audience. I also practice and prepare my presentations using facial and gesture. And, highlighting my presentation notes made me easier to track and emphasise several important points.
To sum up, all the workshops that I joined have contributed a lot to my learning journey. The strategies that I learned from the various workshops above have helped me to complete my study in Warwick University. Some of the strategies have emerged into my reading and writing habits. Moreover, I believe that most of the strategies that I have learned from the workshops will be useful in my future career.
Thank you, Student Careers & Skills!