June 05, 2012

Final entry for Warwick Skills Portfolio Award

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.

Academic skills

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.

Leadership skills

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!



January 29, 2012

Final entry on Introduction to critical thinking

Finally, I'm able to understand and apply most of the critical thinking concept and strategies particulary in my written assignment. Actually I've been familiar with critical thinking when I taught in my previous school, however, this is my first time to apply and practice it in the written form. The concept and stratregies taught in the workshop have been very useful to improve my writing assignment.

All my action plans have been really attached and blended with myself in my reading and writing activities. When I read any books or articles, I will check the author, year of the book published and references list. Furthermore, I analyse the methodology and context of the journal that I read. In my writing, I try drafting key concepts in logical order and ask myself for the purpose and needed key information should be included. And, the last thing is to balance and include various perspectives from positive to negative point of views. Although, sometimes I'm still having difficulties for certain topics in applying this strategy, I believe that practices will make better.


January 08, 2012

Follow–up on Introduction to critical thinking

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

  1. I will apply the critical way process (purpose, audience, key information, logical order) in writing my assignment.

    This strategy has been useful whilst I'm writing my assignment. At the beginning of my writing, I just wrote the most important and needed information for my topic. Then, during the self proof reading, I started thinking the order based on logical order, purpose, key information and audience.


  2. I will prepare a set of challenging questions  or mindset when reading books and articles.

    I have new habits after applying this strategy when reading a book. My old habits usually just read the title and interesting parts. However, my new habits due to this strategy have made me not only reading the titles but also the published year and contents. I also check some references after reading a book or journal more often to review and use some powerful resources directly.


  3. I will use different kinds of perspective either advantages/disadvantages or positive/negative when I am writing my assignment.

    Another strategy has made me aware when I'm collecting the sources of my assignment topic. To include the positive and negative opinion based on some journals in balanced. Sometimes I have tendency to allocate more on the positive sides to support my strategies. At least, this strategy has been giving me an awareness to balance and argue the both sides (positive/negative or advantages/disadvantages).



December 19, 2011

Final entry on Reading and note–making

In my final blog, I would like to thank for conducting a useful workshop in order to enhance my learning journey in Warwick much easier. I have been working for a quite long time and found difficulties to stay focus in reading lots of books, listening and understanding the lectures.
This workshop has guided me in developing some strategies in reading books and note-making for lecture and books. There are many reading tips from the workshop which have been applied effectively when I want to read a book, for instance scanning table contents, using a pointer to stay focus and setting a clear purpose. In addition, the most useful strategy given from the workshop is making a note together with the referencing system of a book. This has helped me a lot in organizing my written assignment since I have started earlier from my first book. Lastly, the sharing notes with classmates is one new thing that I have never thought about it even though it has not always been successfully happening for my case.

Final entry on Speed reading

Finally, there are many reading strategies given from the workshop which have been useful and effectively applied to enhance my learning journey. The workshop enables me to give an awareness whether my reading speed is too slow or not by measuring the read words per minute. This measurement motivates me to improve my reading skills. My reading speed has improved from 132 wpm to about 200 wpm at the moment. Sometimes the speed could increase or decrease depending on the content of the text which new concept or topic will make me slower in reading and need to stop and highlight it.

Most of my action plans are able to be used during my reading time such as using a pointer, avoiding skip-backing, highlighting and recording key points after finished the reading. The most helpful strategy for me is using a pointer to make me stay focus and it also improves my reading speed by tapping the texts in the middle of the article in order to skip unnecessary words. On the other hand, I am still working on to reduce the subvocalization when I am reading a book.
In general, all the given strategies and tips from the workshop have made my reading time more efficiently and enjoyable. I will continue the two of my action plans, using a pointer and avoid skip-backing and still need to improve on my third action plan, reducing subvocalization whilst reading.

December 17, 2011

First entry on Introduction to critical thinking

Workshop Tutor: Austin Griffiths

Introduction

Overall, the workshop has made me to have a better understanding about how to apply and practice critical thinking in my learning journey. The presentation and activities during the workshop has given simple samples how to be critical especially in reading texts which is an important key point as a student. The workshop has ensured me in term of writing my assignment critically such as types of process of choosing or writing our words (purpose, audience, key information, logical order) and having different points of view (argument and against).

Actions

  1. I will apply the critical way process (purpose, audience, key information, logical order) in writing my assignment.

  2. I will prepare a set of challenging questions  or mindset when reading books and articles.

  3. I will use different kinds of perspective either advantages/disadvantages or positive/negative when I am writing my assignment.

To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills/masters/what_we_offer/workshops/academicskills/a5/blog


First entry on An introduction to emotional intelligence

Workshop Tutor: Samantha Tarren

Introduction

I feel grateful to join the introduction to emotional intelligence workshop last week since at the beginning of the workshop, I was thinking to apply this workshop for my students. However, I found lots of interesting things that I can apply for my own learning journey in Warwick and my own career in the future.

The workshop has enabled me to understand more clearly about the concepts, benefits and impacts of an emotional intelligence. Some discussions and activities such as Boston EI questionnaire and body scanning have been useful for my personal reflection. Coincidently, the reflection part has helped me to improve one of my action plan under Warwick personal development skills portfolio.

Actions

  1. Based on the Boston EI questionnaire, I need to work on my emotion management part to develop my emotional intelligence better.

  2. I am going to apply a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt which is "No-one can make you feel inferior without your own permission". I believe that this quotation will help motivating myself better in my learning journey especially in completing an assignment.

  3. One powerful way given from the workshop how to show our uncomfortable or unhappy situation by using first person. This is going to enhance my leadership and people skills since I am the SSLC for my course.

To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills/masters/what_we_offer/workshops/ppd/p6/blog


December 16, 2011

Final entry on An introduction to skills development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio

This final blog has been able to help me in the process to know and understand my personality and learning styles. By understanding my own personality and learning style better, it will help better in enhancing my own learning journey in Warwick University as well as in my educational career in the future.
Even though I have done several self-assessment tools such as four temperament types (sanguine, choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic) and Multiple Intelligences test, I was surprised to know that my theorist style has been great developed when completed the 40-item learning style questionnaire given by the workshop tutor. However, at that time, I also become more aware of my weaknesses, which need to be more reflective. The skills development and Warwick skills portfolio workshop has been enable me to create three action plans that are easily applied for myself in order to improve my personality. The three action plans have been successfully completed.
1. I will spare 10-15 minutes everyday to reflect on my learning experiences or activities on that day.
This reflective time has been going more often than before and I use this time to plan and evaluate my daily activities. It has been helping me to be more thinker and calmer in handling different situations.
2. I am encouraging myself to achieve this WSPA since it will help me making a structured reflection on the blog.
The structured reflection on the blog enables me not only to reflect on this workshop but also to recall all the other workshops and record the key important points in the blog. Writing the knowledge and skills that you have learnt helps me to recall and review coincidently.
3. I am going to read and review some parts related to theorist and reflective characteristics of the learning styles questionnaire book given from the workshop.
By reading and reviewing the learning styles questionnaire book, I become more aware the positive and negative different types of learning style. Since my learning style is weak in reflector, I have made some strategies to improve on it. For example, I allocate certain time to reflect myself what I have gained and not yet gained within a week and read the appropriate papers more carefully before joining some activities or implementing some action plan. Although sometimes it is quite diificult for me to do it since it's not my natural habit, I found that it helps me better in organising my activities.

December 13, 2011

Follow–up on An introduction to skills development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio

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

It has been a good christmas break for me which enable me to have more time to reflect what I have done so far from the beginning of term 1. My action plans have been going well even though sometimes it's difficult to manage my time in spending self-reflection time,  social time and assignment progress time. 

At least two of my action plans have been progressing especially the written reflective blog that reminds me to be more reflective. I keep motivating myself to evaluate several situations so that enable to reflect and improve further actions in my learning journey.


December 12, 2011

Follow–up on Speed reading

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

To some extent, I have improved my reading skills particularly in increasing the speed and understanding the text. So far, I have been more confident to tap and read the texts from the middle rather than word to word which might be time-consuming. The skip-backing strategy has been very useful for my reading time. As the tutor's suggestion in my previous blog, I stop and record some important learning topics using different ways such as highlighting the texts or typing them in my laptop.

On the other hand, I am still struggling to reduce the subvocalization in reading the texts. I tried to eat some snack when I was reading a book last week but in fact I lost my concentration. I can't try chewing the gum as suggested by the website and tutor since I don't really like it. Hopefully, I can find more powerful strategies to reduce the subvocalization.


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  • Hi Maria, A satisfactory final blog entry on the WSPA, that could have benefited from more evidence … by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Austin, I've been working in an IB school which is implementing critical thinking in our teaching… by on this entry
  • Hi Maria, I'm glad you have found the workshop and follow–up action points useful. What you say abou… by on this entry
  • Hi Han–Na, I have revised my blog and hope it's fine now. Cheers, Maria by on this entry
  • Hi Maria, Sorry for the delay in commenting on this entry. I missed it just before I went on holiday… by Han-na Cha on this entry

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