All 5 entries tagged P6 Portfolio

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June 17, 2012

Final entry for Warwick Skills Portfolio Award

Final entry, in which I look back over my posts in an attempt to remember what went on at each of these workshops, spread out somewhat evenly over the year. Let’s do it chronologically, and conclude at the end:

P1: I suppose this is “An Introduction to Skills Development” in the same manner as “An Introduction to Topology”, this workshop stands on its own. I feel that the things I learnt about skills development as opposed to actual skills were merely side-effects of the process - for example, setting goals that actually have benchmarks with which they can be measured (a goal that I learnt several times over across all the workshops and may even only now be beginning to stick). In short, I feel this was more… solid than the meta-skills workshop I was expecting. Then again, the best way to learn the meta-skills is through experience, and you can’t really make action points about something theoretical - “I will make an action point that is measurable” doesn’t really work. I don’t recall SMART goals being empasized here, though (I believe they were in P6) and it does seem like a rather good place for them.

A4: This was the first workshop I attended that I was able to observe a positive long-term result from - the improvement of my ability to listen (and recall) (and learn). It was also nice in that I started something and utterly failed, instead succeeding in the harder task. As a result of my failure (and other things) I got hold of a memory book, which was certainly an enjoyable (and helpful) read.

P4: This was far and away the most enjoyable workshop, and the first I was willing to actively recommend attending (over, say, reading about things on the internet)! More like active training than a seminar (in concordance with the subject matter, I rather liked (and instinctively feared) the “Did you think you’d be sitting at a desk while I lectured you on presentation techniques?”). Bev was very professional and authoritarian from the outset; this was also the only workshop (I attended) that felt like one you’d actually pay to attend. I attended this one just before the holidays so the bulk of the improvement came from the workshop itself - even with that caveat, I think the gain was comparable to months of reflection/application from other workshops - it was very concentrated, and you could see the benefit on others during the presentations given.

P6: This was where I first found SMART goals - something that would probably have helped to come up in P1 (and if it did, to be more emphasized). It was also the first in which I had an honestly negative experience from a change (or at least one that I noticed) that made me fear, for the first time, that I could be doing real damage to myself, in the same vein as being indoctrinated into a religious order, or being taught to think critically about things without being reminded that you should also apply this to your own thought processes. I found I was suppressing my own sadness (and have been for years) but I could remember the previous day, when I was sad, and then I thought “perhaps if I take myself back there, I can recall the emotion”. And so I did, and it worked, and then there I was, sitting there, feeling the weight and then the worry hit me - this suppression was a skill I’d developed, it was useful, I wouldn’t want to lose it. So I suppose this is something the health of which we’ll have to agree to disagree on.

A7: Speed reading! This was probably the second most enjoyable workshop. It was interesting in that on attending I found that I was already using most of the techniques and - to my great surprise - I found that other people weren’t. I was honestly unaware that it was possible for people to read so slowly! I was hoping to increase my reading speed because it seems like a rather useful skill, so it was something of a downer to find out that I was already rather fast. Contained the excellent quote “I wouldn’t have thought you’d do much reading in Maths” (my library card begs to differ :P). Contained an important and obvious lesson (to get better at something, do it a lot). Learning the techniques meant I was able to help one friend with his slow reading, which is always nice.

A1: Attended this one after my lectures were over, which wasn’t the best plan. Still useful, though. Found a method that seemed obvious in retrospect, which is a nice indication it’s a good one. Came with the hint to make a booklist, which is a nice thing to have. Also introduced me to what skimming and scanning actually are - and I, who could already read quickly, had a hell of a time trying to put them into practice. Was I already doing them? How could I tell? Tricky business.

The workshop that I got the most from (discounting any reflection/blogging) was P4, followed by A1. The workshop that I got the most from reflection/blogging was A4: I was able to implement a slight change that lead to a long-term improvement that’s still going. In the meta sense, reflection was also especially helpful in P1 and P6, due to the side-effects mentioned as opposed to actual progress with the plan. Overall, I’d say that the side-effects that occurred as a result of implementing the points were more important and helpful than the results of implementing the points themselves - I feel I’ve learnt more about myself, my thoughts and my actions from them.

I decided to go for it on a whim, but looking back I don’t see any better (realistic) way I could have spent my time. The investment was comparatively small for the results obtained, and I’m glad I made it.

March 08, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: Reflections; an Afterword

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: An Amnesiac Discovery from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

Commentary: We begin with the second point, “I don’t feel sadness”, or at least its twin “I don’t remember feeling sadness”. It’s looking like this is a coping mechanism of sorts, with the final stage being “forget the problem ever existed”. We have the sequence: observe problem, contemplate reasons for problem, decide only own opinion matters, tease out explanation/learning, focus on something else, forget journey and only remember results. I’m not sure why it wound up like that. I can garner the feeling back if I try, but I’m not sure why I’d want to. I used to dwell on this sort of thing for days, which is probably why I expunged it: it’s not a nice thing, even if it helped me get my thoughts in order/focus/write. I couldn’t deal with it and had no idea where it came from, so I “dealt” with it by ignoring it until it went away. But here I am, dealing with depression through arrogance and apathy.

We then move on, linearly, to the first part, “why do I not want to do things?”. It turned out there were a lot of these: “there is too much to do”, “there is too little to focus on”, “I have other things to do”, etc. As stated in the overview, however, I noticed, went “huh.”, and then went for business as usual, so I can’t even be sure I was correct! I’m not even all that good at differentiating them, these reasons underlying the feeling. Also, remembering how I felt in the past is a trick for feelings as..specific as these.

Overview: Well, I solved one problem. Yay.

For the other, however, I was asking the wrong question. The aim was not “why do I not want to do things?”, it was “how can I make myself do things, considering my current state?”. Realising how I felt was the first step, but it is also important to try doing things in different states, in different ways, to find the most effective. As it was, I was reflecting, noting the results, and then ignoring them in favour of the “brute force” approach that worked reasonably well for a variety of feelings in the past, instead of considering a specialization.

So I suppose we have here a lesson: ask the right questions. Don’t split things into steps so fine you forget your own head - remember what the aim is.

February 24, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: An Amnesiac Discovery

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: Illness Interferes. Irksome. from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

On the not-working side: I did a lot of work this week. Unfortunately, it was all on the same thing, which I've been working on for about two weeks. I'd been putting off parts because I thought they'd be boring; they were (incipient boredom), but when my code didn't work I found I couldn't leave it alone - that the solution would come to me if only I stayed at it (unreasonable eagerness). After completing it, though, I feel somewhat burnt out.

On the "I can't remember the last time I felt sad" time: it appears that statement was literal. I felt sad yesterday, but all I can remember from that is "huh, guess I do feel sad, I'll have to blog about that". Unfortunately I cannot remember the circumstances or the reason that lead to the emotion, or how I felt at the time (I am great at forgetting things, clearly). Suppressed or ignored, I don't know. Such a curious happenstance.

February 15, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: Illness Interferes. Irksome.

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: Crying as you Solve Problems from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

SMART goals were twofold:

The first; on the ‘motivation’ side: consider reasons for not wanting to work. Chosen to avoid time management crossover, though I’m not taking that workshop.
Current progress: illness: reasons are “lethargy” and “i feel crap”. Reasons are actually valid, so no progress here.

The second on the “I don’t feel sadness and that’s fine” side, consider why.
Current progress: I was too ill to bother feeling anything but lethargic.

In short, illness meant I accomplished nothing worthwhile, going through my days in a haze, and the primary emotion I felt was lethargy. Didn’t even get fired up.

I did learn that I consider both “lethargy” and “solipsism” as emotions, though. The latter is a philosophy! They’re probably made up of little emotional “elements”, except lethargy might be a “lack” of these elements (anti-elements?). Well, that’s irrevelant.

While I’m actually doing something, it’s fun unless I get stuck. The feeling of “OH!” is great, even if my ideas are completely incorrect, it’s still nice to think back on. Additionally obtaining an answer feels great even if I have the feeling that it’s probably wrong.

Essentially I’ve found a few things, none of which were what I was looking for.

February 04, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: Crying as you Solve Problems

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.


Notice the feeling of not wanting to work on something. Evaluate it. Query the reasons for existence. While working on something, query those feelings, too, for completeness’s sake.

Note feelings of annoyance/anger/frustration when they arise, and why. Note consequences. Query whether this human emotion known as “sadness” would be more appropriate (knowing me, the answer I’ll likely come to is “no”!).

One thing that (likely?) had an effect on my lack of feeling sadness would be my dad’s refrain of “don’t get sad, get mad! Getting upset never helps anything.” – and I think he was right. Depression just interferes with discussing the issue and fixing it; and generally interferes with contemplation. Then again, the latter also applies to anger, which can also lead to impulsiveness, although I’ve also been able to focus it into improving my work – but then I’ve been able to do that perfectly well without that consideration simply from the knowledge that it was wrong or imperfect as it stood, so who knows in the end?

Enough meandering, we’ll see how this plan goes.

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