June 04, 2014

Follow–up on Getting started on skills development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio

Workshop Tutor: Mary Sage

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

  1. Attend to as many workshops as I can, related to the abovementioned aspects

    Well, as a final entry for this workshop I would like to make a reflection about how attending all these workshops have helped me to gain more confidence and strengthen my skills.

    This year at Warwick has been my first experience overseas, therefore I was full of different concerns and fears about how would I make it to be successful in my studies and adapting to my new reality. I also had the need to modify some of my personal assumptions about myself in terms of having a deeper knowledge of dealing with other people under different circumstances and teamwork. However, I have succeeded so far considering all what I have reviewed in the workshops and also I have been able to put into practice the theoretical background of these workshops into concrete results. Working in teams, being more assertive, delivering effective presentations and organising myself and time; all these workshops have collaborated to make me aware of my own capacities as a teacher and all the resources I can make profit of if I am organised and conscious of my potential as a qualified professional. I used to have some knowledge of the concepts that were involved in the workshops, but it is a totally different approach when you put them into practice in order to promote your own development in personal and academic terms. This process has had its upsides and downsides though, which is normal when you want to acquire something meaningful for your life, because it will probably dictate the way I will approach my future study and job experiences.


  2. Focus one of my assignments considering management and leadership

    After going through my Professional Practice and now starting with my Dissertation I have been able to notice big progress in the way I organise myself and manage my tasks and myself. As a group, we managed to create good quality material for the tourism industry and we could finish at the right time also. The idea of using Management key points in my work allowed me to see how important is to have a plan before starting any type of common project. This experience also helped me to take control of my group when some situations were about to be out of control, mainly external issues like dealing with disagreements and work responsibilities. Therefore, following the points mentioned before the results were as follows:

    Setting standards: Our standards worked until the last minute of teamwork. Sometimes there was a need to amend them in order to fulfil with our expectations but they remained without alterations mostly. It meant that our own requirements levels were met and time limits were respected in general.

    Maintaining discipline: This factor is really helpful in all tasks where more than one people is involved because we were able to have self-control in different areas like our time management, the accomplishment of specific tasks and the avoidance of useless activities that are not helpful for developing a common project

    Building team spirit: This factor is one of the most important ones to keep in mind from now on, because it has helped me not only to create a team identity but also to maintain the essence of it and how to help other groups that are in problems because of personal struggles or unclear group objectives. As a teacher, this factor is essential to foster cohesion in student groups who may have many differences due to their interests or motivations, helping them to look for more global objectives rather than individual success.

    Encouraging, motivating and giving a sense of purpose: Although this factor is similar to maintain team spirit, it is the way I can promote confidence in a group by highlighting their strengths and giving advice to improve weaknesses. This is hard task if the people involved in a common project are not convinced that they are capable to do it Therefore, it is rather important to project a sense of motivation to others, so that they can have a good reference in order to develop their sense of purpose and reach the proposed goals.

    Appointing sub-leaders: If democratically decided, this factor is a good strategy to delegate responsibilities in a group. Now that I’m preparing my dissertation it has been very helpful to commission people to collect my data now that I’m abroad. I have also given good instructions to them to make the work for me and I think this also depends on the knowledge you have on the people you are appointing some tasks and the language used for this purpose.

    In general to establish good communication is the key point when managing any group or common project. Personal managerial qualities do not always ensure success, because it depends not only on knowing how to do things, but also on the way you manage people, your attitude, your language and knowledge of the context where any common purpose it takes place. Finally, I can say that having a complete knowledge of all factors implied in managing any project can lead you to be a good leader. However, leadership can be trained if a person lacks some qualities, but basically it has to do with the power to convince other that they are capable to achieve something for the sake of a common purpose and that strategy is one that I have used with my students who have low self-esteem but great academic potential.


  3. Look for further information on "How to..." related to my assignment hopefully

    There is a lot of literature that can help you to do good academic work, for example: How to develop educational research? How to succeed writing your thesis? Or How to write a good dissertation? However, when it comes to be more pragmatic, there are not many chances to put this exercise into practise without having an impact on what other people perceive on you. You can be pragmatic whenever you take decisions about something, which you already know, then you take direct action to have a certain result. Being pragmatic in this sense means to have in mind that your actions will be directed towards a specific goal that you want to accomplish. It is a good way to react and avoid being extremely reflective about things that need to be decided.

    Being pragmatic implies taking risks, because you cannot consider all possible effects that your decisions may have but you can think of the good results of a well-taken decision. As a future manager or teacher-researcher in charge of a group of people working for a specific purpose, being pragmatic is essential for resolving things and moving forward instead of spending time in possible representations of the effects these decisions can have. It is useful to be more determined and show more assertiveness.


  4. Reflect on all the steps above and draw conclusions

    As a final conclusion for this workshop, I can say that I have acquired more tools to deal with possible environments that I will face in my future job. I have gained more confidence not only by attending the workshops, but when I reflected about who I was in an original stage compared to what I am now after these months of adaptation and academic routine. Being a teacher is very helpful to develop many personal skills, but I have not been exposed to different people from different backgrounds, which relativizes to some extent the value of my original assumptions. All these workshops have been helpful to be more aware of all the potential we have, but we have to take some risks and put these ideas into practice if we want to see some change and progress. We will never be under total control of our situations or contexts, however we can be more prepared and conscious how to react if we have some theoretical basis as a response. I’m glad that I have grown up even more these months and gained more confidence and assertiveness when interacting with others in work- or study-related environments.


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