July 04, 2013

A3 – Academic Writing – Follow–up

Follow-up to WSPA Academic Writing – A3 from Sean's blog

A3 Academic Writing Follow up 1

Workshop Tutor: Dr Laura Davies

Date: May 10th 2013

On completing my Labour law assignment I managed to achieve a 2.1 with the same mark as previously at 65. However, due to a change in the finalist exam timetable making them earlier I had less time to concentrate on my assignment and had to move on to revision. The planning techniques from the workshop especially helped me apply a structured approach to writing so that I could finish my essay as early as possible. My essay had a much more focused introduction and conclusion by avoiding the ‘story-telling’ technique which begins with a ‘you’ll-have-to-read-on-to-find-out’ criminal thriller style of writing.

In taking a strong position and developing it from the outset, I felt much more engaged with the essay and it read more fluently. Analytical additions on quotations also forced me to strengthen my critical analysis skills while tackling the essay. However, while I was much more engaged during the opening and closing of my essay and it was well-structured, I think that some of the main body lacked the same flare and relevance. In part this has to do with my approach to drafting the main body which involves formulating random paragraphs within the essay and then reorganising them later. I am not sure if this is the best approach to drafting, but I do not want to forget a sentence or part of a paragraph once I think of it – perhaps I have much to learn about planning more effectively. This option will not be available to me during my exams, so I will have to work on my planning technique and essay structuring through practice papers in order to address any weaknesses.

June 17, 2013

WSPA– Becoming More Assertive – P2

Becoming More Assertive

Workshop Tutor: Bev Walsh

Date of Workshop: 28th May 2013

The workshop was certainly one of the more active ones that I have attended and proved to be not only engaging but good fun. The breathing and singing exersises in public were particularly confidence boosting and conveyed the important message that appearing confident is based on how other people perceive you and what you are doing -'look like you own it and other people will think that you do'.

My action points are as follows:

1) I have tended to be an avoider during my university life when it comes to asking questions on important details or generally organising affairs that involve telephone communication such as gas, electric and phone contracts and bills. Inquiries to such organisations as these often involves a level of conflict, while a relatively low level, I am often left with a worse deal because I fail to assert myself effectively -something that was clear during the improvisation task to conflict resolution during the workshop. With this in mind, I intend to re-negotiate these contracts and bills to gain a more favourable rate for my family and I through comparing their value as against what they offer to new customers as well as against their competitors.

2) I feel that I have problems in articulating myself orally to a high standard when feeling stressed or under pressure. This often has to do with a mixture of nerves and a failure to breathe deeply. So, before and during my future conversations with BPP Law School concerning my LPC I will breathe deeply to not only calm down but to provide better intonation to add emphasis to important words or phrases during my inquiries.

3) The importance of an open and neutral posture to convey confidence and an inviting space for people to engage with me will prove particularly critical at future networking events. While I have no problem with this idea, I often find myself uncomfortable and leaning on a table. The reason behind this is that I have mild lordosis caused by the fact that I am part of the modern 'sit-down society' and so I have researched effective daily exercises to tackle this issue with the hope that this will clear up in 2 months. This should provide me with a much more comfortable-looking netural posture and future networking events that I may engage in at BPP.

March 31, 2013

WSPA Academic Writing – A3

Academic Writing - A3

Workshop Tutor: Dr Laura Davies

Workshop Date: 19th March 2013

With direct relevance to my current law course, this insightful workshop emphasised the importance of a structured approach toward writing even before the pen touches the paper. In particular, during the planning stage, one should not only be critical of the topic title given but also of the materials used for research. At every step one should bear in mind what the marker is looking for: This is an especially important perspective to have when editing one’s own work.

Three areas of my academic writing which can be improved and tested in my current assignments include:

1) For quotations and references I will add a further layer of critical analysis by taking replacing neutral terms such as ‘X stated/said’ with ‘X tentatively suggests, implies, responds to, asserts that etc.’

2) Having been criticised previously for a weak conclusion, I will take a much stronger position in my response to the essay question in my introduction which follows through into my conclusion. Employing quotations supporting my view in these sections where appropriate should reinforce this further.

3) Define open concepts in the assignment question in order to clarify my perspective to the marker as well as adding a better focus in my writing to the question at hand as oppose to spending a chunk of my precious word limit on challenging and over-analysing such concepts.

March 30, 2013

WSPA P8 Follow–Up

Writing about web page /seanmcshane/entry/leading_a_group/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

WSPA P8 Follow-Up

Workshop Tutor: Han-na Cha

Date: 30/03/2013

Unfortunately there have been limited circumstances and opportunities for me to apply what I learnt in the ‘Leading a Group Project’ workshop. However, during my International law seminar we had a group debate session. I took the initiative with a quick ice-breaker exercise for our group to make sure we knew each other and the modules we studied. This short and seemingly trivial activity lead to the whole group participating in bringing their arguments, ideas and interpretations of the reading forward during our brainstorm. Tuckman’s technique of group formation seems to have been the missing link during my previously very silent group exercises in the same seminar class. I also made it open as I could for people to criticise my own propositions by actually asking people to come up with opposing arguments. This allowed my group to produce a much more analytical and persuasive argument.

While not formally a group project, I had the responsibility of two children’s safety during a series of high tree challenges for my cousin’s birthday. This truly highlighted the importance of teambuilding in order to complete activities given. With regards to ensuring the safety of the kids, I took an autocratic role as this was of upmost importance. On the other hand, I was much more democratic when it came to discussing how to tackle the tasks at the great heights involved and on ensuring the welfare of my group to make sure that they were not only comfortable with the activities ahead but also enjoying them too.

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