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PDP also includes Group work. From (Evidence 2) Perceptions of Group Work it has really taught me the necessary skills to working in a group which I was lacking before. My major weakness when working in groups were social skills and team bonding. From working within the group I developed social skills, listening skills and eventually liked the aspect of working together. This was achieved by different personalities within the group having to 'bond' and 'unite' together to bring all ideas into one. Groups often work well together if they are matched to the personality types also known as Belbin Team Inventories. "The Belbin Team Role Inventory assesses how an individual behaves in a team environment. It is therefore a behavioural tool, subject to change, and not a psychometric instrument" (Belbin 1993). I was the Completer Finisher which allowed my weakness in my time management skill to act as a strength as this is where my attention to detail would come in handy.
Time Management was another skill I learned through PDP. As shown in (Evidence 3) a table was filled out with details of how we feel our weekly schedules. The table included: Which TV Programmes we watch to How Much Time We Spend on Our Assignments. This table really showed areas that needed improving to obtain effective time management. The Table showed I spent 14 hours on socialising/entertainment compared to the 1 hour spent working on assignments/unit reading.
To support this, (Evidence 4) also highlighted the areas that needed improving to succeed at qualifying for a degree. After completing the table it highlighted my weakness in my punctuation, lack of task completing and the missing of deadlines. On the other hand it also showed my strengths in keeping to my appointments and also my attention to detail by spending too much time on tasks. It was almost shocking to see on paper how little I spent on University work. This was a real eye opener for me and since completing this table I have completely re-scheduled and re-organised my time management.
I believe since starting this course my initial goals, objectives and aspirations have changed. I am much more focused on my 'weaknesses' now and the have been identified from the self directed material completed in my workshops. I believe before I started this course I had poor critical thinking skills, poor group work ability and my time management needed seriously re-organising.
I believe PDP has increased my self understanding. I believe the Myers Briggs Model helped me to do this. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. (Carl Jung 1923).
From completing the questionnaire I came to understand I was an Extraversion Sensing Feeling Judging (ESFJ). This described me as someone who channels there energy towards the world of physical actions and spoken words. It also stated that an ESFJ likes to build up on personal relationship and has positive team spirit as well as being a motivator. They prefer to deal with people and have there life organised. Working within a team environment an ESJF can participate by building good relationships, dedicating themselves to complete tasks and deadlines and ensure the team feel valued. This really put me into the perspective of how I can help and benefit a team and really has given me the confidence and social ability to work well in a group.
PDP has encouraged me to think about what is important for my future. It has allowed to me set personal goals which are not directly to do with increasing my grades and final degree classification.
PDP has allowed me to plan, develop and review my academic goals. It has also allowed me to identify the areas that I need to improve in my academic and social life. PDP provides the help to generally enhance the individual's application of the skills and achievements gained at higher education. It helps this by setting out specific goals and aims that will naturally increase career and educational prospects.
For my Second year of University I am going to be more focussed on the Time Management aspect of my life by concentrating more on my work outside class than on my social life. I believe by doing this it will help me publish a better quality of work outside class and this will help achieve my objective of obtaining a 1st Standard Grade for my final year.
From the assessment feedback from my Tutor and experiences I had during my time participating in PDP exercises, I realised that Team work was a major weakness in my skills portfolio. To build upon this I have learned to be more enthusiastic by working in groups and by building my social skills outside class it has also helped me work well in groups in class. This hopefully will help my class involvement in the second year of my education by allowing me to participate and dedicate myself more to a group which in-turn will give a better work ethic resulting in a higher grade for the group.
Feedback from the Critical Thinking Skills Assessment has shown another weakness in my educational area. I believe this was seriously hindering my performance for my first year and needed to change rapidly if I wanted to succeed in my objective of obtaining a 1st Degree. It was daunting to see how poor my analytical and descriptive writing skills were. This was seriously affecting some of my Essay Assignments which resulted in lower grades. I decided that for second year it has to change so I am attending a skills workshop based on essay and structure writing.
"Delegation, communication and being able to develop and progress a project through discussion and negotiation makes a good team" (Stella Cottrell 2003). I believe this helped me for working in teams in class but it has also helped me socially in groups outside of class. I am now a better communicator and can hold a good discussion while at the same time can delegate instead of being delegated too.
I believe from starting the L&E course back in October will presently that I have made an outstanding progression compared to when I started. If it wasn't for the PDP exercises I wouldn't have been able to highlight my weakness as well as my strengths. This has allowed me to focus on aspects that needed improving to achieve my final objective. Not only this but PDP as changed my activity outside the classroom. I am spending less and less time on the internet and watching TV but more time focussing on assignments and unit core reading. In one of the questionnaires it asked me the question: How Effectively do you manage your time - be honest? I answered: I don't. If I were asked the same question today the answer would be YES. PDP to some people is just another topic they have to cover in there workshops but to me it has meant so much more. It has changed the way I perceive work in class and the way I perceive people outside the class. Since PDP I have started reading books upon building social skills as well as focussing more on creating better relationships with my peers.
PDP has helped me structure and present my ideas clearly and effectively. The tutor-led sessions have allowed this development to further. It has helped me identify my progress to date, including both academic work and that outside of University. It hash helped me re-develop my personal goals and made me create an action plan on how I am going to achieve them. Finally it has also created a link for me between academic and non academic contexts.