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In order to know better how to organize my time I first did some background reading. To do so, I used a chapter in a book recommended by my tutor and lecture slides. The following, I bought a diary to write in important dates (such as study deadlines, appointments) or specific tasks (for example going to the library). The next step was to write these tasks in and highlight or star the most important ones and in pencil the least important ones so they can be easily removed when something changes. All of these were very helpful in organizing my time.
According to the Study Skills Handbook (2003) it is important to start with setting our priorities because sometimes there is no time to complete all of them. However, we need to be aware that some of them might take longer than we expected so we should write somewhere what we want to do and when we want to do it. The best tool for it is a 'week-to view' diary where we can write in everything we do (important dates or study activities) and how much time we want to spend on them. To take the most out of the diary we should always carry it with us and keep it up to date. It is also recommended to check it many times a day and add new tasks straight into it. The most important things should be highlighted or stared so can be easily seen where the least important ones should be written in a pencil so we can change or remove them easily.
Time-management skills are very important because if we know how to organize our time properly, we can carry out more and meet deadlines. The first thing I did in order to improve my time-management skills was doing some background reading. I used a chapter of a book recommended by my tutor. It gave me a wide understanding what is it all about and which steps I need to take in order to became successful. I bought an academic diary and then set up my priorities and assessed time I want to spend on them. Then I highlighted the most important ones and wrote in a pencil the least important.
Following my schedule I found very difficult because I had never been using such a technique before. However as the time passed by I managed to develop a habit of following my diary and carrying it everywhere with me. This technique helped me a lot with organizing my time. I try to always keep it up to date and because I have everything planned, I am able to make even more than earlier.
Theme: Developing an academic writing style
As an international student I am even more aware of the importance of well-developed writing skills. I started with looking for some background information. The better our understanding of writing is, the more flexible we can be while writing. Then I started developing a habit of writing. The following was developing my writing which was based on rewriting an idea three times, each time adding more details in it. The last one was dealing with writing block and how to overcome it. all of these helped me with doing my academic essays and writing under time and exam conditions.
Stella Cortell (2003) says that firstly we should build up our confidence in writing. We can start with writing one world several times and find out our writing style. When a habit of writing is already developed, we need to get used to writing continuously. To do so, it is recommended to try to write for at least five minutes, whatever the content is. We can use this writing in next step where we need to rewrite already done piece of writing and add the new detail to it (such us information, opinion). Further step is about rewriting that piece and playing with what we have written (changing the words, the orders). Then comes organising material where we highlight each idea in different colour. Then rewrite the passage so colours are grouped. It is also important to know how to overcome writer's block. We can for example write in pencil (it will remind us that this is a draft so mistakes are allowed and nobody needs to see it). We can write on the computer where we can use a spellchecker.
I decided to improve my academic writing skills because I know how it can affect my grades (especially due to I am an international student). I applied a technique suggested by Stella Cortell in four different steps. I started with writing in pencil about my first day in Scotland, constantly for 5 minutes. Then, I read it and changed some words, adding more details. The following, I rewritten it and checked the grammar and spelling mistakes. Next, I rewritten the piece in different colours, each relating to different section: what I saw, how I felt, what I wanted to do. While rewriting the last draft, I was grouping sections together so it looked all tidied up and easier for the reader to understand. Rewriting each piece of work may be time consuming, but paid me off with improved quality of the work. The final piece I rewrite on my computer and check for unnoticed spelling and grammar mistakes. Before I was writing my essays in
Self-knowledge focuses on understanding ourselves better in order to being able to be in control in our life. Self-knowledge is about understanding our inner feelings, skills and thoughts and understanding how they affect our performance and behaviour. Understanding ourselves is about knowing our motivations, values, targets, needs, etc. Self-knowledge is our starting point when developing a skill and in achieving our set goals. Self-awareness increases our confidence and chances of success. Self-knowledge allows us to turn our weaknesses into strengths and present ourselves well to others; develop confidence; set our priorities for creating new skills
Firstly I did some background reading in order to understand what the self-knowledge is all about. The china guy says that the self-knowledge is about knowing ourselves intimately. it is about knowing and understanding our weaknesses, strengths, motivations, desires, skills, etc. all of these when well understand will help us to take come control in our life and improve our performance. To do so, it we need to know where are we starting from (Cortell). We need to estimate to ourselves what we want to improve and how are we going to improve it. there are many ways of developing it, such as self-evaluation questionnaires, group discussions, reflective journals or using tutor feedback on our work. All of these are useful for giving people an objective view of how they behave, and how they compare in outlook with other. It is also recommended to write every day about out thoughts, feelings and emotions because it improves self-knowledge (strona int). It is also recommended to put ourselves in new situations, go to new places, experimenting new hobbies (exploring unfamiliar roles and situations - we often discover new things about ourselves when we're in unusual situations, or facing new challenges. (strona int)
Being aware of the importance of better understanding myself I would like to improve my self-knowledge skill. To do so, I decided to present myself with new situation, then to write down my feelings and thoughts and at last reflect on this. I decided to go to the gym on my own and meet at least two people. I found this task harder to realise than I thought. Before chatting the strangers up I was feeling very nervous and anxious because I didn't have anyone I knew. After getting back home I wrote down my feelings and the way I behaved. I analysed what I have written and reflected on that. It helped me to understand that my problem didn't lay with meeting new people and going to the new places by my own but in public speaking. I found this very helpful because now I know what I need to work on in order to improve my overall performance. My next step is going to be pushing myself in a situation when I need to rely on others (such as walking with closed eyes and following other's directions)
Theme: Becoming a reflective practitioner
Improving our reflective practise is important because helps us to better understanding of the work we are doing when we do it as well as after we have done it. it is critical evaluation of all the available evidence. Its purpose is reflecting on what went wrong and how we could possibly improve it and reflecting on what went good and thinking why it went good. It improves our evaluation skills, action plan for success as well as develops answers to our difficulties.
our performance is likely to improve when we know how to reflect on our work. Things like studying are going to improve when we look at things such as out motivation, skills needed, things that disturb us and so on. There are several methods of developing the act of reflection while studying: writing a learning journal, using the self-evaluation questionnaires, keeping portfolio, using the tutors' feedback on our work or filling the progress sheets. (stella) in order to reflect on personal, academic and professional development
we can start off with writing down anything we can reflect on. Such as our feelings about our peers or the course, the things we struggle with or the things we want to achieve. How everything we have learnt relate to real life or things we want to change.
The art of writing things down helps you to clarify your thoughts and emotions, to work out strategies, and to focus on your development and progressâ€¦'
(Cottrell, 2001 p67)
'â€¦do something, think about it what you did, come to conclusions about what you did and plan to try again.' (Kolb 1984) The next stage is to apply what you have learned from one situation to the next.
To improve my overall performance at university I decided that it is crucial to start reflecting on my work and see what I do wrong or well. After doing some background reading, I decided to put the theories in practise. I used my old copy of the assessment with the tutor's comment written on it. Later I read the whole thing I wrote down all the mistakes and reflected on them. I asked myself what I did wrong and why I did it. I focused on what skills I need to avoid this next time and how am I going to achieve this. It brought me a wider understanding of my mistakes and what allowed me to see what I could possibly improve and change to get a better grade. My next step is going to be filling the progress sheets for each module. I believe it will enhance my motivation because it will allow me to see the progress I am making and see the things I did wrong and therefore this will be helpful in avoiding them.