Week 4 – Time and Project Management

This will be something of a personal post.

It’s been just over a week since my last post, which is perhaps a little too long, but the adjusting to the sheer volume of work on my course has been a challenge. A lot of personal administrative issues have come up and I’ve noted a lack of energy most days, possibly due to the isolation under current circumstances.

Its weeks like this that I find my commitment as a professional severely challenged. In addition to the increase in volume of work, I’ve also pushed myself to increase the complexity of my work. I’ve proactively sought out additional feedback from my tutors on my work so far and whilst extremely helpful and insightful, one of the pressures of academic work appears to be that as soon as one task is complete, two more appear. I suppose the continual challenge to persevere and complete tasks indicates growth?

I’m continuing to hold conversations with academics about possible doctoral studentship concerns when I complete my masters and although a bit daunting, I’m determined to see my goals through to completion.

Week 2: Creativity and critical reflection

This week has given me much to think about, not only within my module on development synergies, but also within a wider context of my overall academic and professional development.

Following on from my last post, I identified some formal areas for reflection and change. These include a review of my practice as it relates to the following 5 domains and I’d like to focus on these areas for this post.

dispositional domain
affective domain
interpersonal domain
cognitive domain
procedural domain

But also included some fairly low hanging fruit, notably involving my time management. I will expand upon this further later in this post. This week one of the tasks we had to undertake was a simple personality test, based on the work by Briggs-Meyers. My result was INTJ-T, but I’ve undertaken this test several times and vary between the Mastermind and Architect archetypes. Clearly I jump between the theoretical and the practical. It occurred to me that this offers useful insight as to how I present myself within the dispositional domain. It is certainly true that my personality can sometimes come across as aloof, or have an ‘ivory tower’ demeanor when interacting with others, but I don’t necessarily see this as a good or bad quality. But it is certainly useful to bear in mind, when working with others and collaborating in a way which meets the needs of others.

I’m somewhat skeptical of personality tests. While they are useful for modelling and profiling on an individual level, I find that such tests only present a snapshot in time and as I have outlined above, some people are prone to more than one result. There are obviously a great many factors which may influence such a result, but I’ll happily acknowledge that they provide a good ‘rule of thumb’ when examining peoples’ individual characters.

I find that a review of the affective domain presents a much more rigorous challenge to me, as my understanding is much more limited than the material which might be available surrounding the dispositional domain. I am however quite interested in behaviour, motivation and more broadly, psychology in general, so I suspect I will learn some useful insights with further investigation. I won’t go into a lot of detail around the background material in this domain, but found the definition offered by Krathwohl, Bloom and Masia (1964)  as “Objectives which emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection…internally consistent qualities of character and conscience…interests, attitudes, appreciations, values, and emotional sets or biases” particularly helpful. I would very much like to explore this further and will add exploration of this topic to my reading list.

Some cursory investigation of the Interpersonal domain has revealed that Cindy Vinson’s work in Learning Domains and Delivery of Instruction, include:

Seeking/giving information (asking for and offering information)

Proposing (putting forward an idea)

Building and supporting (helping another person’s idea move forward)

Shutting out/bringing in (excluding or involving another)

Disagreeing (appropriately offering a difference of opinion)

Summarizing (Restating in a compact form a discussion or collection of ideas)

Negotiating

Compromising

Facilitating

Leading

I’m aware that my conscious state can enhance or inhibit interactions with others, particularly if I have a heightened emotional state. This is something I would like to explore in future blog posts.

Lastly I come to the procedural domain and there are several easy opportunities for growth within this domain. One of my biggest deficiencies often comes in the form of procrastination. I have already reflected on this in the past, but have yet to find a good level of clarity I need to overcome the problem. I tend to be quite good at meeting time-based obligations which affect others, but am less motivated when something only affects myself. This can make time-management challenging and having undertaken time-management training in the past, there are clear opportunities for improvement.

Following this post, I’m aware that I have some outstanding tasks, but in addition to revising my reading list, I still have the following to formulate into SMART objectives:

improved frequency of my critical reflection
address deficiencies within domains
applications for reflective practice in other modules
get a more formal pattern of work

Lots more to think about and take action on!