braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘presentation

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One of the things I’m supposed to do as part of my training is become more self-aware by learning to reflect back on various experiences.  There are various models you can use to steer you in the right direction, such as Johns or Gibbs, though just writing down your thoughts is immensely beneficial.  After each learning experience it is recommended that you have a reflective journal to (a) help the learning sink in more easily, (b) be in a better position to accept and deal with any issues that have arisen and (c) work out what you would do differently next time.

Sound boring?  Well, it’s a bit of a hassle, but there are times when it’s extremely worthwhile.  I use it less often than I intend to, but when I do it can have a major impact on my attitude to the subject.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to cover this base, yet because I’ve been on time out till two weeks ago, I haven’t really had the opportunity to use it in that way…until now.  Teachers may find this more interesting than the rest of you, but from now till I complete I’m planning on using my Monday blog entries as my regular reflective journal.

I had a tutorial on Saturday, my first since September last year, and gave a presentation in the process, so I’m going to reflect on the presentation for now.

What happened?

I gave a presentation on relationships after becoming a family.  It started with looking at a typical day in the life of a new dad and a new mum, where they had both had a rotten day (teachers among you will know the one!).  It then looked at ways in which relationships can suffer and people sectioned off into groups to discuss possible solutions, as couples might in a class environment.  Finally, we looked at how to get balance in a relationship.

What were you thinking and feeling?

I was surprised how nervous I felt.  But then it has been over a year since I last taught a real class.  I felt very thrown by the odd number in the group, because ideally I wanted the middle exercise to be in couples.  In a real class situation I would (and have in the past) partner myself off with the odd person, but that did make me feel like I couldn’t keep an eye on the others.  Also the person I was partnered off with was the least experienced there and took longer than the others did.  I also found my voice wouldn’t behave itself. My normal voice kept trying to turn itself into a whisper, which loses points.  Also, the situation felt very false.  In a normal class I suspect I’d have been in my element, but here I felt like it wasn’t working so well.   Having said that, I very much enjoyed teaching the last activity.

What was good and bad about the experience?

The good thing was, I enjoyed the first and last activity and will happily repeat them in a class setting.  The middle activity was not so good, and- might be better left to a handout, or read out and discussed in a large group setting rather than going off into couples.  My nerves meant that I was more concerned about saying the right thing than I was listening to the group; hopefully that would not be an issue in a real class.  I would have liked a little more visual stuff, but the subject didn’t lend itself very well to pictures, and it would have been almost impossible to find anything kinaesthetic.  Finally, my handout was ace, and I’ll be using that properly unless my tutor slates it in her marking.

What sense can you make of the situation?

I love this question!  It always makes things sound twice as bad as they really are.  Ultimately, unless I get such a bad mark that I have to re-do it, it’s another piece of work under my belt and a bit of practice for when I’m back teaching properly in a few weeks’ time.  It affirmed my confidence in the first and last activities if not the middle one.

What else could you have done?

I could have found a way to incorporate more visual stuff into it, but I can’t work out how.  I think if I hadn’t had to incorporate small group work into the presentation, I would have kept the middle activity as a large-group discussion, which would work just fine.  I can certainly teach that way happily, even if I couldn’t do that originally.

If it arose again, what would you do?

Well, the only way it is likely to arise again is during teaching.  So I would keep everything the same but change the middle activity to a group discussion rather than couples work.  And I might try and find a way to put more pictures in – I won’t lose points teaching without pictures, but it does help stave off boredom if there’s something pictorial to look at every once in a while..  And hooray! I never need to present again!!  Only proper teaching from now on  🙂

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I managed about three days of earlybird study in total.  Then I couldn’t hack it any more.

Burning the midnight oilActually, I got the bulk of the work done by doing an almost-all-nighter last Saturday.  I was in a not-in-the-mood-to-sleep frame of mind, and it was niggling at my conscience.  So I just did it.

Somehow I also managed to be a reasonably useful person at Sunday School the next morning, too.

I write this post on the eve of my tutorial when those three pieces of work need to be presented and/or handed in.  And I write guilt-free, since I have DONE IT ALL!

Particularly pleasant has been finishing off my presentation tonight with a friend round on a study date.  We’re not doing the same course, but we both need to study.  It’s so nice to have company, both plonked on the sofa, laptops tapping away, books strewn all over the place, and in my case weird circles of semi-transparent coloured plastic, and a bunch of handouts that didn’t quite print right the first time.  Or the second time.

Funny how when you need to get something done, even if you don’t manage to do it in quite the way you planned, it all works out in the end. Admittedly it might not be that good.  I haven’t dared proofread the essay written in the middle of the night, but I am at that four-fifths-done stage of my course where I don’t care if it’s any good, I just want it over and done with.

And by this time tomorrow, I’ll have delivered the presentation and that’ll be it for a while, at least till I teach in early July.  Then it’ll be all systems go again for the last two essays after that…

Time out

Posted on: 30/04/2011

I have technically been on time out from my studies for the last eight months. Mainly because smallest one’s needs (mostly identified by noisy, attention-grabbing gestures of the cute but extremely distracting variety) were not going to comply happily with the needs of an all-day tutorial group.

As it happens, I’ve got a fair bit of work done anyway.  Knowing that I didn’t want to hang around forever, I did my best to get completely up-to-date, if such a thing can be said for a no-deadlines distance learning course.  Unfortunately I’ve got a lot more to do before I return to tutorials once more in a fortnight’s time.  Yes, it’s a self-imposed deadline, but my tutor may delay my teaching plans (and quite rightly so) if I don’t get it done.

Giovanni Sades / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So I’m just trying to get my head around how to get any work done around the needs of  baby and the rest of the family. Here are my thought processes…

Idea one: work like mad every nap-time.  Very tempting.   Not enough, though.

Idea two: work in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  What, and lose any time to blog?  I barely know what a TV looks like any more.  Not only that, but my brain is fried by eight o’clock at night.  Yes, it probably explains a lot about the kind of blog I have here, I know.  Even more reason, then, not to try and study at this point, not even to get you all off the hook.

Idea three: work at the weekends so that loved one can take care of the kids.  That would be fine, but for two major issues. This weekend he’s away. Next weekend we’re busy.  Oh, and a third issue: being a man, for two full days of childcare while I lock myself in the library, he would of course require an extremely large medal.  (And another one if he worked out how to use the washing machine, of course..)

Idea four: get up early.  I did this for a stint in the past when middle child was this age and I had a presentation to prepare.  It worked a treat.  Not sustainable long term, though, and really, really bad for getting to school on time – I get carried away with the work and am still typing in my pyjamas at half past eight.

Two of those ideas are manageable, though.  If I work during nap time , and I get up early for the next two weeks, I reckon I might actually get it all done.

There’s just one thing. Housework, laundry and cooking, and to an extent childcare will be as good as abandoned for the next fortnight while I am in the throes of essay-writing and presentation-preparing.  (I may be female, but I just can’t multitask when it comes to studying.)

Neglect?  I dare use the word? No, but the terms ‘fobbing off’ and ‘putting off’ may be pretty accurate by the time I’m done.