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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Level 3 MMTD ProjectPost Interim
Level 3 MMTD Project

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hi Imogene, this was the easiest way to answer your questionnaire; hope it makes sense... how's it going?

1.When approaching an assignment do you have a particular process, which you go through?

I probably do ‘subconsciously’ – when I was working i.e. in the real world – I definitely had a process but unfortunately I haven’t managed to ever translate this into university life. I’ve often wondered why and the only conclusion I can reach is that I am learning whereas at work I knew how to do things, so I suppose the ‘learning’ aspect sort of hinders me and makes me forget certain processes that I already had in place.


2. If so who taught you this technique and where did you learn it?

As I answered in above Q. – if I analysed it a bit more I could probably apply more of what I learned while I was working to Uni.

3. If you did learn a strategy could you list the first 5 steps of that strategy (list more if you can)

Read through quickly (skim to get key points)
Look at timescales
Look at grading criteria
Read through more thoroughly – perhaps making quick notes
Then break things up into ‘chunks’
Work backwards from the deadline to see where things can fit in and allocate timescales
Assess which tasks you think are going to take the most time (and extra reading up!)
Keep re-reading (this can’t be done enough!)


4. Are you able to disseminate the key requirements of an assignment quite easily or do you find it hard to categorise the different requirements by importance?

I seem to be able to grasp the key requirements very quickly, the importance of a task is usually easy to distinguish from the assignment sheets re. the grading criteria

5. Do you find that assignments need to be clarified by the lecturer or manager as they have been written using poor English or presented badly.

They always do, but even if they were well written I find that it always better if you read and then ask questions, or summarise the task back to them, to help your understanding of things.

6. Do you find assignments need to be clarified because you have not learnt an effective strategy for approaching assignments which can make the assignment appear confusing.

No not really, I still think that it is important to clarify certain points, whether you have a strategy or not. It’s part of the communication process (ask TC!)


7. Is it a combination of the previous two points which effect your ability to start assignments?

No – it’s other things (and they could be different reasons every time)


8. What is the longest you have procrastinated before starting a task?

not sure exactly, probably 3 weeks!


9. What was the task?

Java assignment


10. What was the first step of the task?

Ticket machine (can’t remember exactly…..)


11. Why did you procrastinate for so long?

Despite putting in the effort I was blown away by my complete and utter lack of knowledge of Java when it came to actually do the assignment


12. When you start a task, which you dread, can you think of an overriding emotion which occurs?

Anxiety and fear of failure (if that can be classed as an emotion) trepidation


13. If you have a strategy for approaching tasks can you use it in other areas of your life?

Never thought of it like that – interesting point though.


14. Could you grade the following projects by the amount of procrastination in days for the following: 1 always on time, to 6 don't ever complete these projects.

I always start projects:

Straight away =1 - (as soon as I'm physically able)
After a few days = 2 ( but still well within reasonable time boundaries)
At the last minute = 3 (really under pressure to complete the task, but just get it in on time)
Missed deadline by a couple of days = 4 (but not too dire consequence)
Extremley late = 5 (situation out of control)
Project shelved = 6 (generally don't complete these tasks ever)

Writing an Essay5

Writing a Thank you letter2

 Vacuuming1

Painting a wall 2

Reading a book for an assignment moderate interest2

Job application form 2

Creating an outline for a project – bit difficult 3

Start a project easier.2


15. Do you find that you may start a project quite easily but become bored quite easily?

Yes


16. Is this because at the beginning of an assignment you don’t worry about being right or wrong?

Probably


17. Do you worry that you’re doing the assignment/ project the wrong way?

Sometimes, if it is something completely new (like Java)


18. Does this anxiety 'freeze' you and creates procrastination?

Definitely!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

1. When approaching an assignment do you have a particular process, which you go through?

2. If so who taught you this technique and where did you learn it?

3. If you did learn a strategy could you list the first 5 steps of that strategy (list more if you can)

4. Are you able to disseminate the key requirements of an assignment quite easily or do you find it hard to categorise the different requirements by importance?

5. Do you find that assignments need to be clarified by the lecturer or manager as they have been written using poor English or presented badly.

6. Do you find assignments need to be clarified because you have not learnt an effective strategy for approaching assignments which can make the assignment appear confusing.

7. Is it a combination of the previous two points which effect your ability to start assignments?

8. What is the longest you have procrastinated before starting a task?

9. What was the task?

10. What was the first step of the task?

11. Why did you procrastinate for so long?

12. When you start a task, which you dread, can you think of an overriding emotion which occurs?

13. If you have a strategy for approaching tasks can you use it in other areas of your life?

14. Could you grade the following projects by the amount of procrastination in days for the following: 1 always on time, to 6 don't ever complete these projects.

I always start projects:

Straight away =1 - (as soon as I'm physically able)
After a few days = 2 ( but still well within reasonable time boundaries)
At the last minute = 3 (really under pressure to complete the task, but just get it in on time)
Missed deadline by a couple of days = 4 (but not too dire consequence)
Extremley late = 5 (situation out of control)
Project shelved = 6 (generally don't complete these tasks ever)

 Writing an Essay

 Writing a Thank you letter

 Vacuuming

 Painting a wall

 Reading a book for an assignment moderate interest

 Job application form

 Creating an outline for a project – bit difficult

 Start a project easier.


15. Do you find that you may start a project quite easily but become bored quite easily?

16. Is this because at the beginning of an assignment you don’t worry about being right or wrong?

17. Do you worry that you’re doing the assignment/ project the wrong way?

18. Does this anxiety 'freeze' you and creates procrastination?
Thanks for your comments Cara, I didn't know that Edward de Bonos book was recommended by Leon in the first year. You raised some interesting points regarding the end product of my report. I was just going to investigate if other people had a problem with focusing there thoughts to create coherent assignments and if they had developed any particular strategies to help focus their thoughts. You're right, it is quite hard to show developing an abstract skill such as thinking. There may be ways of showing this - which I'm now going to think about! Thanks again
Imogene

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Hi Imogene
I have a few comments for you. First of all, what an interesting topic to research, have you read "Lateral Thinking" by Edward de Bono? - it was one of the books Leon recommended in the level one, I bought it and only managed to read a bit ; I was most impressed by the fact that we can teach children to think in different ways.
I wonder how this compares to the book -'Learning effective Thinking'?

I expect that this is a really complex subject, so have you thought about how you are going to tackle this?
Is your title 'Learn effective thinking'? and if so how will you be able to demonstrate or measure that effedtive thinking has been learned?
As I don't know what is in the book it's a bit difficult to comment; I think your reasons for picking this topic are valid as you've explained.
You state that you are interested in how other people relate to this, are you are going to do a questionnaire? Perhaps you could ask if anyone else has read this book or any other like it - e.g Tony Buzan's mind mapping (although that may be a slightly different type of book)? or you could ask if anyone has ever used any other sort of techniques for effective thinking, did they work? and then compare with Edward de Bono's techniques.

anyway good luck, I'll be very interested in knowing what you find out as it will definiately benefit a lot of us!
Cara
My main aim and objective of this investigation was to research into an area that would be of benefit to my own future learning as I was feeling that I wasn't gaining as much as I hoped from attending University. I’ve always struggled with the self-discipline and the ability to focus down required for completing assignments. I felt a terrible sense of being overwhelmed by any given task and I can remember even as at a very young age at Primary school having this sense of inadequacy for the tasks and not being capable. As I went onto Secondary school the reports were of the ‘could do better’ nature and teachers were frustrated at my lack of application despite my seeming ability.

Originally I wanted to investigate body language to discover better ways of giving presentations and to build interview techniques. At the bookshop Edward de Bono’s 'Teach Yourself to Think' came to my attention and I bought the book as well as one on body language just out of curiosity. I read the book from cover to cover and found it fascinating. It seems to bridge between the mechanical methods of Systems Modelling and the emotional approach of psychotherapy to enable the breaking down of problems into manageable pieces which can then be analysed and discussed with others in turn.

I’m interested to know how many other people have felt that despite feeling that they are intelligent cognitive beings, feel flummoxed when it comes to approaching assignments or personal projects such as researching which mortgage or credit card offers the best rates? I had read previously a book by a psychologist in which it was proposed that the mind has two parts. One part, our emotions, is likened to a stubborn old horse, it likes to follow a set a route and doesn’t like going too far from the paddock. This part of the mind will always try to stamp on new ideas and new ways of doing things, ‘why are we going right, when we always go left?’. It is up to cognitive thinking part of the brain, our intellect, to keep a tight hold of the reins on our emotions otherwise we get stuck plodding the same comfortable path.

The Teach Yourself To Think approach, by applying different thinking approaches depending on the project being dealt with, enables problems to be broken into small units which can then be fully explored before being reincorporated back into the whole project. In this way attention can be directed more easily and you are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Ideas stay focused in one direction till you decide to move on to the next unit.

Monday, April 26, 2004

When thinking about assignments do you find your mind wandering off onto seemingly irrelevant topics, do you ever find that you mind just wants to go and play?
Learning effective thinking

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