Being able to articulate your strengths and weaknesses in an appropriately reflective manner is a very important skill that will serve you well in your working life. Reflecting on your skills and learning is an important part of this module. Personal development and reflection will allow you to:
review progress against the intended learning outcomes of your programme and component modules (refer to your module descriptions)
allow you to plan your learning
recognise your own strengths and weaknesses
identify other opportunities for learning and personal development (outside the geography curriculum)
be better prepared to seek employment
be better prepared for the demands of continuing professional, vocational and personal development.
Your personal tutors will provide academic and pastoral support and help you take increasing responsibility for your own personal and academic development (see Section 6.1.1). ‘Personal Development Planning’ (PDP) provides one medium for developing your capacity to understand what/how you are learning so that you can review, plan and take responsibility for your future learning. This process will also help you identify particular areas in which you need to develop your skills.
Task 15: Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses and Development Needs
Identify and reflect on your strengths - including things that you might include in your curriculum vitae (CV). Write down some notes in a Word file, notebook or diary.
Identify and reflect on your weaknesses and personal development needs. Write down some notes.
The following key questions are examples of the sorts of things you should be thinking about here:
-Do I know how to use the University Library and where to find all the books and
resources I need?
-Do I now understand the Web of Science?
-Can I now find my own high quality materials & resources for my essay/coursework?
-Am I now confident with using the Harvard referencing system? Do I now know the
difference between journal articles, books and book chapters?
-Do I know how to make/write coherent arguments? Have I improved my critical
analysis skills over the semester?
-Am I reading enough and quickly enough?
-Do I understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid doing it?
-Do I think I have understood the first Environmental Systems Processes lectures?
-Do I think I have understood the first Changing Worlds lectures?
Have a look at the Skills@library website to see what extra help they can provide with developing your skills:http://skills.library.leeds.ac.uk/index.php
Think about which thoughts and observations you want to share and discuss with your personal tutor (see also Task 16); and which ones you are going to use when preparing/updating your CV.
You might also want to have a quick look at the University’s Career service website and materials on CVs: http://careerweb.leeds.ac.uk/students/gettingajob06/cvs/index.asp
As a student at the University of Leeds you are expected to take responsibility for your own academic and personal development, reflecting on your learning and skills development. You will have plenty of opportunities to discuss your personal development with your tutor over the course of the year; and you are required to review and summarise your personal development reflections using a pro-forma on three occasions during year one. You should hand the completed typed pro-forma to your tutor before your one-to-one meetings towards the end of Semester 1, after the release of January exam results, and at the end of Semester 2 (see Task 16). Thinking about your personal development on a regular basis will help you: identify achievements and skills; acknowledge developmental needs; help inform future career decisions; and also help you prepare CVs and job applications.
6.1.1 Academic and Pastoral Tutoring
Your tutor will: i) help you identify the best source of support and advice if you have any problems; ii) support you in reviewing your learning and in taking responsibility for your own learning; and iii) monitor and advise you about your academic progress. Further information about the University of Leeds University Model for Personal Tutoring can be found at: http://leedsforlife.leeds.ac.uk/model.html
Task 16: Preparing for Individual One-to-one Meetings with your Personal Tutor(typically in Weeks 11, 18 and 24)
Summarise your notes and reflections from Task 15 using the summary pro-forma contained in the Appendix.
You should also refer to/make use of your responses to Tasks 1 and 17 when completing the pro forma for one-to-one meetings.
Your tutor will discuss the completed pro forma with you and then arrange for it to be placed on your personal file. The forms will be used to help write any future references that you request for any temporary or permanent jobs.
6.1.2 Writing-up Self-reflection
This may be new to you. It might not be very clear to you what this involves and what you should include when reflecting on your learning and writing it up. Planning from self-reflection can feel a bit like making New Year’s resolutions but can be very useful in helping you succeed. Acting on a short and manageable action plan is the key thing. Putting time and space into your weekly time schedule for developing and reviewing action plans will pay dividends and help you succeed.
Table 6.1: Essay Assessment Checklist
This checklist is to be used in preparing essays. Your tutor may ask you to bring this checklist to a tutorial or to attach it to an essay when you hand it in. Tick all the statements you agree with (Note you may tick more than one box in each section). This checklist is designed to help you balance the structure, content and style of essay. Your tutor or lecturer will give you a separate marksheet that will grade the academic quality and merit of your work. Name ………………………………………. Tutor …………….…………… Date………….……
Overall [ ] Happy with it [ ] Not happy [ ] Too short [ ] Too long [ ] Right length
[ ] There is plenty of evidence of good argument and critical analysis [ ] Too hurriedly written
[ ] Reading was mainly from class notes [ ] Reading was mainly from class notes and reading list
[ ] Demonstrates reading beyond the set reading list [ ] Presentation is of a high standard
Self-assessment process [ ] I asked a friend to read and comment [ ] My friend thought the arguments were made clearly [ ] I finished the first draft in time to critically read it and then updated it [ ] This is a first draft, with no updating [ ] I feel the arguments are made clearly
Title [ ] Missing [ ] Correct [ ] Correctly reflects the essay contents [ ] Vaguely related to essay content [ ] Set by tutor [ ] Created by myself
Abstract [ ] Gives a clear summary including results [ ] Too short [ ] Too long [ ] Omits critical items aims/hypothesis/results/ outcome [ ] Includes material that should be in text only [ ] Not needed
Introduction [ ] Missing [ ] Too short less than 300 words [ ] Too long over 1000 words
[ ] Rambles around some ideas [ ] Clear signposting of rest of essay made
[ ] Clear aims and/or statement about argument to be made.
Organisation [ ] Material is well organised [ ] Clear signposting of essay contents and structure
[ ] No signposts to essay [ ] Links between paragraphs are all signposted
[ ] I have used sub-headings [ ] Subheadings have helped organisation and presentation
Core Sections [ ] The arguments are clearly made [ ] Each paragraph has a different function/argument – i.e. no repetition [ ] The arguments are all supported by examples
[ ] There is a good balance of arguments [ ] The information comes from a range of sources
[ ] All sources are acknowledged with references quoted in the reference list
Discussion and Conclusions [ ] Missing [ ] Too short [ ] Too long [ ] Omits the outcome
[ ] Mentions problems with theory/ideas/debates [ ] Picks up points from the main arguments in the essay’s core [ ] Picks up points made in the introduction [ ] The conclusion is not justified by the core content [ ] Includes material that would have been better in the core parts of the essay
[ ] Contains novel and interesting ideas and opinions [ ] The conclusions follow from the arguments
References [ ] Missing [ ] Not complete [ ] Some references are not quoted in full
[ ] Perfectly complete and comprehensive [ ] Internet references incomplete [ ] Not alphabetical
[ ] Neat and professional diagrams [ ] All diagrams include Figure Headings that are all cross referenced in the text [ ] All tables and graphs have units and titles on their axes [ ] Where figures or data come from the literature, the sources are cited in the figure headings and quoted in the reference list
6.2 End of Portfolio Reflection
Task 17: End of Portfolio Reflection (to be completed once all other tasks are finished)
Write a brief 300 word reflection on your experience of the development of your communication, scholarship, IT and reflection skills over the past 8 weeks.
In doing this refer back to your answer for Task 1 (thinking about how things have changed from Week 0) and Task 15 (Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses and Development Needs).
In preparing your assessment you may find it useful to think about changes in: confidence, technical competence and understanding. You might also want to refer to specific examples included in your Skills Portfolio.
Also identify areas that still require attention and further development.
Remember to return to the University’s Skills@Library website and see whether they have any resources or courses that could meet your needs. Their website is: http://skills.library.leeds.ac.uk/
Kneale, PE (1999, 2003) Study Skills for Geography Students: A Practical Guide, London: Arnold
Bonnett, A (2001) How to Argue: A Student’s Guide, London: Prentice Hall. Kirkman, J (1989, 1992) Good Style: Writing for Science and Technology, London: E & FN Spon. Kitchin, R and Tate, NJ (1999) Conducting Research into Human Geography: Theory, Methodology and Practice, Harlow: Pearson Education. Lee, JA (1999) The Scientific Endeavour, New York: Addison Wesley. McMillan K and Weyers J (2006) The smarter student : skills and strategies for success at university, Harlow : Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Northedge A (1990) The Good Study Guide, Milton Keynes: Open University. Rogers A and Viles HA (2003) The Student's Companion to Geography, Oxford: Blackwell. Rowntree D (1988, 1993) Learn How To Study, London: Warner. Rudd S (1989) Time Manage Your Reading, Aldershot: Gower.
Appendix: Pro-forma to use for Task 16
GEOG1300 GEOGRAPHY TUTORIALS
One-to-One Meeting with Tutor: Student’s Summary of Progress/Development
Meeting #1 – End of Sem 1; Meeting #2 – February (after Sem 1 exams); Meeting #3 – End of Academic Year (Sem 2)
[Delete as applicable]
To be completed by student
Programme of Study:
This should be handed to your tutor at the start of your individual meetings. It will then be used as the focus of your one-to-one discussions.
This form will be used primarily to provide staff with additional information when writing references (for temporary and permanent future jobs) so please give us as much information as possible.
Type, edit & expand the following boxes as required.
Key academic achievements so far this semester &/or year