Working with others
I recently recieved 360 degree feedback that I would like to submit as evidence as to my communication skills . I would like to highlight the following quotes:
“Tom is good at allocating work, utilising team skills and developing and helping his staff to contextualise their skills, develop and progress. Tom makes all of his team feel included and is a very empathetic and understanding leader.”
I scored 4.1 on average for ‘Working Together’. With the following quotes:
“Tom is very good at promoting a community of sharing practices and working collaboratively. He is a very active member of the university and is involved in a number of communities and groups. He has up-to-date knowledge and shares and this with others well and encourages collaborations.”
“Tom is a true collaborative colleague. He always goes the extra mile to share practice, and has created staff networks on his own initiative.”
“Tom has to work with a wide variety of individuals and groups – he is proactive at reaching out to all and uses his network effectively”
“Tom – has been a breath of fresh air and his open and understanding approach to want to solve problems is refreshing”
“Tom is able to get the best out of his team and to engage well with the wider academic and technical community. He is an excellent team player but able to take the lead when needed.”
“Tom takes on board the views of others and listens well. He creates plenty of opportunities for his staff to develop and listens to their views to help shape the improvement of his team.”
The quote I am most proud of is this:
“Tom is very good at utilising his team’s skills and is able to align work to suit expertise. Tom gave me lots of opportunities to use my existing skills and develop new ones while helping me to see how they can be used in context. Tom also promoted opportunities such as conferences and progression paths to help me in my career”
I regularly present to audiences of staff and students. Some examples from the last 6 months:
HSS Student Inductions [Presentation] [Recording]
Training The Trainers event for the PCDA [Presentation] [Recording]
The written word
I am qualified to MSc level so feel I have a decent ability with the written word. My MSc was in Research Methods so I also feel I can synthesise and present information well. Here are some examples of my more academic writing.
Jones M, Joseph E, Hinga E, Roberts K, Pearce M, Buckley T & de Viggiani N (2014) Health Promotion in the Age of Social Media: Evaluation of Word Press as a Platform for Developing Postgraduate Student Skills
British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science,
ISSN: 2278 – 0998,Vol.: 4, Issue.: 9 (September) – See more at: http://www.sciencedomain.org/abstract.php?iid=488&id=21&aid=4774#.U8Y6CLHyRyE
Armoogum, J & Buckley, T (2015) Academics and learning technologists working collaboratively to inspire learning through technology – the creation of cancer themed virtual patients. Poster Presentation. The UWE Learning and Teaching Conference 28th April 2015- ‘Outstanding Learning for All’ Available at: http://imp.uwe.ac.uk/imp_public/displayentry.asp?URN=7361&return=false
Stengler, E et al (2016) Designing for discussion: how we designed an online distance-learning course to sustain an active community of learners. Poster Presentation. The UWE Learning and Teaching Conference 21st June 2019. Available at: https://educologistdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/designing-for-discussion.jpg
Reflection: The written word
I draft a lot less content now. I have started doing more administrative documents now and I have to be mindful that I write too much and need to draft down. However there are comments in the 360 degree feedback I should address.
” ambiguity in email communication”
I used to be very formal in emails. In the conversation with staff I use very thick academic language but I take the time to explain what I mean. To the point where some people may find me a little patronizing. I would prefer to be received as patronizing than have someone excluded from a conversation due to the level of acronyms and viscosity of language. I refuse to dumb down language because I work in academia and with technical subject matter. So actually it does no one any favours by limiting conversation to the lowest common denominator, better to spend time leveling people up.
In my role as committee secretary to the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Committee I have had to use humour in the written form to maintain engagement after some really unprofessional behavior started to melt the social capital within the group.
I drink a lot of coffee at work so I can disappear into my head only to hurriedly blurt out some hard to understand stuff that is about three items removed from the start of any conversation. I do recognise that I spend a lot of time covering very dull stuff where everyone knows what I am talking about. This means my mail blasts to the Faculty can sometimes confuse people. Here is an example of the mail blast. Sometime I need to enter email dialogue explaining what I was referring to.
I have changed my practice recently to get my important written content ‘sense’ checked by a critical friend. I share an office with a former FE teacher who is expert in accessibility. She is great and will go through longer emails to ensure they are understandable to the average person. I do this to make me more effective. Left to my own devices I wouldn’t, as I still feel people need to be able to understand basic digital learning terms. I have become open to being wrong on this and you can’t argue with feedback.
Reflection: Open Ontology
I believe in open praxis. If it were up to me we would be much more like the University of Nottingham and produce open resources for the health community. Open praxis is about much more than publishing. To me is about giving as much as yourself as is healthy to build networks and mobilise knowledge. This is a way of being that comes naturally to me. It might just be self justification but I am of the generation where sharing quickly became the norm but remembers a more closed time. Facebook arrived in my early twenties and you could really see a move below to sharing everything openly.
I am a little more guarded about personal details but I definitely authentic in my openess. This is evidenced by how many videos are up on our YouTube site of me sharing things I have learnt as I have gone along. Some of these are in this portfolio. I call this open note taking. I don’t see why others shouldn’t benefit from my efforts and, if they are open to it, why they shouldn’t benefit from my mistakes.
This approach is no more time consuming than operating in a closed manner, in fact making content of what you have learnt helps you keep up those skills and reflect on what you have learnt. So it really is win win.