Personal Skills for Business Management Students
Drawing upon your experience of study and learning during the past two semesters, reflect on the development of your academic and generic skills. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and suggest areas which you need to improve or develop, including the strategies you will use to do so.
Student ID: 1185897
Effective academic and personal skills are not inborn; they are something one can work on and develop through practice and reflection. Taking the Personal Skills module significantly aided my personal and academic development in that it helped me identify key gaps in my skills portfolio and develop effective strategies and techniques to address key areas of weaknesses. This ability is crucial not only for academic performance, but is also highly valued in the workplace, as knowing how to turn weaknesses into strengths and further improve them is of utmost importance to the constant learning process. Calling upon personal experience and using insights from the emerging literature on skills development I will attempt to critically assess my academic performance so far, discuss strategies that will potentially improve my skills and set goals to work towards. First, I will draw attention to one of my key strengths – academic writing in relationship to constructive feedback; then, I will analyze my experience with teamwork and finally, I will discuss a framework for maximising individual performance capacity. From my perspective, reflecting on your own performance is the best way to identify learning strategies that will work best for you, develop effective work habits and become an independent learner. A good starting point in reflecting on my personal academic performance and skills development would be to outline one of my key strengths, which I have identified through feedback from markers and self-evaluation, namely critical analysis and its application to academic writing. When I entered university I was faced with the challenge to further develop my critical approach to working on assignments by utilising academic writing conventions and developing an effective procedure for writing essays. University essays don’t require only originality of thought; what is highly valued is the ability to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the subject through making use of key texts, articles or studies in your subject area, drawing on academic works of current experts in the field and challenging the ideas, concepts and theories you have learned. My acknowledgement of this fact is at the heart of the procedure and strategies I have developed for writing essays and assignments. Particularly relevant to my approach are Elbow’s two complementary ways of thinking which I use in different stages of structuring and revising my academic essays. Peter Elbow (1983) calls these ways of thinking first order and second order thinking and argues that a good thinker utilizes both and judging from my personal experience with academic writing I supports his viewpoint. According to Elbow, first order thinking does not strive for conscious control or direction; it is rather intuitive and creative and it is essential to recognise its key strength while working on assignments – in many cases it brings out people’s best and most creative writing. The second order thinking does not contradict with the first one; on the contrary, it complements it. It highlights the importance of reasoning, accuracy and control and is quite often perceived as “critical thinking”. My self-observation suggests that I usually utilise first order thinking for first draft exploratory writing in order to come up with a fresh point of view and form conceptual insights that are remarkably shrewd. Then I aim at developing my initial ideas through critical thinking, looking into relevant theories and concepts, evaluating their accuracy and then trying to challenge or support them, depending...