Monday, 19 May 2008

Infinity and Beyond

Ok - so the event was really called Chartership and Beyond but this way it's more fun. This was one of the CILIP run courses that are sort of mandatory if you want to charter. Overall I think it would have been more useful if I'd attended one sooner. There was an exercise on writting objectives and having an overview of the entire process before writting the objectives would have been useful. As it stands though I don't think any of my objectives are too unreasonable and one of the great things that I learnt is they are not set in stone. The course was pretty well organised. The venue is fairly easy to get to (it was interesting to see CILIP headquarters. It's just 5 mins from Goodge Street tube so I certainly won't write it off for other courses). The instructions sent out before the course were good and everything ran to time.

What was useful?

  • Well there was further explanation of the assessment criteria. This has been a really strong theme on both of the courses that I have attended. If I take one thing from them it's that I need to complete "The Matrix" before I do my evaluative statement and write up (guess what the picture's going to be for that post!).
  • Again reflective/ evaluative practice was emphasised. Submitting descriptive portfolios is consistently cited as the number one reason for failure.
  • The event was sort of useful for networking but I felt it could have been better - more on that later...
  • Some good examples of evaluative writting were given in the handout. I need to dig that out before I do my write up.
What was not so useful?

  • The learning style (like the other course that I attended) was again very passive. I would have liked more activities.
  • I think folks would have been more inclined to network if there had been a group activity or icebreaker early on. If this would have happened before the coffee break then I think making conversation in the break would have been easier. As it was the break was fine but I think maybe it was a missed opportunity as far as more lasting/ support type networking went.
  • Timing. As mentioned above I should have attended earlier in the process but that's nobody's fault but my own.
Positives from this were the speakers - who were all very good. One guy (who was sharing his experience of having recently chartered) really exceeded my expectations. I thought that section would be too individual and personal to be of use to anyone else but he actually shared some really pragmatic and useful advice and, perhaps more importantly, helped to put the process in perspective for some of the more intense members of the group. Overall, having attended this one I think the Reflective Writing course was a bit surplus to requirements. It was adequately explained in this course that the statement has to be reflective rather than descriptive and it's also well explained in the book I recently read (stay tuned for a rave review!). If folks don't grasp it after that then is another course going to help them? It's nice that CILIP has identified this common point of failure but this is a professional standard so I'm of the mind that there's perhaps only so much hand-holding that they should do. Maybe these sort of opinions will come back to bite me!

In summary, if I had to attend a course (and I did) it'd be this one.

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