7.1 Hierarchies of ideas

A useful way of giving sense and structure to ideas can sometimes be to see them in the form of a hierarchy. At one end is the ‘big picture’ (e.g. general context, principles, theories, ideas, concepts) and at the other end are particular facts, examples and other details. For example, the concept of living things contains the category of animals and plants. Animals contains the category of mammals, which contains the category of dogs, which contains the specific type of dog called Dalmat
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1 Overview

This Unit provides an introduction to thinking skills and ways of extending and developing your thinking.

But why do you need to do this?

Take a few moments to reflect on your reasons for looking at this Unit and ways in which you hope it will help you.

Perhaps you thought you would find it useful? Or maybe you have particular worries or concerns about thinking that have made you want to look at this issue in more depth. Looking at thinking skills is something that is not al
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Introduction

This Unit is designed to take you on a journey of understanding. You will be introduced to a variety of thinking skills and ways of extending and developing your thinking. You will begin by looking at why thinking skills are important in education, and what kinds of skills are valued. You will then move on to some practical strategies and ideas for further activities and reading.


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5.1 Introduction

You have almost reached the end of Learning to change and we hope that you will continue to use learning to achieve change in your life. This section is an opportunity to reflect on what you have learned as a result of doing the unit. ‘Reflecting backwards’ is an important part of learning because it helps you to be clear about what you have learned. Looking back also enables you to hold on to what you have learned after the unit finishes. This means that you can ‘reflect
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References

Caruso, D.R. and Salovey, P. (2004) The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Use and Develop the Four Key Emotional kills of Leadership, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Cochrane, A. and Pain, P. (2004) ‘A globalizing society?’ in Held, D. (ed.) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics, 2nd edition, London, Routledge/The Open University.
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4.5 What might help and hinder you

Kurt Lewin (1947) developed a theory called Force Field Analysis to think about the way in which changes made at work succeed or fail. You can also use this concept to think about changes that you are trying to make in your life. Lewin suggests that whenever we are trying to change things there will be forces in favour of change and forces against. For change to happen, the forces in favour must be stronger than those against.


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4.4.6 Agreed

You are more likely to achieve your goal if you have people on your side. If you want to make a change at work, for example, it makes sense to consult your manager about the wording. If you want to make changes in your personal life, you may need to discuss this with family and friends.


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4.4.2 Case study illustrations

Case Study: Jodi

Jodi’s ten-year vision focused very much on the type of restaurant he would like to work in – will it be big or small; what sort of cuisine; what sort of clientele; urban or rural; and so on. He has always been an outgoing, sociable type so does not foresee any need to focus on the other e
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3.4.1 Academic skills

We hope that one result of studying this unit is that you will feel more confident about using your academic skills. In this unit, these skills include:

  • reading for meaning
  • note taking
  • selecting and using evidence
  • writing in an academic way that includes different points of view
  • reflecting on your learning.

However, referring to these skills as ‘academic’ creates the risk that they are only seen as useful fo
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3.3.4 The importance of other people in our immediate social and learning environments

Case Study: Levene

Yes, I had a lot of support from my family. You know, I suppose you could say you take that for granted but, yes, I did have a lot of support from my family. But in terms of feedback and a sounding board – colleagues for instance over the phone. Your tutor is another example.


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3.3.2 What problems might you have with this?

One way to think about the problems you might have with using academic theory on Learning to change is to think about the difference between getting personal feedback and using academic ideas. Academic theory about learning is unlikely to have considered your particular experiences or the story of your life. This may mean that some parts of theory may not seem to apply to you. Often theory is found written down in books or journal articles which are read by other academics; they
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2.4.5 Reflecting on communication skills

Communication can be approached in terms of the skills needed to get a hoped-for response. By seeing communication in terms of skills, it is easier to focus on what skills you already have and use. Once you have a reasonably clear picture about this, it is much easier to see where you might want to act to increase your communication strengths and decrease any weaknesses.

It can be useful to try assessing what you see as someone else’s communication skills before you think about your o
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2.4.2 Knowledge

Learning is often associated with ‘knowing facts’. You may associate this sort of learning with what you did at school where you might have thought that you had to learn lots of facts associated with a subject in order to pass an examination. Evidence of learning is sometimes linked to building up an increasingly impressive store of such facts. TV quiz programmes tend to make us think that learning is about knowing more facts than other people.

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1.2 What's going on – learning online

In the following few pages we will look at some underlying principles of learning, and of learning computing skills in particular. This section is divided into two parts:

  • your learning style;

  • computing with confidence.


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1.1.8 Useful links

Here are some useful links to sites relating to ergonomics and to information about using and setting up your computer.

  • What is ergonomics? Find out at the Ergonomics Society website.

  • Health and Safety Executive home page, which is the entry to the HSE website. Within this site is a useful page that provides an alphabetical list of HSE documents including ones on Risk Assessment, Manual Handling, and Working with VDUs.


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8.1 Why polish?

Once you have reached this stage, you have nearly finished.

What does polishing mean, and what does it involve? Imagine polishing a car or a piece of furniture. Why might you do so? Usually, to make it look better, to present it in the best possible light, either for your own pleasure, or to impress others – perhaps because you want to sell it. If it is an object that you value, it is worth making it look its very best: it deserves it. How effective your polishing is usually depends o
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7.4.2 The introduction of an essay

What is the introduction of an essay and what is its purpose?

Activity 18

Write down your own understanding of the term ‘introduction’ in relation to essays.

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7.1 Translating your plan

You have now reached the stage when it is time to translate your plan, whatever its form, into the assignment itself. It is likely that this will be a first attempt at the exercise – a first draft. You may be one of the lucky few who only needs to write one draft. Or, if you have taken some time over your planning, one draft before the final version may be enough. But if you are finding it difficult to reconcile opposing points of view or to fit in a great deal of information, you may need
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5.2.1 When to look at the question

At what stage do you look at the title of your next assignment?

Activity 8

Note down what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of looking at the title before and after starting to work through the relevant section of your c
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5.1 Estimating the time for the task

First you need to know how much time you have available for your assignment. The pacing of your studies comes outside the scope of this unit, but it can be very de-motivating when you no longer feel in control of your studies because – for whatever reason – you have fallen behind. So it is extremely important to meet the deadlines set by the course team in your course calendar whenever possible.

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