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Posts about: reflection

The age of celebrity politics

27 April 2015

In an article published in the latest edition of The Psychologist magazine, I explore the contribution Psychology can give to understanding the phenomenon of celebritisation of politics.

http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/may-2015/age-celebrity-politics

 

Get fit with HE: Managing students expectations in Higher Education

7 November 2013

By Dr Sharon Coen

 

The changes in Higher Education (HE) have exacerbated some misunderstandings concerning what the University is for, and what students can expect to get from the University experience. Many have claimed that HE is becoming more of a ‘business’ or a paid for ‘service’.

Many in HE find themselves having to face disgruntled students who say they have paid £9000 therefore they expect this or that ‘service’.

Personally, I deeply dislike the idea of HE as a business, but for the sake of argument let’s follow this line of reasoning.

So, if Universities are a business, what sort of business are they? A Grocery, providing food for thought? An airline, with a one way ticket for a successful career? A SPA, full of people there to look after your health and wellbeing?

No. Higher education is a gym.

 

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Higher Education is a gym, you have to put in the effort in order to get results….

We have initial health checks (entry criteria), machines (libraries and infrastructures) personal trainers (lecturers and tutors), personalised programs (courses, optional modules and support material), health-checks (assessments and feedback), ….There are fancy gyms, newly built gyms, gyms equipped with the latest technologies, gyms with saunas and relax areas, gyms renowned for certain activities they offer or for certain – particularly successful – trainers, etc…

But one thing is common to all the gyms (and I know it well, trust me, as I wasted hundreds of pounds on gym memberships): if you do not put the work in, you are not going to build the muscles. You can have the best equipment, the best trainer, the most tailored health check and training plan, but if you do not sweat, there is nothing the gym can do for you.

So, dear students, enrolling in HE you have signed up to a very luxurious and very expensive gym. Of course, people sign up to the gym for different reasons: some just want a place to hang out with their friends, others want to find a romantic partner, others are simply looking for a distractions. In this case, of course, showing up every once in a while with a charming smile and a light attitude would suffice to guarantee your goals are achieved. Yet, others sign up to the gym to improve their body shape, build muscles or lose weight: to be successful in this case, you need to attend your gym, put in the work and the sweat and listen to your trainers’ feedback.

Simply signing up – for how expensive it is – is not a guarantee for success. Hard work is.

 

Succeeding in job interviews

17 May 2013

By Hannah Smith

I have just found myself in the fortunate position of having secured myself a job that will give me relevant work experience for my career goal of being a clinical neuropsychologist. If you’re studying Psychology, you might have a specific career in mind at the moment, the same way I do, and you’ll probably be on the lookout for jobs which will get you on the first rung of the ladder.

I applied for quite a few jobs in the past few months, as with my graduation looming, I wanted to start climbing that ladder as soon as I could. I have had two interviews, including the one for the position I have been offered, and I think the things I learnt from the first one made the difference the second time around. I wanted to share this with other Psychology students at Salford, or anyone else who reads this blog, because interviews aren’t necessarily something we are taught how to prepare for!

In regards to any interview, be it your first or your twenty-first, do your homework. The two interviews I had were both for NHS trusts, and what I found was that each trust will have its own set of values, for example patient focused or accountability. Learn these values, and think of ways in which you already demonstrate similar qualities in your work, studies or personal life. My second interview asked for the values and I was able to recall each of them, as well as go into more depth about what each one meant.

What I’ve learnt from my job hunting process is that the feedback you are offered after an interview is so valuable. Write it down, and read back over it before any other interviews you have. Identify your weaknesses! The feedback I was given after my first interview was that I lacked knowledge around health and safety, as this is obviously important when working within a patient-focused role. Before my second interview, I searched my way around the internet, trying to fill the gaps in my health and safety knowledge. It paid off. Although the question I was asked in my second interview was not obviously about health and safety, it was a scenario question and I was able to identify where the safety risks were and mention these.

Other than the feedback you get from the interview panel, it’s also important to give yourself some feedback. Reflect on what you were asked at interview, how you answered questions, what gaps you think there are in your knowledge. As soon as I came out of my first interview, I knew there were things I should have said, and I wrote these down. I also realised that when giving my answers, I struggled to round them off neatly and ended up repeating myself in an attempt to end what I was saying. I did work on this before my second interview, and when I reflect back on that one, I can see that I improved.

I hope that this helps someone else get their foot in the door of their career path! Just remember to prepare, ask for feedback, reflect on your performance, and learn from it!

Hannah is a final year BSc (Hons) Psychology and Counselling student, she tweets @hannahbubble and can also be contacted on h.smith4@edu.salford.ac.uk.  

Reflections on Presenting for the Psychology Seminar Series

1 March 2013

By Lorna Paterson

Last Thursday, I presented my research for the first time to my peers and a couple of students (literally. Thank you both for coming). I did have some nerves however, I treated it like a usual lecture and I was confident about the information on the slides (see below); so I knew I was the expert in the room.

 

The turnout wasn’t fantastic but that meant we were able to have more discussion around certain points and I could be a little more informal. I ended up quite enjoying it and think I created a very good impression with my colleagues, or at least that’s the feedback I’ve had.

This is the first time I have presented my prospective PhD data. Believe it or not, I lack confidence about my own work and writing. The PhD has been a long, arduous, individual learning curve and continues to highlight more of my own learning gaps. To have such a positive response from those who attended has been a much appreciated confidence boost.

P.S.  Do you realise the series acronym spells out SPSS? It really does underpin psychology.

Contact Details: l.paterson@salford.ac.uk

Salford Psychology Seminar Series

 

Labels Hurt!

7 November 2012

This post is from Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, a Lecturer in Psychology at Salford.  Linda is a clinical and counselling psychologist (HCPC Registered) and a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist.  Below she reflects on teaching Level 6 (Year 3) undergraduates who are taking a module called The Psychology of Mental Health.  The session was on Psychosis and Schizophrenia.  If you participated in the session, Linda would really like your feedback.

“My goal in contributing to the teaching of The Psychology of Mental Health is to help students to develop a personal framework to understand serious mental illness that is humanistic and compassionate. I had previously taught a lecture on “Mood Disorders” where I showed a DVD in which Stephen Fry interviewed several well-known people with mood disorders.  The students seemed to appreciate the DVD as it extended their understanding of the facts about mood disorders to a more personal appreciation of what it is like for someone to live with a mood disorder. I took that feedback on board in planning my lecture on ”Psychosis and Schizophrenia”, and decided that even better than a DVD would be to bring in a service user and carer for part of the session, which I did.

Also, as part of my participation in the PGCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice) programme, I participated in a mixed-reality game with the other PGCap students to explore teaching and learning directly linked to our practice.  The goal was to come up with innovative ideas to enhance a specific teaching and learning situation. I worked with a partner, Robert Purvis, who really helped me to develop my idea of using plasters to have people experience the painful experience of having a sticky label.  Robert gave me the idea to write specific diagnoses on the plasters. Robert and I won the prize for the best collaborative ideas – the web page about the competition is available here.  

On the 5th of November, I piloted this idea by trying it at the beginning of my lecture on “Psychosis and “Schizophrenia”. I noticed that the class had already been divided into learning sets, so I asked them to try an experiential learning exercise in these groups. I asked them to pick a plaster from the envelope and put it on their wrist, read the diagnosis, and reflect on what their life might be like if they had been given that diagnosis.  They could consider it from the viewpoint that it was a new diagnosis that they just found out about and didn’t even understand, or something that they had for awhile. They were then to introduce themselves to their learning set as follows: “Hi, my name is  ____, I am a ____, and let me tell you a little bit about my life…” I asked them to reflect on the experience, share with each other, and have a representative give a brief report to the larger group, leading to a group reflection.  One of the things which I found interesting was that the learning sets had been communicating with each other via email and did not necessarily even know what the people in their learning set looked like.  I enjoyed everyone’s participation and feedback.  One person put the label on their clothing because it would hurt to put it on their skin – part of my point about labels hurting. People felt confused by their diagnoses and did not know what they meant.  Some people felt very shy because they suddenly had this label and did not want to talk about it.  The paranoid people did not feel they trusted the group in order to talk about it, demonstrating that they were really getting into the role.

I would very much appreciate feedback from students in general about the plaster exercise, and especially from those students who participated.  I would also be grateful for feedback about incorporating service users and carers into the lecture.  My PGCAP tutor recorded part of this exercise, and if students want to give their permission for their recordings to be put on the blog, please email l.dubrow-marshall@salford.ac.uk to give permission for this.”

You can also listen to Linda and Robert pitch their collaborative ideas for teaching and learning below.