Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Embarking on TU870 - Capacities for managing development... and handbags

After my not very spectacular failure to complete (read start) my last module, I am starting on a new module this week. I'm using this forum as a place to make a (limited) public announcement about my intentions! (I know that no one reads this blog except me, but anyone COULD read it!)

As luck would have it, I have just finished reading a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This was a gift from someone who knows me very well! It was an exceptionally useful book for me, as I really have no willpower or staying power. Duhigg says all I need is to is to identify the cue that drives an existing habit, and replace that habit with the thing I would rather do, and identify a reward that goes with this.

So, for me the habit I have is lying in bed day dreaming. The cue for this is drinking the night before. So, I am now a person who has a habit of getting up by 7am regardless of what happened the night before.

The extra hour this gives me on a work day will be split between maintaining my studies and running. Note: this is not enough time to complete my studies, but it is enough time to make sure I know what needs to be done, and to blog about my reflections. On weekends, I will use some of those extra hours (there is more than one hour per day on weekends!) making handbags. This is my "reward"!

Today I have read through the course guide. This is new for me. Normally I cannot resist diving headlong into the course. My normal pattern is that somewhere around TMA3 I realise how I should have been framing all of my work. Naturally, the OU are normally good enough to spell this out in the course guide which I didn't read properly!

So, the course has four learning objectives (although I am hard pressed right now to distinguish three of them apart)

  1. Knowledge and understanding
  2. Cognitive skills
  3. Key skills
  4. Practical and Professional skills
These are the areas that I should use to frame my self reflection. Hopefully at some point I'll be able to distinguish clearly between cognitive, key and practical skills...

The course also has five themes running through it.
  1. Planned and emergent strategies for development
  2. Inclusion and exclusion
  3. Challenging inequalities
  4. knowing and "finding out"
  5. Constraints and parameters on action
I am intrigued by several of these themes, and they strengthen my reasons for choosing this course. My professional career is NOT in development in the sense of this course, although I am responsible for the development of cultures and changing the way people behave in my business role. So, I have two motivations. Firstly, I would like to change career at some point to be more development focused. Secondly, I strongly believe that the skills required to "develop" in the sense that this course means are the same, or at least have a very large overlap, with the skills needed to be successful in my current role.

So, based on my new habit, there should be at least one post each week into this blog specifically about TU870.

By the way, this is a photo of my first "reward"!