Friday, 4 July 2014

Skillstep: Week 6

The Skillstep group and I are now at the half-way point of the course, as Week 6 draws to a close!

During Tuesday's session with Maureen, we looked at social situations that make us uncomfortable and identified the key elements of what made us uncomfortable during that particular situation. We then identified the characteristics and behaviours of the best boss / best teacher and worst boss / worst teacher we have had in our education or work careers so far - and each member of the group found that it was not their IQ, capabilities or qualifications that made them the best or the worst teacher or boss, but in fact, their social skills - or lack thereof! - played a vital role instead.

This led into the introduction of Emotional Intelligence. It is a concept that was invented a while ago by various psychologists, who realised that while some individuals will be high flyers with a high IQ and many qualifications - they won't be equipped with an EQ (Emotional Quotient) to deal with social situations and communicating with people. The psychologists identified certain characteristics and behaviours that are fundamental to successful relationships with people in the workplace and help you to have a better sense of well-being. You can improve your EQ and it can be taught and learned.

Towards of the end of the session, we looked at negotiation skills to mediate a conflict and achieve the outcome we want as part of a performance piece that was recorded for our portfolios for accreditation. The performance is part of a confidence-building process, so that we can identify what to do in a tricky situation.

On Wednesday morning, Glynis visited the group to give demonstrations of equipment that could be of benefit to us as visually impaired and severely visually impaired people. Quite a few of the aids were items that the majority of the group already owned or had heard of and some were completely new items that we had never been introduced to before. Aids and equipment that were demonstrated included: a liquid level indicator, a needle threader, a Braille ruler, a PenFriend, a Colour Identifier, Braille labeller, envelope writing guide, talking scales, talking clock, and a plastic iron guard that surrounds the bottom of an iron to prevent you from burning yourself - something I had never heard of before and really liked the idea of. This was a fantastic session and I really enjoyed being re-introduced to some items that I hadn't been in contact with in a long time, due to the advances in mobile phone technology providing apps instead, replacing the Colour Identifier aid - for instance.

On Thursday, during Linda and Neil's session, I completed all 3 of the sample assignments that were provided to me in Braille and then had my own bits and pieces to do on my iPad that kept me occupied for most of the day; sending e-mails, updating my social media profiles and writing my next contributor blog posts for Living Paintings and Henshaws - as well as preparing some future blog posts for my own personal blog.

You can find out more about Skillstep by clicking here and can register your interest to the course via e-mail.