HEA Fellowship Writing Frenzy – Applying the Pomodoro Time Management Technique™ | Frenzy Ysgrifennu Cymrodoriaeth yr AAU – Gweithredu ‘Pomodoro Time Management Technique™

The Recognition Team (consisting of myself, Darren Minister and Natalie Morgan) organised a Writing Frenzy, attended by 7 applicants for HEA Fellowship/Senior Fellowship on Friday September 6th 2019.  The “Frenzy” saw us trying a new approach to writing support for HEA Fellow applicants.  This is the first of a 2 part blogpost reflecting on delivering a different type of learning support.

Calling it a Fellowship Writing Frenzy possibly conjures up a room full of people screaming, typing away and perhaps some melodramatics when the writer’s block kicks in. Possibly a bit of this…..

Blank notepad with some of the pages scrumpled up next to it.

 

 

 

 

 

But not so.  Using a Pomodoro Time Management TechniqueTM (Cirillo F, 2018), I applied an approach used by a colleague, Dr. Kate Cuthbert at Nottingham Trent University (@Cuthbert_Kate) which was to just provide participants with caffeine, snacks and space to write – with a little bit of guidance on the side.  There was no opportunity for formative feedback on the content written, since opportunities exist elsewhere for this.

How was it different from our existing support sessions?

Other sessions we run are usually 3 hours in duration and require homework, in-class discussions, exploration of good tips with fairly limited time for writing.  Most attendees have appreciated the activities of looking at an extract/example of a Fellowship application, applying the Fellowship criteria, considering the recommendation and feedback.  All with the view of applying that knowledge to their own draft, albeit little actual time spent writing their own story during those sessions.

In September’s Frenzy, guided by material supplied by Kate Cuthbert, we adapted a series of 30 minute blocks of activity (K2, K3) from 10 – 2.30 p.m., with information of what makes an effective account and at the end of the day, the application form requirements plus tips from one of our assessors (K1). Initially we encouraged attendees to plan their day using their Needs Analysis with refinement of specific goals to bring a sense of achievement recommended through this approach (K2, K3).

Why did we try something new?

Our ‘usual’ sessions run usually during the term time and are carefully scheduled on the run up to application deadlines. The scheduling takes into account vacation periods and avoids exam marking and graduation commitments.  From October 2018, they have however been optional and in most cases only a handful of attendees.  Attendance at the sessions doesn’t guarantee first-time application success (and numbers have been so low to mean statistical tests in relation to outcomes aren’t valid), but we want to be able to offer support to colleagues. So, we asked ourselves the questions:

  • Is it the “homework” required beforehand for our usual offering which is off putting?
  • Is it the timing of the sessions and/or when they are delivered?
  • Are the titles of the sessions uninspiring?
  • Is it the general availability of the sessions? When are they needed most?

Feedback from the sessions over the years has been positive but it seems that time availability as well as procrastination are key factors affecting someone’s engagement. So, a focused session seemed to be an appropriate response to address putting off writing (Oakley, 2015; Flint, 2019).

Would we call it a writing retreat (or did that seem too ‘serious’?). We opted for as much alliteration as possible Fellowship Friday Writing Frenzy – to convey a little bit of fun too.

Writing Retreats aren’t new, and I also offered similar ‘Shut Up and Write Sessions’ in the very early stages of promoting HEA Fellowship. You can’t just designate a ‘writing day’ though.  Having some structure and focus is important and recent research reinforces the value of the structured approach to improving the writing process for academic staff preparing research publications (Kempenaar and Murray, 2019 and Kramer and Libhaber, 2016).  There are also various types of ‘writing groups’ that can be formed to support general writing/research writing (Rockquemore K-A, 2019).

So What? Was the new format successful?

Defining “success” OR “impact” as all those supporting learning will attest to is not straightforward.

  • Is success measured in amount of words written during the day?
  • Progress in identifying specific goals?
  • Quality of written feedback on the drafts?
  • Whether the actual submissions are successful first time?
  • Are new connections made to foster support and/or collaboration?
  • Increased confidence for the writer?

Kate Cuthbert said a key thing about the session was the learning environment – making it comfortable but welcoming.  On the walls we had inspirational quotes about writing and reflection, the UKPSF, guidelines about the difference between Fellow and Senior Fellow, on the tables, some mints to keep everyone going, and importantly refreshments and biscuits!

Success? Well while some found the timing of the writing sessions too short – 25 minutes – the feedback we had was:

Needed this time and space away from the office to jumpstart my writing

The session was a “very helpful day, well structured, organised” and that it provided an “opportunity to write without distractions

Recognition Team staff provided “clear, knowledgeable advice about the process”

No feedback about the learning environment! Something to think about for future delivery.

Moving Forward

We’ve recently scoped the appetite for future “Writing Retreats” at the end of this term and start of next term.  Please let us know what you think by completing this survey: https://bit.ly/2kHbwVt

Recognition Team staff are willing to provide a variety of approaches to help you prepare your Fellowship applications.  But we can’t write it for you.  You have to reflect on and write your own story.

Don’t let this be your reflection in October 2020:

Person standing looking up at the stars with the phrase ' A Year from now you wish you had started today"

 

Watch out for part 2 of this series.

References:

Cirillo, F. (2018) The Pomodoro TechniqueTM: The Life-Changing Time-Management System, Virgin Books: London

Flint E. (2017) “The Tale of the Squished Pomodoro: using writing groups to support Professional Recognition applications” Blogpost https://teachingacademyblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-tale-of-the-squished-pomodoro-using-writing-groups-to-support-professional-recognition-applications/ accessed September 23 2019.

Kramer, B. and E. Libhaber (2016) “Writing for publication: institutional support provides an enabling environment” BMC Medical Education, London Vol. 16,  (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-016-0642-0

Kempenaar, L. and R. Murray (2019) “Widening access to writing support: beliefs about the writing process are key” Journal of Further and Higher Education; Abingdon Vol. 43, Iss. 8,  (Oct 2019): 1109-1119. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2018.1450964

Oakley, Barbara (2015) “Ketchup on work with the PomodoroTM method”, The Times Educational Supplement; London Iss. 5163,  (Sep 11, 2015).

Rockquemore K-A (2019) Monday Motivator series: May 13 2019: http://www.facultydiversity.org/ Reposted in https://tomprof.stanford.edu/posting/1734

Fe wnaeth y Tîm Cydnabyddiaeth (yn cynnwys fi, Darren Minister a Natalie Morgan) trefnu Frenzy Ysgrifennu, mynychwyd 7 ymgeisiwr ar gyfer Cymrodoriaeth/Uwch Gymrodoriaeth yr AAU ar Ddydd Gwener Medi 6ed 2019. Fe wnaethon ni ceisio dull newydd i gefnogi ysgrifennu ar gyfer ymgeiswyr Cymrodoriaeth yr AAU, sef y “Frenzy”. Dyma rhan cyntaf o flog dau rhan, yn adlewyrchu ar dull newydd o ddosbarthu cefnogaeth dysgu.

Wrth ei alw’n Frenzy Ysgrifennu Cymrodoriaeth, o bosib, mae’n rhoi’r argraff o ystafell llawn bobl yn sgrechain, teipio, ac efallai melodramâu pan fo’r bloc ysgrifennu’n taro. O bosib, tamaid o hwn.

Empty notepad with some scrumpled paper at the side

 

 

 

 

 

Ond, dim dyna’r sefyllfa. Gan ddefnyddio ‘Pomodoro Time Management Technique™’ (Cirillo F, 2018), fe wnes i ddefnyddio dull â ddefnyddir gan cyd-weithiwr, Dr. Kate Cuthbert o Brifysgol Nottingham Trent (@Cuthbert_Kate). Y dull oedd i ond ddarparu cyfranogwyr â chaffein, snacs a lle i ysgrifennu – gyda thamaid o arweiniad. Nid oedd yna cyfle ar gyfer adborth ffurfiannol ar y cynnwys ysgrifennir, gan fod y cyfleoedd ar gael yn barod ar gyfer hynny.

Sut oedd yn wahanol i’n sesiynau cefnogol presennol?

Mae’r sesiynau arall fel arfer yn 3 awr o hyd ac yn ofynnol o gwblhau gwaith cartref, trafodaethau yn y dosbarth, archwilio awgrymiadau da gydag amser cyfyng i ysgrifennu. Mae’r rhan fwyaf o fynychwyr wedi gwerthfawrogi’r gweithgareddau o edrych ar ddyfyniad/esiampl o gais Cymrodoriaeth, gweithredu meini prawf Cymrodoriaeth, ystyried yr argymhelliad ac adborth. Maent â’r bwriad o rhoi’r gwybodaeth yna i drafft eu hun, er hynny, nid oes llawer o amser yn cael ei wario yn ysgrifennu stori eu hun yn ystod y sesiynau hynny.

Yn Frenzy mis Medi, wedi arwain gan adnoddau darparwyd gan Kate Cuthbert, fe wnaethon ni addasu cyfres o weithgareddau mewn blociau o 30 munud (K2, K3) o 10 -2.30y.p., gyda gwybodaeth o beth sy’n gwneud cyfrif effeithiol ac ar ddiwedd y diwrnod, gofynion y ffurflen gais ac awgrymiadau oddi wrth un o’n haseswyr (K1). I ddechrau, fe wnaethon ni annog mynychwyr i gynllunio eu diwrnod gan ddefnyddio’r Dadansoddiad o Anghenion gyda choethder o amcanion sbesiffig i ddod â synnwyr o lwyddiant argymhellir drwy’r dull yma (K2, K3).

Pam wnaethon ni geisio rhywbeth newydd?

Mae ein sesiynau ‘arferol’ yn rhedeg yn ystod y tymor ac maent wedi rhestri’n ofalus wrth nesáu at ddyddiadau cyflwyno cais. Mae rhestri’r sesiynau yn ystyried cyfnod gwyliau ac yn osgoi marcio arholiadau ac ymrwymiadau graddio. O fis Hydref 2018, maent wedi bod yn opsiynol ac yn y rhan fwyaf o achosion, ond nifer bach o fynychwyr. Nid yw mynychu sesiwn yn sicrhau llwyddiant y tro cyntaf ar gyfer cais (mae’r niferion wedi bod yn fach iawn, felly nid yw cymedr y canlyniadau yn ddilys), ond rydym eisiau gallu cynnig cymorth i’n cydweithwyr. Felly, fe wnaethon ni ofyn y cwestiynau i’n hun:

  • Ydy’r “gwaith cartref” sydd yn angenrheidiol o flaen llaw i’r sesiynau arferol yn rhoi pobl bant?
  • A yw’r amser a/neu pan maent yn cael eu cynnig yn anghyfleus?
  • A yw teitlau’r sesiynau yn ddifflach?
  • A yw’r argaeledd cyffredinol yn broblem? Pryd sydd eisiau cynnal y sesiynau?

Mae adborth o’r sesiynau dros y blynyddoedd wedi bod yn bositif ond mae’n ymddangos bod argaeledd amser ac hefyd oediad yw’r rhesymau allweddol sy’n effeithio ar gyfranogiad person. Felly, roedd sesiwn canolbwyntiedig i weld yn briodol i gyfeirio at beidio ysgrifennu (Oakley, 2015; Flint, 2019).

A fyddwn ni’n ei alw’n enciliad ysgrifennu (neu oedd hynny i weld yn rhy ‘dwys’?). Fe wnaethon ni eithrio am gymaint o gyflythreniad ag sy’n bosib, ‘Fellowship Friday Writing Frenzy’ – i gyfleu bach o sbort hefyd.

Nid yw Enciliadau Ysgrifennu’n newydd, fe wnes i gynnig sesiynau tebyg iawn, ‘Shut up and Write’ yn y dyddiau cyntaf o hybu Cymrodoriaeth yr AAU. Ni allwch ond dynodi ‘diwrnod ysgrifennu’. Mae cael tamaid o strwythur a ffocws yn bwysig; dangosir ymchwil diweddar werth dull strwythuredig ar wella proses ysgrifennu ar gyfer staff academig sy’n paratoi cyhoeddiadau ymchwil (Kempenaar a Murray, 2019 a Kramer a Libhaber, 2016). Mae yna amrywiaeth o fathau o ‘grwpiau ysgrifennu’ gall cael eu ffurfio i gefnogi ysgrifennu cyffredinol/ysgrifennu ymchwil (Rockquemore K-A, 2019).

Felly, Beth? Oedd y fformat newydd yn llwyddiannus?

Nid yw diffinio “llwyddiant” NEU “effaith” yn syml iawn fel bydd y rhai sy’n cefnogi dysgu yn tystio.

  • A yw llwyddiant wedi mesur yn y nifer o eiriau ysgrifennwyd mewn diwrnod?
  • Gwelliant mewn adnabod amcanion sbesiffig?
  • Ansawdd o adborth ysgrifenedig ar ddrafftiau?
  • Os yw’r cais yn llwyddiannus y tro cyntaf?
  • A yw cysylltiadau newydd wedi creu i fabwysiadu cefnogaeth a/neu gydweithrediad?
  • Cynnydd hyder ar gyfer yr ysgrifennydd?

Dywed Kate Cuthbert, peth allweddol ar gyfer y sesiwn oedd yr amgylchedd dysgu – i’w gwneud yn gyfforddus ond yn groesawgar. Ar y waliau roedd gennym dyfyniadau ysbrydoledig am ysgrifennu ac adlewyrchiad, y Fframwaith Safonau Proffesiynol y DU (UKPSF), canllawiau am y gwahaniaeth rhwng Cymrodoriaeth ac Uwch Gymrodoriaeth, ar y fordydd, losin mintys i gadw pawb i fynd, ac yn bwysicach, lluniaeth a bisgedi!

Llwyddiannus? Wrth i rai ffeindio’r amser i ysgrifennu yn y sesiwn yn rhy fyr – 25 munud – yr adborth oedd:

Roedd angen yr amser ar lle i ffwrdd o’r swyddfa i ddechrau fy ysgrifennu

Roedd y sesiwn yn “ddiwrnod defnyddiol iawn, wedi strwythuro’n dda, yn drefnus” ac roedd wedi darparu “cyfle i weithio heb ymyriadau”.

Fe wnaeth staff y Tîm Cydnabyddiaeth darparu “cyngor clir a wybodus am y broses”.

Nid oedd yna adborth am yr amgylchedd dysgu! Rhywbeth i feddwl am ar gyfer darpariaeth yn y dyfodol.

Symud Ymlaen

Yn ddiweddar, fe wnaethom holi am “Enciliadau Ysgrifennu” y dyfodol; ar ddiwedd y tymor yma a dechrau’r tymor nesaf.  Gadewch i ni wybod beth rydych chi’n meddwl trwy gwblhau’r arolwg yma: https://bit.ly/2kHbwVt

Mae staff y Tîm Cydnabyddiaeth yn barod i gynnig amrywiaeth o ddulliau i’ch helpu paratoi eich ceisiadau Cymrodoriaeth. Ond, nid allwn ysgrifennu’r cais i chi. Rhaid i chi adlewyrchu ar stori eich hun.

Peidiwch adael i’ch adlewyrchiad yn Hydref 2020 fod fel hyn:

&nb

 

 

Edrychwch allan am ran 2 o’r gyfres yma.

Cyfeirnodau:

Cirillo, F. (2018) The Pomodoro TechniqueTM: The Life-Changing Time-Management System, Virgin Books: London

Flint E. (2017) “The Tale of the Squished Pomodoro: using writing groups to support Professional Recognition applications” Blogpost:  https://teachingacademyblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-tale-of-the-squished-pomodoro-using-writing-groups-to-support-professional-recognition-applications/ accessed September 23 2019.

Kramer, B. and E. Libhaber (2016) “Writing for publication: institutional support provides an enabling environment” BMC Medical Education, London Vol. 16,  (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-016-0642-0

Kempenaar, L. and R. Murray (2019) “Widening access to writing support: beliefs about the writing process are key” Journal of Further and Higher Education; Abingdon Vol. 43, Iss. 8,  (Oct 2019): 1109-1119. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2018.1450964

Oakley, Barbara (2015) “Ketchup on work with the PomodoroTM method”, The Times Educational Supplement; London Iss. 5163,  (Sep 11, 2015).

Rockquemore K-A (2019) Monday Motivator series: May 13 2019: http://www.facultydiversity.org/ Reposted in https://tomprof.stanford.edu/posting/1734

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