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Leadership Workshop by TeachFirst


I received an email regarding the workshop on 29/11/11, stating that the Leadership Workshop will be taking place on 5/12/11 at various times and that places would be very limited. Therefore, I checked my diary, saw that 1-3pm was the most convenient time and replied to the email in order to secure my place at the Workshop. I felt that this would be a very important session to improve my Leadership Skills,because I don’t have very much experience in this field.


The first thing I had to do at the start of the Workshop was to write down a time where I was a leader. I used the example from my teaching experience in Sri Lanka (mentioned in my Skills Audit) where I acted as a leader in the classroom as well as in sporting activities. This was returned to later on in the session.

Next I had to pick a quote off the wall which I felt linked best with Leadership, and I chose “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person”, from Mother Teresa. I was the only person who chose this one, but I was asked to explain why, and I interpreted it to mean that in a time of crisis you cannot simply wait for a leader to appear, you need to take charge. I felt that this person who bravely comes forward and takes control is worthy of being a respectable leader.

Then as a group we had to pick a leader from the board (including Political, Business and Wartime leaders) and identify their Leadership skills. I suggested Martin Luther King Jnr., the group agreed and we highlighted three of his key skills:

  1. Public Speaking;
  2. The ability to encourage others to get involved in the cause;
  3. Great courage and passion for his beliefs.
I acted on the quote from earlier, and instead of waiting for others I elected to take charge and read the ideas out to the other groups. I also said that we felt that these skills are relevant for most leaders, in spite of who they are leading and the aims they are trying to achieve. We also discussed how personality is very important to leaders, for example the charm and charisma of someone like Barack Obama, who is a very young and fresh leader, with the ability to lead others.
Later, we looked at some points and we had to decide whether they described Leadership or Management Skills. When asked to share our views, I did contradict the views of our group. I agreed to an extent, however I acted on a good quote from Tony Blair, “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” I agreed strongly with this quote, and I chose to disagree with the group’s views as I felt differently. I feel this showed good Leadership skills, by not simply taking things as given.
Our penultimate task was to build a freestanding giraffe from newspaper and tape, and once again I nominated myself as leader, and I helped to delegate tasks and organise the building of the giraffe, whilst also taking part myself. Finally, I was lucky to have my Leadership example read out at the end, and the Workshop coordinator said it was a very good example, however it could be developed by giving specific details such as the content of the lessons, as well as the quantity and age of the pupils involved.


I haven’t taken any immediate actions following the Workshop, but I can certainly use this  experience to take actions in the future. For example, when completing a CV or when at an interview, I now know how to sell my skills better, like the example of my Teaching Experience. Furthermore, I now want to try and develop my own skills and hopefully become a more respectable leader, similarly to some of the leaders we looked at, but of course on a much smaller scale, in Seminars and as my role as Course Rep. I also managed to do some Networking with the representatives of TeachFirst, which run a teaching scheme which I have heard of before. They mentioned that they had both taken part in the scheme, which led to them getting their jobs as Workshop Coordinators. They said that we could contact them for any information, and I also picked up a booklet and asked some additional information, like when to apply to the scheme.


I feel that this Workshop went very successfully, as I am now aware of the major qualities required to be a good leader. I can now try to emulate these skills, such as the art of public speaking, which is one of the areas I feel that I lack in, and also develop those which I currently possess, such as a likeable personality.

The skills I utilised the most included Public Speaking, where I spoke out in front of the rest of the group quite confidently, making my points clear and projecting my voice effectively, so others could hear. This was a skill which I learned to develop at the Speaking with Confidence Workshop. Another skill I used was effective Communication with the rest of my group, where I was able to share my ideas with them, but also to listen carefully to their ideas as well. Therefore, I was able to sum up all of the points into one concise list, for example when choosing the key skills possessed by Martin Luther King Jnr. I also helped to give our group Direction several times by taking the lead and ensuring that we were heading toward the desired goals, such as building a giraffe from paper.

The main skill which I still need to improve on is Delegating, as this was the only skill I marked as a 2 on my Skills Audit, as I felt that I didn’t have much experience with this. However, in this Workshop while making the giraffe, I did take the lead and I helped to Delegate tasks among the group, giving each member a specific role in order to reach our desired aim.


First Reflective Post & Skills Audit

Skills Audit – Nathan Sherratt

After completing the Skills Audit I have been able to identify a possible career, based upon my strengths, and I have recognised the skills I will need to improve and develop to become employable in this field. I feel that with my degree in English, combined with my previous experience and the skills I currently possess, that Teaching could be a very appropriate career to pursue.

What skills do I currently possess?

  • Problem Solving/Creativity: I feel that this is one of the most relevant skills required for teaching, because as a teacher I would have to be able to use creativity to withhold the interest of the pupils. Additionally, I will have to make the topic understandable for them, so they are able to successfully learn it by the end of the lesson. As mentioned in my Skills Audit, I utilised this skill while teaching children in Sri Lanka, where I used creative tasks like getting the class to sing the ‘Rainbow Song’, which resulted in them learning the colours of the rainbow by the end of the lesson.
  • Project Management: This was another skill which I rated as ‘4’, as I felt I have developed this one quite well, and it is another skill which is vital for teaching, as I learned when teaching in Sri Lanka. I had to plan lessons in advance, thinking of the lesson objectives, how I was going to teach the children and what resources would be needed. This meant that the lessons went to plan very smoothly, and it came to a close when the hour had run out. This skill is very important for planning lessons effectively and ensuring that the necessary information is covered within a one hour lesson.

What skills do I aim to develop? And how?

  • Leadership: It will be very important to be a respected and inspirational teacher, in order to motivate the pupils to work hard in class. I feel that I have developed this skill, once again during my experience, as I used my personal enthusiasm to hold the attention of others and keep them interested in the activities and tasks. Nevertheless, I think that I need to improve this skill because this was only one of the few instances where I was able to be a leader. Therefore, to develop this skill I will attend the relevant workshops held in University and I will be able to use my role as Course Rep to act as a respectable leader for my fellow students. I can use my enthusiasm to prove that I am interested in improving their experience, and use my influence to make some changes if required.
  • Confidence (Communication): This was another skill which I only marked as ‘3’, however I feel that I need to develop this skill for a possible career in teaching. It will be very important to be confident and not intimidated when speaking to a large number of children, to show that I am in charge and that I am at ease when teaching them. This will help to engage and maintain their attention. Nevertheless, after my first SSC Meeting I realised that my public speaking confidence was not as good as I would have liked. In order to develop this I then attended the Speaking with Confidence workshop, which was very useful. Therefore, in the future I will attend more workshops to improve this skill and I will also try to speak publicly as much as possible.

Speaking with Confidence Workshop


I had previously attended my first SSC Meeting, where I put an issue forward in front of the Committee regarding the Library Bookshop Loyalty Scheme. However, I immediately identified that my confidence and communication skills were lacking somewhat, as I felt quite nervous when putting across my point. Therefore, I thought that it would be a very good idea to attend the Speaking with Confidence workshop.


In the workshop, I worked in a group with 3 others and we had to think of an idea to put forward. The exercise developed our Teamwork skills, which was useful as it helped us to work together to think of a possible issue and then to put this down on paper. However, the main aim was to identify how to formulate an argument. We learned that every point needs a main argument and reasons for this, usually in the form of evidence. I read out the idea (which suggested that emails aren’t the best way of communicating with students) and I felt that my speaking skills were pretty good when talking in front of the others at the workshop. Nevertheless, it was pointed out that I should have been less harsh with the issue. It would have been better to begin with the benefits of  using emails, and then maybe to suggest that alternative ways could also be used in addition to emails, and not to simply remove emails altogether.

I later worked in a pair with another fellow student and we took part in an exercise which showed the importance of both body language and voice projection when speaking in different environments. This helped to improve my confidence as we had to shout across the room to each other, which was an effective way to demonstrate the importance of these two points when speaking publicly.


At my next SSC Meeting on 24/11/11 I put forward a point on the Bibliography and Referencing Tutorial, which was causing some issues with my fellow English students. I emailed the Chair of the meeting in advance, stating that I had an issue to bring forward and then I put my idea forward. I stated that the Tutorial is very useful for students, as Referencing and creating a Bibliography are very important things for English students, as we use these things in the majority of our essays. However, I highlighted some issues of this, including some students’ unawareness of the tutorial; the difficulty in finding it; some parts of it were outdated (eg: the references to pages from last year’s English Handbook) and the fact that it only gave a mark, and not feedback for improvements.


It is evident to see that I put the skills I learned at the Workshop into practice at my next SSC Meeting. Firstly, I put forward a formulated argument which was not harsh, as it presented the benefits of the Tutorial before highlighting some issues which have arisen. This helped to validate my argument, as it praised and constructively criticised the Tutorial instead of just simply discrediting it. Additionally, I was much more confident when I put the point forward as I did not feel as nervous as before. Therefore, I was able to confidently state my point, giving it more credibility and it meant that others listened to me and respected what I had to say.

Additionally, I used Communication skills with my fellow students, once again to gather information on issues which had arisen, nevertheless this was only by word-of-mouth again, so I need to develop a more effective way of collecting opinions. This also showed Organisational skills, because I chose to email the Chair beforehand with my point, so it became clear that I was going to speak on this issue at the meeting, helping me to prepare how to structure my argument in advance.

However, I can still certainly develop my Communication and my Argument skills by attending further workshops and practicing more. I can do this in order to help myself to be fully confident when speaking and to be able to formulate an argument even more convincingly and effectively.

SSC Meeting – 20/10/11


In preparation for the meeting I tried to gather some information from my fellow students. I made it aware to the friends I have met in Lectures and also to those in my Seminar groups that I am an English Course Representative. I told them that if they have any issues, they can tell me and I will be able to take these forward in the meetings, and attempt to find a solution. One of the issues which arose was regarding the Library Loyalty Card scheme, which people were dissatisfied with, as the £5 voucher can not be used to buy books.


When it was the turn of the Library Bookshop representative to talk, I felt that was the appropriate time to raise the issue. When the Chair asked if there were any matters, I said that some people were unhappy with the scheme, and felt that they could compete better with sellers like Amazon, if they were able to get discounts off books, and not just stationary or hoodies, which are less necessary.


Following the meeting, I fed the information back to my fellow students, especially to those who raised the issue to me. I told them that the representative said that it was an issue which had been raised before, which showed that they had thought of a valid matter to bring up. I also told them that I will keep them up-to-date on the development on the issue, and that I should obtain some further information in the upcoming SSC Meetings.


I used good Teamwork skills when I was gathering information from my fellow students, helping to form relationships by asking for their feelings on the course. I feel that allowing them to tell me their thoughts helped us to bond further, and it meant that they could feel comfortable in approaching me when they are having certain issues and problems. However, I feel that only collecting information by word-of-mouth was quite ineffective, as I was only able to gather a few opinions. In the future, it would be better to utilise my IT Skills, using social networking sites, where I can reach a wider audience and in order to give students a simple way to share and discuss their thoughts. This would also be a very useful tool for feeding information back to the students, when I receive feedback from the meetings, for example the developments in solving an issue.

I used Communication and Negotiation skills when I put my point forward, presenting the issues posed by the current Loyalty Card scheme, and why the students feel that this should be changed. I believe my argument was convincing, as it invoked the representative of the Bookshop to note down the issue and take further action. Nevertheless, I feel that I could have presented the point less harshly, maybe by starting off with the benefits of the scheme, rather than simply criticising it. Furthermore, I think my Communication skills were weaker than I would have liked, as I was quite nervous when talking in front of the Committee. Therefore, I need to improve my speaking skills, and this could be done by attending the Speaking with Confidence workshop. Despite this meeting taking place prior to my completion of the Skills Audit, it was very useful in showing me where my skills are lacking. Therefore, I feel that I used the Initiative by individually identifying my weak public speaking skills and choosing to attend the Speaking with Confidence workshop.