One of the challenges I face as a lecturer is to get the students to realise the value of experience and to link that to how their ability is improving. It is not always easy to identify that we are getting better at something unless we get given a pat on the back or a certificate of some kind.
Last weekend I helped my friend Ed Cooper film a concert by the award winning folk band Bellowhead. I gave Ed a hand producing (which is my usual role), but I also used the opportunity to develop my skills as a camera operator. It was at the 02 Academy Bournemouth that I realised I was improving.
Among the crew of 20 we had three student filmmakers on the shoot, and on the way home I asked if it was worth it. They replied that it was fun, but they were vague on what it was they had actually learned.
I wonder if this is because of the instant reward of computer games. Online gaming is particularly great for these reasons:
You will immediately find people to help you on your mission / quest
You will have many opportunities to win
You will have regular fanfares and rewards for doing well
You may gain skill points to distribute to make your character stronger
You face very few real consequences for making a mistake
After the shoot the students (and I) could not access new weaponry or challenges, or see a league table which states how well we had done. But those fanfares were happening.
They may be broad transferable skills:
Making small talk with strangers +2
Lifting heavy things + 4
Working in a professional manner +5
Following instructions +4
Working as a team +6
Working to a deadline +2
Dealing with stress +3
As well as the more specific:
Using camera equipment + 7
Framing an image +5
Responding to music cues + 3
I am sure there are many more too. It is hard to measure these achievements and we often do not recognise them unless we get a qualification or grade at the end. When the cinema was threatened with closure and I was looking for work I realised that even though I have good I.T skills, unless I have a little piece of paper quantifying my ability then employers would over look me.
It sometimes seems that the pieces of paper are taking over and making it difficult for us to recognise the achievements we make in every day life.
My advice is this: Go get those pieces of paper and be proud of them, but don’t forget to recognise that every day you learn, improve and develop.
So give yourself a fanfare – you deserve it.
You can buy Bellowheads first concert DVD, also by Ed Cooper (and friends) at Amazon
This is a music video Ed Cooper (and friends) did for them too.