I’ve been away, but now I’m back

Kubrick typewriter The Shining

Rick Hall via Creative Commons

Forgive me father for I have sinned, it’s been nearly a year since my last blogpost…

Last March I wrote a post on struggling to fit CPD into my life, and still have a life. Nothing’s changed but, sadly, ceasing to blog did not free up the time or the willpower to finish my Chartership portfolio! Instead I drifted away from the process and now have a six-month hole in my CPD events list. Oops.

So I’m back to blogging in the hope that it will anchor my attempts to charter and provide some sort of focus. Let’s start as we mean to go on with a blogpost on a recent ons.gov.uk training session I attended and some thoughts on the February issue of CILIP Update.

#chartership chat on Twitter – the evaluative statement, 29 March 2012

Date and time: 29 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm BST
Topic: the evaluative statement
Participants: 14
Tweets: about 160

I tuned in to the first #chartership chat on Twitter last month but I missed the last two so it was great to get involved again. Tonight’s theme was the evaluative statement, and while there weren’t as many of us present this week (@joeyanne was missing and we were competing with the hottest day of the year, as @cjclib pointed out!), @tinamreynolds did a great job keeping the conversation going and the discussion was just as fast-flowing and crammed with useful tips.

@joeyanne will be archiving the tweets as usual and you can still read write-ups of the previous #chartership chats. The next chat is on 12 April at 6.30pm BST, and the theme will be the mentor/mentee relationship.

16 February, #Chartership chat on Twitter blogpost by @joeyanne
Storify on #chartership chat by @ellyob
1 March, Chatting about Chartership blogpost by @el399
17 March, collecting and reporting evidence blogpost by @Library_Quine

I’ve taken the approach of previous bloggers and tried to pull out the main areas we discussed, as well as the best practical tips for writing your statement.

Planning and drafting the evaluative statement

There was some debate over when to start thinking about the evaluative statement. @Misteemog collected a mass of evidence first, drew it together in the statement, writing about each item, then “pruned the best bits”. @Readyourbook suggested arranging your evidence into a coherent order first, then writing a sentence about each piece of evidence as a first draft:

@Readyourbook on drafting statement

Some said they’d been thinking about the evaluative statement while they were collecting evidence – @ellyob jots down ideas for the statement under each of her chartership objectives, alongside possible evidence. @tinamreynolds and @Readyourbook both wished they’d started thinking about the statement at an earlier stage. Whether or not you draft your statement as you’re going along, we all agreed it was advisable to think about the criteria as well as your PPDP goals while you’re gathering evidence.

@Readyourbook pointed out that drafting the statement can help you to focus on reflection, and to weed out evidence that doesn’t add anything to your portfolio.

What to focus on

I’ve reached the point where I want to draft my evaluative statement, but I’m struggling to set out a framework, so it was great to get some input from other chartershippers (charterers? Hmm).

@AnabelMarsh “parachuted in” to pass on some advice from a recent chartership meeting she attended. The assessors she met prefer the statement to be based on the criteria, because it makes their job easier, though they’re not opposed to other approaches. @annetteearl followed this framework, writing 250 words on each of the four criteria.

We agreed it didn’t matter if your evidence applied to more than one of the criteria – they’re bound to cross over (most activities, as @tinamreynolds pointed out, will count as commitment to CPD), and applying to multiple criteria can strengthen your evidence – although it may make writing the statement harder!

If there isn’t room for in-depth reflection in the statement, where else can you put it?

The statement is limited to 1,000 words, so there isn’t much room for proper reflection – @Schopflin repeated the mantra, “Make every word count”, and pointed out that “your statement should be supported by evidence, not contain it”. @Misteemog was advised to think of the statement as an executive summary of your application.

@tinamreynolds posed a question:

@tinamreynolds on reflective writing in evidence

@johnmcmahon31 writes a reflective report on each event he attends. The portfolio I currently have on loan from CILIP (by Simon Ward) makes very good use of this – every training day and course is written up in a report, including aims and achievements, so the author is reflecting on lessons he’s learned and applied in the workplace as well as just describing the experience. The statement can then be limited to one or two lines for each objective.

The CV is another place to add reflection:

@katy_bird on reflective writing in CV

By describing your key achievements in each job role and how you applied what you learned on training courses to the workplace, you can save space in your statement. Four pages is a lot to play with; even if you’re as prolific as @tinamreynolds and have reems of training to draw on, you can add a line or two of reflection on the most useful courses if you’re selective.

@Readyourbook suggested adding some reflection to an explanatory note at the top of each piece of evidence, to make it absolutely clear to the assessors why the evidence is included.

Other issues covered

  • @ellyob wondered how many objectives you should identify in the PPDP – most people had four or five development areas but could bundle different objectives together under each one
  • How much evidence do you put in the portfolio?
  • Ways of organising evidence – whiteboards, physical piles of evidence, post-it notes in a matrix
  • The benefits of including an explanatory statement at the top of each piece of evidence, making it clear why it is included
  • Reassurance that any changes to the chartership process following the Future Skills consultation won’t apply to anyone who is already registered for chartership
  • What to include in the CV

Top tips on writing the evaluative statement

  • It’s never too early to think about the evaluative statement – if you have it in mind while you’re gathering evidence it’ll be much easier to write
  • Think of your statement as an executive summary
  • Assessors prefer it if you base your statement on the criteria (though it’s not the only way) – the clearer you make it the easier their job is
  • It’s all about reflection not description – the place to describe activities is in the evidence…
  • …and if you go over the word limit try to fit more reflective writing into your evidence
  • Ensure everything in the portfolio is referred to in the statement – don’t let evidence sit alone
  • Arrange the statement with headings, bullet points etc to break up the text – it’s easier for the assessors to read and navigate (although long headings might eat up the word count!)

Chartership update: getting motivated

So I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging in general – it was sunny outside, and warm, and there was something on the telly… – but I’m getting back into Chartership again now it’s autumn (just).

I only got as far as week six with my to do lists, so I’m going to try and do one a fortnight instead from now on. Bit more of a chance I’ll keep it up!

My PPDP has been approved by my mentor so I’ve got to send that off to CILIP this week, and I need to organise my CPD spreadsheet so that I can start compiling my portfolio. I’m at the point now where I know what I want to do, it’s just a case of doing it and documenting it, then reflecting. It sounds so easy when I put it like that!

To do in the next few weeks:

  • Send PPDP to CILIP
  • Properly start CPD spreadsheet – with a column for reflecting
  • Catch up on CPD23 course – woefully behind!
  • Finish reorganising what’s already on the intranet


CPD23 Thing 11: Mentoring

Meg’s post on CPD23 Thing 11: Mentoring

A quick one after the mammoth Thing 10 post! Chartership is my first official experience with a mentor, but I’ve had unofficial guidance from several colleagues over the years. Having someone who has experience of my working environment to advise me on my development has been really important at various stages.

My mentor now is a former colleague, and also a good friend, so she understands where I’m coming from both professionally and personally. I’m sure she’ll continue to mentor me unofficially even after I’ve chartered!

Chartership to do list week 6: outcomes

Not too bad but I still need to make time in my life for reading all my RSS’d articles. I need a few telly-free nights I think!

  • Get mentor to sign PPDP and send to CILIP – PPDP is with mentor
  • Write up notes from recent events – done
  • Reflect on work since return from leave – doing
  • Catch up with Google Reader articles – um…
  • Start writing CPD audit – I’ve created a Google spreadsheet (I do love a Google spreadsheet)

Chartership: Body of professional knowledge

Cilip: Body of Professional Knowledge

The body of professional knowledge is one of the things about Chartership that I can’t quite get my head around, a bit like the more theoretical aspects of reflective practice.

I understand the basic idea – that at the core of the information profession, there is a basic level of knowledge that is essential for any professional to have, regardless of the specifics of their role.

I understand, too, that providing a diagramatic framework helps to highlight any shortcomings in your current knowledge, and possible routes for continuing development.

What I struggle with is applying the theoretical concepts to my job. I’ve read the CILIP document, and the sections on the body of knowledge in several Chartership handbooks, but I’m not sure where to go from there.

Do I draw a diagram for the roles I perform at work, to include in my portfolio, or do I assume that reading it is enough? Any advice from chartered professionals gratefully received!

Chartership to do list week 6: Back on track

After a brief hiatus (weekends away + busy office = too many distractions!) I’m getting back into chartering. A bit of progress – I’ve written my PPDP, hurrah!

  • Get mentor to sign PPDP and send to CILIP
  • Write up notes from recent events
  • Reflect on work since return from leave
  • Catch up with Google Reader articles
  • Start writing CPD audit