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Developing and managing your personal and professional power is critical if you are to make the most of the opportunities that come your way; more importantly, creating our own opportunities requires us to have an elegant understanding of the knowledge and skills that we wield, as well as the values that give our lives purpose and meaning. 

Researcher and Educator L. Dee Fink has developed a 6-aspect taxonomy of teaching designed to maximise learning in the classroom. At Torque & Speed, this taxonomy is the framework within which much of our ideas are given life, as we feel that every experience is a learning opportunity – indeed, lifelong learning is a hallmark of those who continue to develop and manage their own power.

Reformed as questions, this framework takes on this look:

Values: What are you willing to do – and not willing to do – to get what you want? What gives your life purpose and meaning? How do you respect the people, things and ideas that appear in your life? What ideals do you strive to embody?

Knowledge: What do you know? Terms. concepts, principles; what is possible, probable, likely and unlikely in a given context; the trends and patterns of behaviour in people, institutions, systems and structures. How well do you know yourself?

Skills: What are you able to accomplish? What do you do well?

Relationships: How do you see and honour the people in your life? How do you establish, develop and maintain your relationships? What room do you allow for your relationships to have a natural cycle of birth, growth, maturity and death?

Your own learning: How do you learn? What habits enhance your intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth?

Integrating it all: How mindful are you in your daily life, and as you plan your short- and long-term goals, of your values, knowledge, skills, relationships and habits of learning? 

These questions may seem too much or they may seem basic, but using them as a framework for managing your own power is a helpful tool for seeing, growing and reaching your full potential in this lifetime, and to many of us, that’s all we’ve got. So let’s get started.


(Crosspost from here)

Image: Pasifika patterns. cc licensed (BY ND) Flickr photo by by teachernz

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Comment by Edward Flagg on February 18, 2011 at 16:58
Hazel, I think the taxonomy that Fink has developed gives us a strong holistic foundation from which the human experience can be explored. You are right, IMO, that any act of reflection or planning can benefit from standing on this ground. The AR cycle involves both, and any action research project will not suffer by using these questions (or variations on these themes) in the planning and reflection stages. Similarly, using this framework with students will help them develop their critical eyes as they go through the learner's stages of planning, participating, performing and pausing to reflect. (These stages were developed by another eThos Community member, Diana Ayling; applying Fink's taxonomy to these challenges is explored more fully in my next post).

The other issue of writing v. audio reflection v. video reflection again leads us to the broader human experience. I think each of these provides a format for expression that allows us to explore our lived experience and our planned experience in equally fruitful ways. While each requires its own literacy to both produce and to read, they all are the act of text creation, which means that the elements of the rhetorical situation - reader/writer/text/context - apply. This means that issues of purpose, audience, and publishing ideas still apply in the same or similar ways. For me, anything that gets people to plan and reflect is valuable, regardless of the mental processes and literacies involved. Think of Guernica - the value of that piece of reflection on the human experience crosses time, space and culture, and (returning to our original topic) speaks to values, relationships, and knowledge; it urges us to develop skills to keep such an event from happening again; its emotional appeal provides us a way to learn that may be easier for many of us; and we must, we absolutely must integrate this lesson into our lives.

Kind of opens the door to all sorts of reflection and assessment activity, doesn't it? :-)
Comment by Hazel Owen on February 18, 2011 at 15:12

Thanks, Ed :-)


Would I be right in thinking, therefore, that you would see these questions as almost a ‘toolbox’ for want of another word, that will help us in both personal and professional lives, and which could not only help our reflections on what we have done, but also provide a framework for planning the next steps?


A small question about something that struck me…I was listening to two 13 year olds speak on a podcast episode the other day, and the question of reflection came up. One of the speakers suggested that she would much prefer to record her reflections via audio. I understand that the act of writing uses our brains in a quite specific way, but do you feel this type of reflection could be as rich if recorded in an audio format…or even responded to in images to answer the questions?

Comment by Edward Flagg on February 18, 2011 at 12:56

Hazel, Hello! Thanks for these questions.

I think your idea that our beliefs and needs will change as we progress on our journeys, and that our answers to the questions above will shift as a result, is the kind of thinking that allows for a greater self-awareness, not only of those beliefs and needs and their impact on our identity, but of our journey itself, as well. This awareness of how our identities are changing and of the course of our journeys, as well as the most recent answers to the questions that Fink inspires, is beautiful grist for the mill of our ePortfolios. :-) And a reason to revisit the questions periodically, and at need.


The other question you ask, about how collaborative we want to be in dealing with these issues, for me has two aspects. The first has to do with purpose and audience. If, for example, we're dealing with these questions to explore our current professional identity (for a job search, a performance review, a developmental porfolio, etc.), then our answers to these questions might be shared with a handful of supportive, informed allies. On the other hand, if you're trying to suss out aspects of your personal life, you might be most honest with yourself if you write with only yourself in mind as the audience/reader. Once you gain some understanding of your own thoughts and feelings about the matter, you may then wish to share it with the people for whom it will matter the most. So purpose and audience are the first aspect that comes to mind about sharing.


The other aspect has to do with how comfortable you are with one of the three skills that have been identified as being essential in an ICT world - sharing/publish ideas. If you are comfortable publishing and sharing ideas - and you are brave and confident about the professional or personal self that you are revealing by sharing your answers to the questions above - then I say, go for it, in the proper context.

Comment by Hazel Owen on February 17, 2011 at 11:31
I very much enjoyed your discussion here, with the follow-through questions. Would you suggest that the answers one types up in response to the questions be private, shared with trusted friends/mentors, or thrown open to the world to help shape? Or does it depend where on our journey we are? I can see how the answers to the questions might form the basis of a professional ePortfolio, and how, over time, as our beliefs, needs, and skills change, how, again, they could inform what needed to be done to keep our professional ePortfolio relevant. Thanks :-)

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