The pd4me website was developed by Action on Hearing Loss (RNID) and ASLI as a response to the need to provide resources to support professional sign language interpreters. It was launched on 1st April 2006. It was intended as a professional development resource that encourages knowledge sharing and much of the information was submitted by users. One of its aims was to make professional development resources accessible to all interpreters, including those who may be able to access CPD opportunities for geographical, financial or other reasons.
At the time of its launch John Law, (RNID), said “The launch of pd4me provides a dynamic online resource, enabling sign language interpreters to share best practice and facilitate continuous professional development.”
Sadly, the website is no longer available; the ASLI board in response to a member’s request, and with the permission of the original contributors, is now able to share many of the resources from the pd4me site below.
If you have a free resource that you would like to contribute to this page please send your resource to firstname.lastname@example.org it can then be added to this collection. More resources coming soon.
Contributors: Darren Townsend-Handscomb, Dr Jules Dickinson, Karen Gillespie, Audrey Simmons, Sam Mailes, Helen Tagg
This section of pd4me contains real life dilemmas faced by interpreters round the world.
We can use them to:
- Learn from our colleagues’ experiences and mistakes.
- Practice dealing with difficult or otherwise unexpected situations.
- Stimulate further discussion of the ethical, professional and human issues that arise in professional practice.
- Wonder ‘what would I do if …’.
- Practically apply your professional association’ Code of Ethics / Practice.
- Develop role-plays for students, customers and colleagues.
- Provide an insight for interested parties into the nature of dilemmas faced.
Feel free to use them on your own, with colleagues, customers, or other interested parties. However remember, they are descriptions of real situations, and so the professionals do not always do the ‘right’ thing.
Whilst real life, sufficient details have all been changed that if the dilemma feels familiar, it’s not because you recognise it, but that many of these situations are common in the interpreting world.
- wrong booking information 1
- Unqualified co-worker 1
- Previous person interpreting unqualified 1
- office interpreting 1
- Interpreting with parent 1
- lip-read don’t need interpreter
- Assumed skills of other professionals 1
- no interpreter 1
- No co-worker 1
- Lip read, don’t need interpreter 1
- Filling in a blank form and advice
This section of pd4me contains professional development exercises contributed by interpreters and trainers around the world.
Feel free to use them on your own, with colleagues, students, or other interested parties. Use them to support your own professional development, when feeding back to colleagues, within a mentoring relationship, when training and setting ‘homework’, etc.
For Trainers, why not keep all your exercises here? The benefit is that: your students can access them anywhere at any time, and you gain access to the exercises contributed by others.
However remember that whilst we check exercises for clarity etc. we can’t road test them all. So it is up to you to make sure that the ones you select are appropriate for you or the people you are working with, and will achieve what you want it to.
- BSL Production SKills
- chunking and consecutive 1
- Coping StrategiesDecolage_and_Lag time
- Decolage_and_Lag time
- mirroring sign language 1
- Preparation 1 everything you know
- Short Term Memory 1
What is a Learning Journal?
It is simply a record of your learning, of any actions that you need or want to take because of what you have learned, and of any useful resources identified. So, after; attending a course, reading a book, watching a colleague, getting feedback, having a discussion etc., you may want to record your learning.
Why do you need Learning Journals?
The purpose of keeping a LJ is to enable you to think through learning opportunities and summarise them in a format that helps you to focus and develop your skills. It allows you to consolidate learning, think clearly about your learning needs, and review and reflect on what you have learnt. It also acts as evidence of continuous learning, and helps focus discussions in supervision etc. Lastly, it helps capture resources for your own future use, or for sharing with colleagues.
Like many of us you may have kept copious notes from a course you attended, only to look back a few months later and wonder what on earth you learned! With a short, well written (by written read written or kept on a PC), in a few seconds you should be able to identify your key learning and actions you wanted to take, and the resources you wanted to share. Over time this in itself improves the value of attending courses etc.
And please remember that LJs are primarily written for you, and for your own use. You therefore don’t need to write to ‘explain’ things to other people, only sufficient information to remind yourself.
What goes into Learning Journals?
There are three main uses for LJs, and in each you would record slightly different information.
When writing a LJ following a training event you have attended you will need to record: details of the course, the actual event programme and participants (you can attach these if you have them already), and then your Learning Points, Action Points, and any useful resources. You may then need to refer to where these resources can be found, or append them as appropriate.
Following an Assignment where you are writing a LJ you will need to record: sufficient details re the assignment to help you remember (whilst not breaching confidentiality), and any LP’s and APs. You may also want to put in details for your own future records, for example where there were problems in an assignment that you then dealt with. This is especially true of legal and child protection work for example.
Lastly, when you are using a LJ for anything else, you will need to record sufficient detail for the thing in question, whether a book, discussion, or whatever, along with your LPs, APs, and any resources. This may include any assignments that made you think about your skills, where there was a dilemma, or feedback received from your colleague, co-worker or client. You can also include your own perceptions on your knowledge and skill development.
Remember, it is the quality and not the quantity of information that will help you the most.
What are Learning Points and Action Points?
Just a shorthand way of noting your learning and any actions you want to undertake. You simply write LP …. or AP … and then a summary of the point you want to remember / do.
How do my PDP and LJs link?
Once you have recorded this information on your LJ this may feed into your PDP and vice a versa.
For example you may have done an assignment where you struggled with role shift. If this is now a pattern that you have identified, then you may have an Aim or Objective in your PDP to develop skills in this area.
Alternatively you may have decided to look at your knowledge of BSL linguistics and recorded this on your PDP. You then attended a course and read a linguistics book. Your learning from the course and book would then be recorded in your LJ with your ideas on how to put what you have learnt into practice. This then feeds back into your PDP where you record your next step.
Why are there three pro formas?
Because we are all different. There are several choices of PDP proformas, and you will want to choose just the one which best suits you. You may need to try them out first to see which you find easier to use. If you wish to record your PDP using a different, or you’re own, pro forma you may do so, so long as all of the elements covered in the existing pro formas are covered in yours. You may also record on PC, again so long as you cover all the elements, including tracking changes and updates. The same is true of the LJs, though you may find that different styles of LJ are better suited for different purposes.
Your LJs help you clarify and capture Learning, key Actions, and resources.
LJs should be kept short and sweet, containing LPs, APs, and resources, and are written for you to support your professional development.
NB this document and pro formas are adapted from originals developed in the RNID as part of their staff Professional Development scheme.
What is a Professional Development Plan (PDP)?
A Professional Development Plan is a document that highlights goals you would like to achieve in your professional life. Its purpose is to provide a structure where you can plan and track your learning needs. Each Professional Development Plan is unique and subjective, as although you may have the same Professional Development aim as another interpreter, how you will achieve this may be different.
You may also see PDP used as an abbreviation for Personal Development Plan. Both refer to the same thing, however the Personal version encourages you to have goals in both your professional and personal life.
Why do you need a PDP?
Here are 4 reasons for keeping and maintaining your PDP:
Firstly, it is simply the best way for you to manage your own Professional Development. There is plenty of evidence to show that the more time you take to identify, prioritise and plan your development needs, the more successful you are likely to be.
Second, stemming from that, it helps you to identify what you want to try, observe, get feedback on, or learn in any given study or work situation.
Thirdly, it provides you with a way of working with someone else (e.g. colleague, mentor, supervisor) on your professional goals, so that they can support you.
Lastly, regularly updated PDPs are excellent evidence of your Continuous Professional Development, for example as required within the Interpreting NVQ in England.
What goes into a PDP?
You will almost certainly already have ideas about where you should be focussing your Professional Development. This may have come from your own perception, development work, professional, registration or work requirements, and from feedback from courses, colleagues, and customers.
A PDP allows helps you to think through, and lay out the following:
Where am I now?
Where do I want to get to?
The headings you will typically find in a PDP reflect this, and allow you to refine your thinking further. So for example in some of the pd4me blank PDPs you will find a number of the following headings (or similar):
How can I get there?
How will I know once I’ve got there?
- Target date – when do you expect to achieve your aims or objectives?
- Aims – what is it that you want to achieve?
- Objectives – breaking down the aims to smaller goals.
- Tasks or How will I achieve the objective – the details of what you need to do.
- Success Measures – how will you measure the improvement or achievement?
- Outcomes – what actually happened.
- Achievement date – when it was achieved.
- Next steps – what you need or want to do next.
- Comments – anything you want to say that doesn’t fit anywhere else.
- PDP Review date – when you will check all of your goals & achievements.
You can find examples of how you could use most of these headings for your pd planning later.
As your PDP is meant to be a working document it doesn’t need to look pretty. You will probably want to update it and write all over it, as you do what is planned, revise plans, and create new ones. You don’t need to create a new PDP until the old one is too tatty to use.
Where am I now?
Identifying where you are now is not the focus of this paper, so here are a just few suggestions for identifying and prioritising areas of skills, knowledge or experience you need or want to develop:
- Identify external requirements, work, professional, or registration.
- Keep a record of the feedback you receive, from other people and yourself. Prioritise the issues, identifying those that create the greatest impact on customers, your confidence, etc. One way to help with this is to number each issue, so the second time it occurs it is number 2, etc.
- Create opportunities to receive feedback – through co-working, being observed by students, from customers, from trainers on courses, etc.
- Recording your own work, so that you can evaluate your performance later. This doesn’t have to be video, as with an audio tape you can listen to your spoken English production.
- Doing pd exercises and identifying areas of development though that.
- Working with a mentor, supervisor or colleague, working with you to help you identify, prioritise and plan.
- Keeping a learning journal / reflective diary (see relevant pd4me section) to identify work / study issues as they arise.
- And pay attention to your intuitions, as they will often (but not always!) be useful in pointing you to priority areas of development.
Where do I want to get to?
Aims – what is it that you want to achieve?
Aims are short, medium and long-term goals. They are usually large pieces of work that are then broken down into smaller steps or Objectives. These objectives (if still large) may in turn be broken down into smaller Tasks. So whilst you may be working towards a long-term aim your PDP will set out the smaller steps or Objectives and Tasks that will eventually help you to achieve that longer-term aim. For example:
Aim: To improve my confidence and skills in order to undertake a variety of Mental Health assignments.
It is usual to try to work on a maximum of 2 or 3 main aims at any time, as with more that it can be difficult to prioritise and focus, and not overload yourself with unrealistic goals.
How can I get there?
Objectives – breaking down the aims to smaller goals.
Once you have decided on one or more aims, you can then identify the objectives that will get you there; these are the smaller steps that take you to your aim. For example:
1) To shadow other interpreters who are undertaking mental health assignments.
2) To read books and articles on interpreting, mental health, and deafness.
3) To learn core psychiatric terminology, and explore English / BSL concept equivalents.
4) Attend a mental health training course.
Tasks / How will I achieve the objective
A task is exactly what you do to achieve your Objective. For example for objective 1) above:
- Ask the Deaf psychiatric service for permission to shadow interpreters.
- Ask colleagues for permission to shadow them & arrange dates.
- Prepare questions / think about what I am looking for.
Why objectives need to be SMART:
For aims and objectives to be really useful they must be SMART. That is:
Specific – Say exactly what it is you intend to achieve. Are you clear about your real aim?
Measurable – Be measurable in some way. How will you know when you have achieved
Achievable – Is it possible for you? Do you have the skills, ability, support etc. needed?
Realistic – Are they what you should be doing. It may be possible, but is it a priority, do
you have the time?
Time related – Have a deadline, and preferably ‘signposts’ along the way.
It is also useful to add something which indicates why you are doing / prioritising this area of development. (E.g. Have started to do more mental health work, but not confidant, and don’t know how to approach interpreting with someone who is hallucinating etc.)
For example, take the following not unusual Aim & Objective:
Aim: To improve my BSL skills.
Objective: Go on a Sign Language course.
Why is this a priority? Improve which BSL skills? All at once? To what level of fluency? How will I know if I’ve done it? Will the course help me achieve the skills I want? Is a course the only way? …
Now compare it with the Mental Health one used above. Which do you think you would find more helpful in planning your professional development?
How will I know once I’ve got there?
Success Measures, how will I measure the improvement or achievement?
These are the things that will change or happen that will let you know whether or not you have achieved what you set out to do. They could include: your own perception, feelings of confidence, feedback, having experiences or knowing things that you didn’t know before, having a new skill or coping strategy, analysis of new work on video, etc. For example:
Success Measures: Feel more confident in mental health settings, understand issues involved interpreting with patients with mental health problems, get positive feedback from experienced colleagues and clinicians that working appropriately. Clear about what I can do and can’t do, what is possible and what isn’t.
Outcomes – what actually happened?
An outcome is what happened when you did the Objective or Task. You might record what went well, anything you want or need to repeat, or that the task did not give you what you needed.
Next Step – what you need or want to do next:
Depending on the outcome of your work it may be to: finish this and go on to a new aim or objective, to continue with the goals and tasks that haven’t yet been achieved, or work on other areas identified. For example:
Next steps – Review mental health work in 6 months. Look out for intermediate mental health courses. Keep up to date with new research and articles. ..
Why does pd4me offer so many different PDP blanks?
Because we are all different. You can see which ones most appeal to you, and try them out. You may find one you like as it is, or may want to adapt it. Or you may want to construct your own.
For example one person who didn’t like paper based planning took six tissue boxes and wrapped them in different coloured sparkly paper. Each was for a different thing. Preparation, Confidence. Mental Health work. Etc. In each she put her goals, with the priority at the top of the pile. Then when one task was finished, she would dip into one of the boxes, take and start on the next one.
Another interpreter who was dyslexic preferred to use pictures and icons than words.
So whether you choose portrait or landscape, hand written or typed, paper based or sparkly boxes, happy planning!