Posts

Random Walk Instructions

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Lockdown has certainly meant I have 1) been on a lot of local walks and 2) 'milked' my city as much as I could such that there are few corners of it that I haven't explored. This was a walk my main walking buddy and I did in a highly urban area. I made up the instructions unsure of whether they would work or not - but they worked well so I thought I would share the instructions to the 'out there'. You'll need to adapt a couple of bits - like the names for example. If anyone does it - I'd love to hear how it went! Random Walk Instructions ·       Walk straight unless told otherwise. ·       At T junctions toss coin head left tails right ·       At bends, follow bend round. ·       If you reach a dead-end, turn around and walk back and continue with the instructions. 1)      Walk forward. 2)      Take the first opportunity to turn right. Put the name of the road you are walking down into a sentence, a song or make an anagram of that name. 3)     

Unheard voices don't get heard!

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Recently a British art gallery told a transphobic artist that she could not exhibit her work. I refuse to even look at the details of this situation as it sounds like the standard TERF argument still rattling around. Of course, the BBC version of Fox News got hold of the story and took the usual and infuriatingly predictable, ‘political correctness gone mad’ stance. (I’d yawn if I didn’t have anger-induced adrenaline running through my veins). The artist got more attention than she had ever had before and - and here is where I start to speculate – I suspect the usual and predictable responses of bigots becoming (albeit momentarily) outraged at the stifled expression of art/freedom of speech entrenched their bigotry, further and this made trans community understandably feel even more angry, vulnerable and unheard. I would conclude that a news story like this (designed to whip up indignation of course) just creates more polarisation. Little will have shifted for bigots and the ‘woke’ com

Data and targets – the light brush stroke of getting things done

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  I just read an article about how rape prosecutions were in decline. So, the article went on to explain, there was a (long overdue) government review and fundamentally the outcome was that some targets were set for more prosecutions. No more funding, no more preventative or proactive measures put in place such as education, training or raising awareness, no more resourcing within the police to support rape victims. At best, this will bring the lack of rape prosecutions into focus for a while. It reminded me of a time when Accident and Emergency Departments were given the target of seeing anyone who walked in their door within the first ten minutes. I heard anecdotally that this resulted in someone being given the job of holding a clipboard and ‘booking in’ new arrivals within said ten minutes and then the patient had to wait the same amount as time as before. Totally ineffective, and what’s more, the ‘clipboard person’ was actually a resource removed from elsewhere. With no further

Emotional literacy

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For many years now I have been reading absolutely everything I can get my hands on about emotional literacy/intelligence and resilience. It's not just because I write books for children about the stuff, it's also because for personal development as emotional literacy is pretty key to self-awareness, self regulation,  and generally finding life more manageable! I didn't have great role models in my childhood for emotional literacy and I suspect this triggered my perpetual search for answers. So recently, I decided to compose some videos aimed at - not the age I write for - but the age I have always taught: Key Stage 2 aged children (7-11) although I think some of the videos could be used with older children. My aim is to support parents, carers and teachers with helping their children develop emotional literacy. All of the videos can be found, described and added to each week here.  If it helps one person - I am happy!

Low self esteem

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I have been reading a book called ‘Overcoming low self-esteem’ by Melanie Fennell and some of the messages in it certainly resonate with me. I will attempt to summarise: Low self esteem gives us beliefs about ourselves that the book calls our ‘bottom line.’ These will be slightly different for different people but they are the narrative we picked up about ourselves from others, probably mostly from our childhood but also from other places in our lives. These can include narratives like: I am worthless, everyone else is better than I am, I am unlovable, I am unacceptable, I am stupid etc. Our bottom line is like a prejudice against ourselves because even in the face of proof that it is not true, we still believe it to be true.  To cope with our bottom line beliefs, we create our own 'safety net', rules for life. These again will be different for different people (even those with similar bottom lines can have developed different protective rules for life). These rules can be thin

Dealing with anxiety

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Anxiety seems to be very much on the up. I don’t think this is overly surprising. The world seems to be getting a lot less emotionally gentle. It seems more individualistic, faster-paced, more competitive, less community orientated, less reflective and there seems to be a lack of patience and empathy (which equates to taking time to understand). People don't have much time to steady themselves or apply wisdom! We also have distilled global news full of shocking, inhumane injustices, accessible using fingertips and we have a sense of not really being able to do very much about any of it. We have the negative impact of social media: the agitation of incessant dopamine hits, the sense everyone else is having a better time and the occasional hostile, futile and polarising debates that leave people reeling. Additionally, in many workplaces, it’s easy to feel like an insignificant number in a data crunching, paperwork obsessed, over-monitored world that is barking totally up the wrong tr

We've dumbed down the art of debate

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Some of you will remember the sinking of the Belgrano in 1982. Several of you might remember the Sun’s newspaper headline. It said, ‘Gotcha’. And a further number of you might remember something similar to my memory of the next day. I went to school and the Belgrano report was the hot topic. A number of us were outraged by the headline, others jeered with pleasure at the sentiment and several had no opinion. A discussion unfolded. It got a bit heated in places but stayed on topic. People listened to each others’ views. Those who initially held no view, joined in. People put their opinions forward, people made reference to facts they knew about the situation, people listened and we fine-tuned our thoughts on the matter. Some views remained unchanged but understanding had developed about why others held the views they did. Several people remained undecided or shy to put their opinion forward. We discussed it a little further over the following days. It was a while before the next hot