“School Special Education Needs is Suffering”. Okay, so what now?

State schools have long been used as a political football by successive politicians – a lot of whom, it can’t be ignored, were themselves educated privately. 

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The last ten or so years have seen austerity measures used as a reason (some may use the word, ‘excuse’) for starving schools of cash.  Funding has reached breaking point and last year some 4,000 head teachers wrote to parents explaining just how short of money their schools were.

The real losers in all of this, however, are those students who have a Special Education Need (SEN) such as dyslexia or autism.  At this point it’s fair to declare, for anyone who doesn’t already know, that I have an interest here as I am the mother of a SEN child.  My son was diagnosed with autism when he was five. Continue reading ““School Special Education Needs is Suffering”. Okay, so what now?”

May the Fourth … actually, it already is.

Internet of things – “… the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware, these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.” (Wiki)

It’s fairly well opined that the internet gave us the Third Industrial Revolution.  It not only transformed the way we work, but both culled and created whole new sectors of employment.

I started my grown-up working life in the mid-90s and I can – just – remember life before the World Wide Web.  Working for an advertising agency one of my (hated!) regular tasks was physically carrying a huge bulky mock up of an advertising hoarding across London to the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority for approval.  Can you imagine someone actually doing that now? Obviously, you’d just email it.

Mary Donné Training

Continue reading “May the Fourth … actually, it already is.”

What’s the Problem? 5 Questions to ask an Underperforming Employee

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We all have days like this at work!

One of the most challenging tasks for any manager is how to handle employee underperformance.  This could be a general team issue where the whole group seems to be demotivated and underperforming.  More likely, however, the issue will relate to one or maybe two particular individuals.

Difficult Conversations at Work

Most managers would prefer not to have to sit down and have what can potentially be a difficult and even emotional conversation.  In this vein, the usual starting point is to try and rationalise the individual’s behaviour, and work out why they are underperforming.   Continue reading “What’s the Problem? 5 Questions to ask an Underperforming Employee”

Group Work – Great or Gruesome?

Some of love it, some of us loathe it, very few of us are ambivalent.

I must admit that, when I attend training sessions as a delegate, I’m not a massive fan of group work.  Generally I find it quite stressful and prefer to just listen to the training and learn what I’m there to learn.

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Does Teamwork always make the Dream Work?

But we’re all different and some people really enjoy it.  They find it a good way of getting to know new people and picking up useful first hand information in in relation to specific shared interests.  

From a professional trainer’s point of view, I’m undecided about the merits of group work.  I completely see the value of asking delegates to practise, in groups, a specific skill I might be showing them.  I can also see that group practise and pair-sharing is very useful if we’re working towards a test or exam.   But for general information gaining or knowledge building type talks or training sessions, I’m less convinced of its value – other than to allow the trainer a short break, obviously. Continue reading “Group Work – Great or Gruesome?”

What Iceland can Teach us about the Value of Language

A short visit to Iceland and some observations about the fascinating language and culture.

Last week I celebrated my birthday in the beautiful city of Reykjavik.  It was my first visit and it won’t be my last. Iceland is unique in so many ways: it is the most peaceful country in the world; the Icelandic phone book lists every person by their first name; and it boasts one of the most difficult to learn languages.  As a bit a of language obsessive and aspiring polyglot this seriously interested me.  

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The Icelandic Language is hard!

Icelandic is one of a group of Nordic languages which includes Swedish and Danish but, interestingly, not Finnish, which is way out there on its own and apparently completely incomprehensible to the Swedes, Danes, and Icelanders.   Continue reading “What Iceland can Teach us about the Value of Language”

5 Top Tips for Terrific Employee Training Plans!

5 ways to get the best out of your employee training programmes and staff development plans.

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This is probably the single area I get asked about more than any other.  Most employers know that an employee training plan is  important. As well as being a given expectation for Millennial employees, it is an effective way of creating employee engagement.  But what exactly is a proper employee training plan (ETP)? And how do we make one? Here are some ideas to get you started: Continue reading “5 Top Tips for Terrific Employee Training Plans!”

“So What Exactly is E-learning, then?”

Despite e-learning having been around for approximately two decades, this a question which I still get asked.  People know that it is ‘something to do with your PC and …’ well, what … ?

L&D practitioners commonly understand e-learning (the ‘e’ = ‘electronic’, though I’m sure you knew that!) as any type of self-directed learning away from the traditional classroom setting.  So, on this basis, making some notes from Wiki about the stock market is a piece of perfectly valid business focussed e-learning.   You could also have looked at a website and online discussion such as Money Saving Expert, or even joined a themed Facebook or Linkedin group.  It all amounts to the same thing, which is learning from computer based sources. Continue reading ““So What Exactly is E-learning, then?””

The Thief of Time: Dealing with the Dithering Devil

aron-322314-unsplash.jpgTomorrow is always the busiest day of the week.  I know this because I heard it so many times when I was teaching, (“I’ll do it tomorrow, Miss, I promise!”).

And it’s not just kids.  Most of us have a fantastic reserves stock when we don’t want to do something. Continue reading “The Thief of Time: Dealing with the Dithering Devil”

Plus ça Change, Plus ça Doncaster

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If only all AI were this cute!

The Guardian published an article a few weeks ago about how Doncaster, once a coal mining heartland, then a waste-ground, has now reinvented itself as a hub for distribution centres.  Fittingly, it has three of the beauties just for Amazon – the website which has been accused of destroying high street retail. Continue reading “Plus ça Change, Plus ça Doncaster”

Why is Disappointment so … Disappointing?

Out of these two examples, which do you think would be the more disappointing for most of us to hear?

  • After a tough training session, there is a test.  The trainer then comes over and quietly tells you that you have missed the passmark.
  • You go for a job interview.  There is a pre-employability test or assessment (‘PET’) which you do not pass.  HR take you to one side and inform you that your application is not going to be progressed.  

Based on my experience, if you said the second one then you were right.     Continue reading “Why is Disappointment so … Disappointing?”