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Listen Up!


I spent the morning after the UK General Election driving across the country for three hours, listening to various angles of analysis on Radio Four.

The rhetoric of shock rather surprised me. I suppose it shouldn’t have really, these were bastions of our political institutions telling me how unforeseen the strengthening of Labour support and weakening of the Tory position had been. Perhaps their curated social media feeds or limited exposure to the mood of sections of the populace outside their usual scope had protected them from the obvious.

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Imagine . . .


It is difficult for me to express just how important I think imagination is.

It’s often used as a word that has rather trivial and childish overtones, but far from being an irrelevant plaything, imagination is absolutely at the core of our being. What we imagine for ourselves defines how we are able to progress and grow through life, and far from being a given skill, is something that it is possible to nurture and inspire in an individual - who may or may not be yourself – at any age.

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It's My Name!


One of our ‘How to Speak Child’ Facebook Community recently alerted me to this post, which highlights a stern rebuke from a teacher to little girl for writing her name in cursive script:

She asked me what I thought about it. Her concerns were primarily around how the teacher conveyed the message.

My reply at the time was as follows:

“Well my first reaction is SHE'S SEVEN YEARS OLD!! I totally agree with you that this is no tone to use, if the girl is a quiet type then it's just food to fuel a lack of confidence, disinterest in learning and limiting self beliefs. If the child is a 'naughty' girl then this is a perfect way to provoke with further ammunition. I know teaching can be frustrating, but when you don't get what you want, you haven't taught it right, and you yourself only learn by asking why. Personally I just don't think shouting at children works. I wonder if the teacher has, ever, asked the child why she persists...gently, without judgement. Find out why there is a problem and you're a whole lot closer to solving the problem.
Since you ask!

Also..I don't really see what the issue says ‘Name’, she wrote her name - it doesn’t say ‘Please Print Name’”

To which the reply came:

“I totally agree. The fact that she writes her name so beautifully. I was never a tidy writer "wrote like a boy" according to some - but that was my way to get things done quick as I felt it was wasting my time! She must have learnt it somewhere and the fact that she has taken pride and time in it shows either a) a love of doing it or b) a fear of not doing it..... either way the way the teacher wrote the comment indicates considerable frustration but I believe not in a beneficial way to instruct the child.... wow.... all of that in little old me! Who'd have thought. It must have hit a nerve!”

Indeed - those put downs you receive in childhood persist through adulthood. The older I get, the more power I see they have. We all carry those judgements of not being good enough, and sadly an awful lot of us pass them on.

Some however are able to shrug them off brilliantly. A friend of mine tells a story of when she first started at school and the teacher handed every pupil in the class a piece of paper and asked them to write their name on it.

This is what my friend did:

Quite justifiably she was most put out when she got into trouble - she’d been following instructions perfectly.

Mel is now an artist and graphic designer… there!