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Blog: Manchester Attack Fails As People Open Their Doors
By Daniel Singleton
Wouldn’t it be good if the lasting image of the Manchester bombing was that homes, hotels and taxi drivers opened their doors to those who were in distress and trying to escape the horror? What a superb counter-response to this act of terror - if what was intended to bring fear and separation instead results in openness and therefore vulnerability. There is nothing so powerful as opening your door to a stranger and allowing their distress to affect you. It is a re-enactment of the Good Samaritan, who did not serve someone he knew but reached out to a stranger and showed solidarity in a shared humanity. This incident takes place in the middle of our general election campaign. It’s as if this act is a sick reminder of the privileges and freedoms we enjoy in Britain today. Here we are, in the midst of a period of time when the people have a direct opportunity to determine government and - to some extent - the direction of the country. And here we are, with an act of terror aimed at those very freedoms we are in the middle of exercising. Our right to free association, freedom of expression, or…
Blog: 5 handy hints for your day
By Daniel Singleton
Remember it’s not your day! Whether it’s your wedding, birthday party, family meal or conference, it is always key to remember that it isn’t just your day – well, unless you are planning on just having hologram friends there! When I was trailing around after my fiancée to the photographer, venues, florist etc, I got quite miffed with the constant reference to my bride and ‘her day’ – “Oi! I’m here as well!” of course it’s about more than the couple, there were to be other people there as well. The honeymoon was for us; the other stuff is for others to celebrate with us. Ever get to the end of your birthday party and feel exhausted? You’ve been running around chatting, filling glasses, introducing people, laughing at your father-in-law’s jokes. That’s the joy of holding an event, you’re host, make it work for everyone else first then sit back afterwards and enjoying that feeling of success. When it comes to conferences, or other more official events, your mind needs to be in two places at once. Ensure the event is running smoothly, but also be ready to grab opportunities that only come when you are leading an event. At…
Developing A Risky Practice: Teaching and Facilitating – Reflections of a Creative English Trainer
This piece was written for the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal and was first published on their blog. This notion that the leader needs to be ‘in charge’ and ‘know all the answers’ is both dated and destructive… Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation. — Peter Sheahan in Brené Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ In my first few weeks as a teacher in a private English language school in Italy, the Assistant Director of Studies ushered the first-timers into an empty classroom, and gave us some advice. ‘Never, ever respond to a question from your students with the words ‘I don’t know.’ Never tell them you don’t know something, and never tell them that you’re new to this. I know. It’s not fair. Everyone has to start somewhere right? But if they doubt their teacher, then they doubt the school. In their eyes at least, you must know everything.’ At the time, I took this as sound advice from a far more senior and experienced colleague who wanted the best for both us and the school. I mean…it makes sense, right? No student wants their teacher standing in front of them lamely doing a goldfish impression when there’s…
Connecting Through the Community
Last Wednesday, at our Community Hub’s weekly café session, something very simple, but profound and touching, happened. Riyad, who is 20 months old, was watching George, in his 80s and in a wheelchair. Riyad’s mum, Lamyae, said to him (in Arabic) ‘Go and shake hands with George’. Riad immediately went over, put his hand on George’s and left it there, gazing up at George and waiting for him to respond. George looked at him, smiled and said, ‘’Ello me old China.’ Riyad smiled back then toddled over to his mum. This small interaction would have been so easy to miss, but it has stayed with me, reminding me that what we do at Community Resources is important. Put simply, we enable people to connect – something that’s often easier said than done. Isolation is a disease of our age - impacting our health (both physical and mental), aspirations, relationships, and mercilessly working against social cohesion. Loneliness is no respecter of persons – it can affect anyone for many reasons. Whether you have moved to a new area, recently become unemployed or retired, had a new baby, or are suffering from depression, you can find yourself wondering who to talk to.…
Blog: SATs – When teachers don’t teach
By Daniel Singleton
“But my best is not good enough!” This was the heartfelt statement that my 10-year-old daughter made at the end of what was supposed to be an encouraging chat with her mum. “I didn’t do well in the test!” “But did you do your best?” “Yes.” “Well then…” “But my best is not good enough!” This is of course a hard life lesson that we all have to learn at some point. Despite all the effort I gave as a student, at GCSE, A-level or degree, I was never an ‘A’ grade student like some of my friends. My effort was not going to be enough: I was restricted with the brain power I had. However, SATs are about the progress of students in a school. They help give the school a place on the league tables, not the students (in fact on arrival into secondary school, most students are re-tested, showing that the value of Year 6 SATs as a measure of student attainment is not universally accepted). Year 6 children don’t walk out of school at the end of the year with a SATs qualification – again, this is for the school and not for the children; yet…