Oh, what would we trade for just a few more minutes and hours in the day sometimes. Luckily, WebWorkerDaily provides some pointers on finding some extra time in the day. Here are just a few of the recommendations:
- Take breaks. When we get really busy, we tend to turn into workaholics and attempt to power through the work even when we aren’t being productive. While taking a break sounds like you will lose time, in many cases, it can help you get a new perspective on a difficult problem. A short walk can help, as can taking a break to accomplish something else, like running an errand or getting in a workout. After a little break, your brain will be refreshed and ready to be productive again.
- Have effective meetings. Strive to have shorter, more effective meetings by being organized and always having a definitive end time. Spending a few minutes preparing for a meeting and send out an agenda and other materials in advance; it will mean that you get through the meeting faster, with less floundering around figuring out what you need to accomplish. I also try to keep people on track during the meeting and attempt to end on time or early when possible.
- Schedule work. We all have certain tasks that require uninterrupted time where we can focus. For those activities, I try to free up big blocks of time on my calendar, and I schedule those tasks the same way that I would schedule a meeting, which allows me the time to work uninterrupted.
Full story at Giga Om.
Photo credit: Fotolia
Final comments on Channel 4’s / Jamie Oliver’s Dream School.
Well, dream school has certainly been a roller coaster, it’s had it’s good points and it’s bad points, but overall it has reflected the real challenges of young people who struggle with education. Something I’ve done almost every week for the last 18 years.
I covered the first five episodes in depth ( see http://leejackson.org/blog ) but after being away in Japan for two weeks I’ve had to play catch up a bit as channel 4 isn’t on Japanese TV or an Airbus A380! So I thought I would wrap it up by leaving you with some of the final thoughts shared at the end of the series…
“…My guess for what its worth…Teachers could do with less rules and regulations and more freedom to try what works for their classes” – I totally agree Jamie we need to really let teachers teach (and not just say it as a sound bite).
“I can’t say the kids weren’t hard to reach but a few things worked – practical teaching styles, a wide ranch of subjects, but most importantly finding individual passions and unlocking their creativity – nice one Jamie! I always start my motivational schools talks talking about passion, once they find their passion it spills out onto the other lessons too.
“They’ve all got lots to offer but they’ve been let down by an education system – there has to be a something wrong with an education system that lets 300,000 young people leave every year with nothing to show for it. This series was a plea on their behalf, they can be inspired by education and that is not a dream – the education system isn’t perfect, that’s for sure Jamie. That’s why we need creative head teachers not afraid to push staff to break the mould, but with league tables always present – will that be possible?
The student Jenny said these amazing, tear filled words “I went through school and everyone said that ‘i couldn’t’, and now everyone here is saying that ‘i can’ – I’ve been given the chance of my life and i never thought that would happen to me” – we must NEVER say to a young person ‘you can’t make it’, yet it seems that in the education system there are still people who do. There’s no room in education for a cynic. Seriously there isn’t, I mentioned this in a teacher training session a few weeks ago and everyone agreed, except of course the cynics! But the headteacher’s face was beaming when I said it!
“In dream school I was surprised at how brilliant they could be, but I was also surprised, at times, at how unteachable they could be too!” – that’s the fun of teaching young people – never a dull moment, but some brilliants moments too!
Well done Jamie and Channel 4, a great series with, I hope, lasting impact on those young people’s lives through the scholarships and mentoring.
Now you should have a short break and do it all again, now that’s real education 🙂
Let’s do another series with real teachers, speakers and mentors, now that would be fun.
Jamie’s dream school episode 5. “Sperm, Shakespeare and surgery!”
A big move this week as we (at last!) move out of the classroom a bit more. Jamie has really got it now as the penny drops that a lot of “challenging teens” are kinesthetic learners (they learn by ‘doing’).
We must let young people move around if they are to learn. Often when I work in school I get asked to do a presentation followed by a workshop, and the first thing I do in the workshop is stop taking and get them moving around the room. It’s a must and it’s biologically sound… e.g. did you know that testosterone levels in lads reaches it’s peak mid morning, and that doesn’t necessarily make them ‘randy’ (!), it makes them restless. Lads, in particular, get fidgety, but we routinely tell them to sit down and be quiet. Something we may have to re-think, if we are to reach the unreachable.
Jamie and his teachers really grasped this concept this week as we saw them doing cooking, surgery, art and acting (at The Globe theatre). Simon Callow struggled to get them engaged with Romeo and Juliet but when they had to read the words live on stage at The Globe, then it all changed for them. They came alive, even the grumpy lads who couldn’t connect with it in the classroom, acted their hearts out. Great stuff.
And when cooking Jamie realised that a ‘pre-amble’ before an activity is a waste of time and he twigged that he had to get them chopping vegetables straight away, he did, and it worked. And some of the young people started to love cookery, a possible career choice for some of them.
Robert Winston was on form this week as he put the lads semen under the microscope (interesting new lesson Mr. Gove!) and also brought in a surgery team to show them how surgery and medicine works in the real world. It was great and Chloe was very passionate and went on to do some work experience in an operating theatre, it was a bit of a shock for her but, again, it’s real world stuff and it might be an job option for her.
It was also good to see one of my childhood heroes back on TV – Daley Thompson, what a legend. He got the young people into the diving pool and deliberately got them out of their comfort zone and after a lot of practice and encouragement they started to love it. Proof indeed that we should always push young people beyond their current mindset – but we must support them while they are being pushed, and not leave them in the lurch! “They are not very confident, so little victories are good for them” Daley said.
Unfortunately in the human rights lessons with Cherie Booth/Blair they were very chatty again, constantly interrupting and talking over each other, almost back to earlier episodes, which made me think…I wonder whether some of the young people have no inner monologue?! I had a friend who hasn’t got one – she speaks out loud almost every thought, making it exhausting being with her. Can we help our young people to think a little more before they speak? I wonder when they watch the program whether they see themselves in a different light?
I’m not having a go at them I just wonder whether their lack of restraint was the biggest factor to their underachievement? Answers on postcard please.
Academia exists for the pure pursuit of knowledge but education in school surely should be more practical than that?
I think this program is proving that. Keep going Jamie you are doing well!
And at first it’s a disaster! Constant chatting from the class (often known as “low level disruption”) causes some big problems in some very ‘wordy’ lessons. Andrew Motion the former poet laureate really struggled to be heard – he only lasted half a lesson and then decided to call the class off – something that teachers and schools speakers can’t do in real schools. You keep going until the bell goes, that’s one of the skills of teaching, pushing through until you get a breakthrough or at the very least, the bell rings!
Jamie made lots of insightful comments in this episode as the learning deepens for him too…”you have to be like an octopus” was one of my favourites, how right he is. Teaching challenging teens is the ultimate in multi-tasking.
E.g. In one of the Latin classes the young people brought a squabble into the class room with them, always an issue in schools as we don’t know what has just happened outside of class, or at home – only a few weeks ago I was in a school speaking to Year 10 and it just felt “odd” I couldn’t really put my finger on it, it wasn’t an easy day at all. Then later I found out by accident that they were due an imminent OFSTED inspection which they were only expected to ‘scrape through’, as a visitor the staff hadn’t even told me, and their stress was rubbing off on the young people, it was all very tense.
And then anger shows its face again…
“If anyone is rude to me, I’ll be angry” says Harlem the shortest tempered of the teens, she doesn’t realise that being angry and aggressive is a choice she makes! I still find that amazing. We as humans make thousands of choices everyday and getting angry is one of them. Harlem seems to think that once she gets angry then there’s no going back – the red mist rules her life. I really hope she gets some help, or she just won’t ever get a chance to work or even live a normal life 🙁
Then it all gets too much…
…the head teacher John “Dabs” gets really emotional and rightly so – teaching is a tough job, teaching is much more than a job, it’s a life choice, and you could really feel his pain in this episode. It was good to see a teacher cry on TV, it shows the rest of us why they do their job. They want to make a difference.
So, in the light of this, Jamie had a word with them all about the constant talking and disrespect that sent the Headteacher over the edge, and amazingly it seemed to work (!) the lessons got better. Even my least favourite teacher David Starkey seemed to get through to them.
One key to the difference was that the teachers started to have some one to one time with the students and it really paid off. The individual attention had a big impact on their learning. Should our teachers spend more time one to one, rather than in big classes? Challenging stuff.
Then one of the students said “I can’t write with everyone talking”, so maybe peace and quiet is a key to learning too, how do we help our young people focus? I talk about this alot in schools, focus is so important. The research shows that distractions, are, err, well, distractions!! Our young people (and us adults) must learn to switch off their phones, Facebook chat and their music and learn to study in quiet when a task needs doing. It’s not very fashionable to say it, but it works!
Anyway, I’ll leave you with Jamie’s lessons from this week…
“We had our moments, but we had our breakthroughs”
“All the teachers are learning just as much as the students”
I agree Jamie, and this is becoming a great show that everyone should watch.
The Joy of Teen Sex: ‘deals with teenagers’ real sex and sexual health problems’, according to Channel 4. Photograph: Channel 4
Channel 4 is facing criticism over its series The Joy of Teen Sex, with a group of health and education professionals calling on the broadcaster to set up an advisory group to inform future programming.
In a letter delivered to Channel 4 on Wednesday, signatories including Dr Stuart Flanagan, who features on Radio 1’s Sunday Surgery, and sex researcher and agony aunt Dr Petra Boynton, claim the broadcaster and the programme’s producers have not acted responsibly or fulfilled their public service remit.
The Joy of Teen Sex, which began on 19 January and concludes tonight, deals with teenagers’ “real” sex and sexual health problems, according to Channel 4.
However, the letter, signed by 23 health and education professionals and bodies, describes the series as “fitting a pattern of programme development where viewing figures are prioritised over empowerment but where programmes are still marketed as ‘educational'”.
In response to the criticism, Channel 4 issued a statement saying it was “proud of our programming in this field” and its “ability to bring large audiences to the often difficult issues they have addressed”.
“We have a hugely successful Sexperience website which has been consistently a leader in the field and has seen millions log on for further advice or information after watching the programmes. Anecdotally we also know from healthcare professionals that viewers have sought medical advice and treatment as a result of watching the programme,” the broadcaster added.
The letter to Channel 4 expresses the group’s unease about several key issues, including what they claim is the lack of qualified professionals on the show, poor advice, and inaccurate and misleading information.
They suggest that one way to rectify some of the damage caused by the series would be to establish an advisory group comprising sexual and reproductive health practitioners, sex education workers, youth workers, parents and young people to ensure that future programming on this theme will be empowering and accurate as well as entertaining.
Some of the experts first registered their concern over the show when they were approached for their input when it was in its planning stage. Justin Hancock, of sex education website BishUK, said: “I’m always concerned that primetime shows about young people are exploitative and invite viewers to be critical of young people. Sex and relationships for young people is complex and nuanced and factual entertainment shows only ever really scratch the surface of what is going on for young people.”
Pre-production, Hancock was assured by production company Betty that “our aim is to make a thought-provoking and positive series that will look at relationships, emotions and identity as well as ‘the act of sex'”.
The show has not lived up to those standards, according to Boynton, who was invited to apply for a presenter position on the programme.
“It has not represented the main worries young people have, nor talked about core issues of communication, respect or affection,” she said. “Given how the public have questions and concerns about sex and the media is a great place to share relationships information, I feel this was a shocking let down to young people and parents. The public deserve better.”
Channel 4 said that production company Betty had consulted “with a number of sexual healthcare professionals to ensure the information provided was accurate and appropriate”, but added “we realise that this type of programming will not always appeal to everyone”.
“Channel 4 is always willing to listen to the concerns of viewers and interested parties following its broadcasts and we will correspond with the authors of the letter directly about their concerns,” the broadcaster said.
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I agree, a terrible program which was made to get high viewing figures not to inform. I would go as far to say it was irresponsible and bizarrely of all seemed to ignore the current advice and good practice on sex and relationships education. Very poor Channel 4. Very poor.
Schools Speaker on Relationships
Posted by James Allen
Name: Lee Jackson
Occupation: Professional speaker to young people and adults
How do you define creativity? Creativity is in all of us its in our God-given DNA, its a spark that stops us in our tracks or a different plan to push through a challenge.
How creative are you? I reckon I am just as creative as everyone else. Although maybe i write down and action more of my ideas – as creativity is my job. If I have nothing to say that helps people then I don’t have a job. (note: I’m not some kind of guru by the way – just a normal bloke who likes to help people find the good stuff that will help them!)
Where do you get your ideas from? Anywhere and everywhere, for me it is literally about writing them down. Everyone should make notes, little scraps of paper and napkins in your pocket at the end of the day are a good sign. If you see something funny or different write it down, take a picture on your phone and file it away. I have a bank of stuff that is stories from everyday life which have happened to me and to others. I rarely get ideas from Google! We have to step away from our laptops everyday. I use whiteboards and blank notebooks a lot.
How important is feedback? If I am speaking to young people in schools – the feedback doesn’t come on a form – it is instant, I have told stories that really work totally by accident, and others I thought were great just weren’t. Try stuff out but wrap it in stuff that will rescue you if it doesn’t. Take calculated and rescuable risks.
Who do you admire for their creativity and why? I love comedy and so comedians always inspire me, i saw Rhod Gilbert last month on his “Rhod Gilbert and the cat that looked like Nicholas Lyndhurst” tour. He spoke and ranted for two hours and brought the whole night back to his opening line about his washing machine – he was amazing. I also love Milton Jones, Vic Reeves, Tim Vine, Les Dawson and many others. Ted.com is also fun – Sir Ken Robinson is great.
What is the difference between creativity and innovation? I’m not sure to be honest, but we need both, they are interlinked. Maybe innovation is the practical outworking of creativity? The most important thing is to get on with it. Spend less time talking and more time doing, then we have more time just to ‘be’.
Any other thoughts? Never use ruled paper, always use blank paper and if you are stuck then speak your ideas into a dictaphone and transcribe that. Enjoy your creativity, have fun with it, work smart not just hard – but above all be yourself, not an imitation of someone else.
Lee can be contacted via www.leejackson.org
Forgotten all about this – hope it helps.