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Ten things I learnt this year...

In undertaking the 30 day blogging challenge I am faced with a conundrum for day two....a 'top tips' blog...I thought about writing a top five papers I read blog but after one I wasn't sure that I was pitching it right so I changed my mind. Instead I am going to write a blog about the top ten things I heard or learnt this year and see where it takes me. Credit for these ideas come from different sources: various keynotes I have heard through the year, seminars I have attended and books I have read (so thanks to Garr Reynolds, Chip and Dan Heath, Chris Brindley, Colin Powell and Nick Vujicic among many others).

  1. Do it for your audience and not for yourself: whenever you are writing or presenting an idea think about your audience. They are the people who will potentially 'do' something with your idea so try and prepare it so it is easy for them to digest and then reuse.
  2. Think about the 'err what?!' moment as much as the 'ah I see moment' : when writing or presenting I am trying to look for a knowledge gap and then I'm looking to fill it. This means finding the moment of confusion or ignorance and then providing an answer. By creating the '?????' moment first then '!!!!!' moment gains more significance and, hopeful, longevity.
  3.  Reader's block: This one has come back time and time again to help me. When I am writing or preparing a lecture and I can think of nothing to say then I have come to realise that I don't have writer's block but instead have reader's block. This is the moment when I acknowledge that I simply don't know enough and need to put down the pen or set aside the computer and pick up a book and try to fill my own knowledge gap.
  4. Sinatra moment: This is the moment where you sell your own credibility. It is the "if I can make it there (i.e. your example) I can make it anywhere (i.e. the place you are trying to get to)" moment. I try and tell my students to use examples when they apply for things (jobs places on PGCE courses etc) as it shows what it is you have done in a similar situation and gives an outsider a real sense of what you could achieve...so remember the "New York, New York" song and show your audience what you can offer "here and there.
  5. "Keep it simple: Simplicity is a key idea in life. Try and pair everything back to the "it" of your argument. It is like the super car where everything (including the stereo, the heated seats, and the air con) is stripped back to eck the last bit of performance out of the car. Think about your message and strip it back...this will make it perform better and as in the case of the car make it faster than its competitors. 
  6. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" Is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant and the scared. It's an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms" - Colin Powell: To me this is a major problem with tradition and traditional practice in Physical Education. We think that it works and therefore we lack the drive or motivation to make it better. We need to think about what it is we really want to do as teachers and then fix what is clearly broken rather than burying our heads in the sands of inaction. 
  7. Don't waste a crisis!: This is a time when signifiant changes can be made and when the drive and motivation to change has enough momentum to carry through such change. We need to see how we can take advantage of a crisis and be the real winners rather than those who wait for a chance. We need to be change leaders rather than change followers (which leads me to my next point)
  8. If you see the bandwagon you're too late: Following a bandwagon probably means that you are too late to do anything but sit on it. You can't lead it and its ideas are already too firmly entrenched to fit your situation. If you want meaningful change then you need to take your own opportunities rather than just follows other peoples. 
  9. What's your 3%?: Working at 110% has become a popular expression for working really hard but we all work hard so how can we do that little bit extra? The difference in water content between a watermelon (94%) and a cloud (97%) is an extra 3% but what a difference! So how can you find an extra 3% and be that difference?
  10. Nick Vujicic: If you haven't seen or heard from this guy then you are missing a truly inspirational public speaker - check him out at:  http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/


(Blog 2 in my 30-day blogging challenge)

comment avatar
About me
On Saturday 17 December at 18:25 Jeremy House said
Thanks for the blog. I particularly liked 7 and will look differently upon crisis from now on. The two I caught hold of this year - both of which i think you have touched on - were 1) you can't steer a ship unless your are moving faster then the current and 2) life isn't about weathering the storm its about learning to dance in the rain!
Ashley Casey
About me
On Monday 19 December at 10:20 Ashley Casey said
Jeremy, thanks for the ideas...I like them both and it certainly sums up my journey this year. I feel that after a year or so of learning to be in higher education I now have the chance to begin to thrive and fond my own pathway. I've gone from (and to quote Terry Pratchett) "being out of my depth on a wet pavement" to "learning to dance in the rain."
Vicky Goodyear
About me
On Monday 19 December at 11:03 Vicky Goodyear said
I think one of the key things I have learnt this year related to point 5 'simplicity', is the saying I learnt from Ash "A spade is a spade" (Say it how it is, speaking honestly and directly). By being open and honest in my writing and when working with teachers, people seem more interested when what I say is straight to the point and what I say is an honest reflection of what really happened. The second thing I have learnt is segue- making links in presentations and writing to link key messages together and to get a sense of flow.

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