Sunday, 29 July 2007

Association for Careers Education and Guidance

The Annual Conference of the Association took place at the beginning fo this month (July 2007) and I'm ashamed to say that I've only just got around to writing about it! Too late? Yes, in one sense it is but in another I can exonerate myself -- none of the information I acquired is actually time critical.
I thought that I could cheat a bit (no, a lot if possible) by linking to ACEG's website -- where I hoped to find at least the plenary session slides loaded if not more. No such luck -- al the conference page has is a photograph of the organiser, Sylvia Thompson, and a note to say that the Conference report will be in the October edition of the Association's journal. Back to the slog of having to think!
As an exhibitor I could attend the Keynote sessions, of which there were five, and, of course, the exhibition itself.
  • Keynote 1: A local model for collaborative working on 14-19 provision Steve Stewart, CEO of Connexions Coventry and Warwickshire
    This session was primarily of interest to organisations looking to work in partnership or improve present collaborative working arrangements (which is not me). The style of presentation was good and included many anecdotes and examples from the sometimes complex situation in Coventry and Warwickshire.
  • Keynote 2: Policy and Progress in 14-19 Reform Elaine Hendry who until 28 June was with the DfES
    I didn't get to hear much of this but hearing comments from delegates afterwards I gathered that the presentation didn't include a great deal that was new but did consolidate current thinking. Unfortunate that the speaker is likely to be moving on to pastures new.
  • Keynote 3: Career identity and the dialogical learning process Frans Meijers
    At this point I have to admit to a modicum of oversleeping -- I missed most of this talk which was, I am told, extremely interesting. This being so I thought I'd better do some invetigating. In 1998, in the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling (Volume 20 Noumber 3), I found a paper on "The development of a career identity" by one Frans Meijers at the University of Leiden.
    Abstract: In modern society individuals are becoming responsible for their own
    work allocation. In order to overcome an increasing social and work-related
    insecurity, they not only have to acquire specific career skills but also a
    so-called "career identity". A career identity is a structure of meanings in
    which the individual links his own motiviation, interests and competencies with
    acceptable career roles. In the article the concept of meaning is explored and
    further elaborated as a social learning process. The article concludes with
    some remarks about the need for a strong learning environment.
    Next I found a 2002 paper "Career Policy for the Contemporary World: Dictat or Stimulant?" -- Frans Meijers is by now an "Education and Career-Learning Consultant" in the Netherlands writing for the Career-Learning Network.You can read the whole article here. [PDF 13pp with some really good references]
    So, that covers identity and establishes Frans Meijers in context but what is "dialogical"? Apparently it is to do with dialogue so that the presentation that I missed was about identity and helps pupils to establish a career identity through talking about it in a learning context.

At this point, folks, I have to go again. I have been summoned to attend at the local hospital for a minor operation (two nights inside maximum) at very short notice (like can you come in tomorrow?) and need to sort out lots of things. I will, I really will, get this finished before moving on to anything new for you.

You didn't motivate me!

OK, so you didn't send me any ideas on self-motivation or how to kick my own backside. It therefore follows that I have to fall back on inner resources -- albeit somewhat later than I should. So be it. I refuse to give in again. It's Sunday morning, the sun is shining, Kettering is not flooded although we did have rain in the night, garden (earth-covered postage stamp) is full of colour and scent, immediate family (as in husband and dog) is well, and I've just received my second cup of tea of the day. Just naming a few blessings -- how are your blessings this morning?

What have I been up to? Moving the office, that's what. Not only that but, after 16 years of the same telephone number, ADSET has a new phone number which is effective from 1 August. Some readers will know that I've been sharing office space with Leonora Clarke of The Accounting Bureau (UK) Ltd. Some 18 months ago Leonora moved, with new partner (domestic), to Hemel Hempstead and has realised that leaving the general administration of her business in Kettering was "not a good idea". She's now going to be sharing my much smaller space in The Business Exchange although I will still retain my home office as well. Reason for phone number change? The Business Exchange is a Grade II listed building and no new telephone lines can be put in -- tenants have to use the internal telephone system.

New number 01536 526424 (mobile is still 0779 627 3792)
Postal address will remain as Britannia House for a while.

Friday, 20 July 2007

I'm just going on a blogging holiday

Actually, I'm just back from a self-imposed break in writing in this blog but I couldn't resist the title.

The break from writing wasn't intentional, honest. I am finding that it is very easy to read through the 200+ (actually nearer 300) feeds in my reader and:
  1. note those that I want to write about by copying the link to a new post and saving as a draft (which you don't get to see) either here or in the Business Information Blog;
  2. click the appropriate button if I want to share something I've read without writing about it -- this takes a second and requires little effort on my part (lazy cow that I am);
  3. email the link to
    - Dawn (Taylor) for inclusion in Members' Update,
    - my husband Martin who does all the IT maintenance work around here (just so he doesn't miss out on anything to do with data security although he has quite a lot of technical "stuff" in his own reader), or, maybe,
    - friends so that I share a particularly relevant "funny", book review or gadget; or
    - myself so that I can add something to my "how to" file; or
  4. read and discard -- further action not required.

So, I've got things that are appropriate for writing about, either in draft from my reader or because I've been to an event and need to tell you about it, and the list is getting longer not shorter. A kick up the pants is what my mother would tell me was needed but since she is now long gone I have to try to kick myself -- or rather, in the language of today, provide self-motivation! Any ideas on how to do that would be good!

Friday, 13 July 2007

New titles for July from The Policy Press in which you may have an interest include:

London voices, London lives by Peter Hall, asks what kind of a place London is in the early 21st century, and how does it differs significantly - economically, socially, culturally, in quality of life - from other parts of urban Britain? In this book, Londoners provide their own answers to these questions in their own voices.
In Coming to care, Julia Brannen, June Statham, Ann Mooney and Michaela Brockmann provide fascinating insights into the factors that influence why people enter and leave care work, their motivations, understandings and experiences of their work and intersection of it with their family lives.
Offenders in focus, by Kathryn Farrow, Gill Kelly and Bernadette Wilkinson, draws on research and integrates this with practitioner experience, creating fresh, research-based "practice wisdom" for engaging effectively with offenders.
Securing an urban renaissance, edited by Rowland Atkinson and Gesa Helms, provides focused discussions from a range of scholars who examine policy connections that can be traced between social, urban and crime policy and the wider processes of regeneration in British towns and cities.
Social Policy Review 19, edited by Karen Clarke, Tony Maltby and Patricia Kennett, provides students, academics and all those interested in welfare issues with critical analyses of progress and change in areas of major interest during the past year.
Care, community and citizenship, edited by Susan Balloch and Michael Hill, focuses on the relationship between social care, community and citizenship, linking them in a way relevant to both policy and practice.
The future for older workers, edited by Wendy Loretto, Sarah Vickerstaff and Philip J White, deals directly and exclusively with the issue of older workers, bringing together up-to-the minute research findings by many of the leading researchers and writers in the field.
Disadvantaged by where you live?, edited by Ian Smith, Eileen Lepine and Marilyn Taylor, offers a major contribution to academic debates on the neighbourhood both as a sphere of governance and as a point of public service delivery under New Labour since 1997.

Links are to the publisher's catalogue which has pricing details, ISBN, and full description together with links to the online shop for purchase if required.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science

Resistance to certain scientific ideas derives in large part from assumptions and biases that can be demonstrated experimentally in young children and that may persist into adulthood. In particular, both adults and children resist acquiring scientific information that clashes with common-sense intuitions about the physical and psychological domains. Additionally, when learning information from other people, both adults and children are sensitive to the trustworthiness of the source of that information. Resistance to science, then, is particularly exaggerated in societies where nonscientific ideologies have the advantages of being both grounded in common sense and transmitted by trustworthy sources.

Read the Full Text of this article by Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg (Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT) with grateful thanks to The Edge which is one of my favourite reads (by which I mean not necessarily having any direct relevance to work, business management, careers information or self development).

Office ergonomics

So, you're stuck in this grotty office (why?) which doesn't help you to be productive and you don't know what to do about it (again I could ask why? but won't). Feng shui? That's perhaps a bit New Agey for some -- and besides the boss might not like it if you start talking about the negative flow of thought across the building.

How about something more scientific? Ergonomics is a science and, in my opinion, an art but let me go and "Google Define" the word and see what I get. OK -- that gave me far more information than I needed so I'll just choose a few examples:
  • The applied science of equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Link
  • The science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job. Link
  • Ergonomics is sometimes used synonymously with human factors and is probably the title of choice in Europe. One sub-domain of human factors (sometimes referred to as ergonomics) deals more with the physical attributes of human and less with the cognitive attributes. An ergonomist typically has extensive knowledge of human performance, biomechanics, and anthropometrics. Link
  • Ergonomics (from Greek ergon work and nomoi natural laws) is the study of optimizing the interface between human beings, and the designed objects and environments they interact with. Link
I liked the final one best (Wikipedia) and found that many of the links were to suppliers of e.g. office furniture, machinery etc who used the word ergonomics to prove that their equipment was better than someone else's.

However, I'm concerned today with you -- and that less than well-designed office that you are sitting in.

Which brings me back to where I started -- with a video about office ergonomics. I've been wondering what to do about this video I found a while back from the Kearney-Abrams Learning Library. Speaking personally I found the style a bit boring and skipped several of the frames BUT the message is good even if the medium of presentation is ....

and it's FREE

Monday, 9 July 2007

Step Into the NHS

The NHS is about much more than doctors and nurses. There are over 350 different careers available in the NHS, and not all of them involve working directly with patients, but are equally as important, such as IT analysts, auditors, scientists, and even gardeners and chaplains.

Step into the NHS has been designed specifically to engage with 14-19-year-olds, stimulating them to think about ways in which their talents and skills can have a positive impact on the future of the NHS. Young people are given a real insight into what goes on inside the NHS with case studies and short films from real staff, including Wildlife, which follows a young healthcare scientist through the hospital where she works and Ramp, a view of A&E through an injured skateboarder's eyes. There is also an interactive career mapper that will take users to the five careers that suit their interests and an opportunity to receive ongoing, personalised communication from the NHS Careers Team that will support them in their future decision making.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Qualifications Systems: bridges to lifelong learning

This new (as at 30 April) book from OECD Publishing looks at the growing awareness that qualifications systems must play a part in the quest for more and better lifelong learning.

Some countries have started to realise that isolated developments in qualifications standards lead to uncoordinated, piecemeal systems. After reviewing the policies and practice in fifteen countries, the authors present nine broad policy responses to the lifelong learning agenda that countries have adopted and that relate directly to their national qualifications system. They also identify twenty mechanisms, or concrete linkages, between national qualifications systems and lifelong learning goals. The overall aim of this book is to provide these mechanisms as a tool for governments to use in reviewing their policy responses to lifelong learning. Evidence suggests that some mechanisms, such as those linked to credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, qualifications frameworks and stakeholder involvement, are especially powerful in promoting lifelong learning.

Version: Print (Paperback)
Pages: 237
ISBN: 9-789-26401-367-4
Price: €45 $60 £32 ¥6,200

E-book (PDF Format)
Pages: 237
ISBN: 9-789-26401-368-1
Price: €31 $42 £22 ¥4,300

Purchase the PDF e-book and/or paper copy via the Online Bookshop

ILO adopts comprehensive new labour standards for millions in the world’s fishing sector

Innovative new labour standards designed to improve the conditions for roughly 30 million men and women working in the fishing sector worldwide were adopted today (14 June) at the 96th annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Read the full press release here

Amateurs can be good and bad news

Victor Keegan writing in The Guardian (5 July) looks at the pros and cons of the rise of amateur reporting of "news". Citizen journalism, as it has been called, is, however very limited in its scope. If I'm involved in an incident that I think is newsworthy then I can report only on my personal view of it -- I have no right to interview others and report on what they say. Citizen journalism is also very parochial -- I can't report on what happened in Kirkuk yesterday because I wasn't there, I can only report on what happened in places where I was or where other people were who have told me what they saw. So I can report on the ACEG Conference, at least those parts of the event that I attended, but not on the Association's AGM which I did not attend because I was too busy being an exhibitor!

I can only tell you about what is happening in the world of information if someone else tells me first, likewise in careers work etc etc. If the news media cuts down on the number of journalists that it uses because citizens are now doing their own reporting then, I believe, the overall volume of news may increase but will be less informative and authoritative.

Read what Keegan has to say:

The Internet often goes through bouts of soul searching, but a full-blown counter-reformation could be on the way. If so, then Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur (Nicholas Brealey Publishing), could be the Martin Luther of the movement. He believes the so-called web 2.0 revolution of interactivity and user-generated content is leading to "less culture, less reliable news and a chaos of useless information". You don't have to swallow all he says to accept there is a case to be answered. more ...

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Association for Careers Education and Guidance

The ACEG Annual Conference and Exhibition takes place from today until Saturday. I have a stand at the exhibition so you will have silence from me for a few days. I have not arranged for Internet access (and this is not the type of event or venue that I would expect to provide a cybercafe for delegates and exhibitors).

Anyway since this event clashes with the Annual Conference of NAEGA (National Association of Educational Guidance for Adults) I suspect that there won't be many readers for this blog (not as there might be for the business information one that I run with the Accounting Bureau).

I'll write, I promise I will write, a short piece about the ACEG event once I've got back and sorted out.