what we lose when when we fear prolixity and live brevity

Nobody wants to be ‘that guy’ who goes on and on.  Besides, one-liners are cool.

So if you have a lot to say, maybe you should blog (kettle? black?)? Of course, that’s why I do – right now I’m channelling Seth Godin.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Yet sometimes extreme brevity is uncool. Like:

  1. More haste, less speed.
    1. Oh boy. A work colleague sends you an email. It’s 3 words. It might be ambiguous, so at the risk of looking a bit silly, you reply asking: Did you mean x or y? they reply, tersely, in what appears to be confirmation. So you then say: So what we are saying is the blah blah is x and not y because of [reason]. You don’t need me to tell you how much longer that took.
    2. And multitasking is a myth. Every time the inbox pings, your concentration on that important thing pings away. Hey.
  2.  Some things can’t be explained in a text, or a one-line email.
    1. Like love, or systems.
    2. Or why?  why usually needs space, which, increasingly, we ‘don’t have time for’.

Call me Captain Prolixity, for reasons that you don’t have time for.

Give them all ASBOs! This is what advocacy for play looks like

What follows is the (obviously) unofficial view of a senior police officer on the subject of ASBOs, ABCs and other legal attempts to control the nuisance of children.

The officer is commenting on a report, which you can read by following the link below.

———————————————-

The officer said:

“I am writing in a non official capacity – my role is that of *** in ***
(Force).

If I can take the opportunity to comment on your ABC report. I thought it
was spot on and I will ensure it will be sent to my officers responsible for
delivering and working with those who deliver ABCs.

I do see a use for ABCs but as you point out, when the system is vague
and threatening it does nothing to inspire me that this is a tool that will
be of any merit or worth.

Surely children who may be experiencing problems in their lives require
support and should not be growing up in an authoritarian environment?

Thank you for a thought provoking report.”

The report he or she is commenting on is this one:

Report re: The Compatibility of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with
Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights

By Jan Cosgrove and Matthew Cosgrove

Click to access 1325042991.pdf

Have any of our noble play-related university lecturers done any work in this area? I would love to see it.

 

You can find out more about FPFC here:

 

http://www.fairplayforchildren.net/what.htm

Evidence you say? What is that? Away with you and your ‘evidence’! (NAMED AND SHAMED: GPs who miss cancer diagnoses)

Read this blog, please. If you value any of my bloggage, read this other bloke’s blog. We need to bring as much as we can of this level of surgical precision to management.

If psychology can be a science, (a claim I find dubious having obtained a degree in it from an excellent college ranked number 3 or 4 in the UK, Hindustani).

(Hindustani? How could this idiotphone think I meant that when I wrote incidentally? This is why the robots well not take over just yurt)

As I was saying, if psychology can be a science then so can management.

There was a brief kerfuffle in the business schools about why they didn’t see the crash coming and why they failed to teach ethics to MBAs. Six months later all forgotten. Gary Wossname would have put on a conference or earned a big fee for meaculpaing, or both. Business school profs make admen look shamefaced and moral.

I’m not advocating Taylor’s Scientific Management. We have some better science now. And proper true facts are harder to come by in management consultancy. But we could work a lot harder than we do to seek truth amid opinion and cant.

Please read the wise words of the junior doctor.

juniordoctorblog.com

If you saw the Mail on Sunday today you would have seen the above headline.

According to Wikiquotes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 4-time US senator and academic, once said “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”. Rather than writing an extensive counter-diatribe of rhetoric on the ridiculousness of the article, the irresponsible attitude to health reporting and Jeremy Hunt in general, I have decided to try a new form of discussion. I call it ‘The Facts’.

Fact #1
Here are the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines for referring patients to a specialist with the suspicion of cancer. http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG27*

Fact #2
This is how common bowel cancer is: there are 47.2 new cases per 100,000 people per year (crude). This equals around 40,000 new cases nationally, which means nearly 1 case per UK GP per year.

This is how common breast cancer is: there are 155…

View original post 978 more words

Teacher Tom: Everyone Protecting Everyone

Teacher Tom: Everyone Protecting Everyone.

When the girls came outside, the boys chased the girls chased the boys, wildly, around and around our outdoor space, all flushed and breathing hard, chasing without catching, everyone protecting everyone.”

The way he did it, honestly sharing his opinion, not adding any judgment,and the playful shuttle diplomacy he practiced, is pure playwork.

Shame that many playworkers don’t do it like this.

This is either because they aren’t allowed to, or they haven’t been shown, or, probably, they haven’t been allowed to learn how to.

Reflecting on reflective practice: “A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

“A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

Photo from: http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2750.0

This is a blog about reflective practice, which like Western civilisation, I think would be a very good thing.

I’m quoting Gandhi, who was asked what he thought of Western civilisation, as he stepped off the boat at Southampton wrapped in a sheet, having been a lawyer in South Africa. He replied: “I think it would be a very good idea.”

I’m suggesting that a lot of what passes for reflective practice is nothing of the sort, and yet it so easily could be.

Playworkers make notes in diaries, they keep records. They take photos, to attempt to present their work to others.  Some keep journals, some turn their journals into whole books, like m’esteemed colleague Eduardo Nuttall. Some write whole books, based on the work of a lifetime, or at least a significant chunk of it,  stuffed with observation and reflection – I’m thinking of  luminaries like Perry Else and Saint Bob himself (no offence). Some blog, like moi, and Joel, and Lily and many others. Some don’t do any of that, but they do think, and ponder, and talk about stuff down the pub or over a grotty cup of bad teabag tea in a hut.

But those honourable exceptions aside, often what passes for ‘reflective practice’ is nothing more than a few scrappy notes in an ‘incident book’ or an ‘office diary’, grudgingly scribbled as you rush to go home. Why do we need to write stuff up, we mutter. What’s the point?

Easy for me to criticise, but what am I doing about it?

Good and fair question. I’m currently developing  what I hope will be a new and improved approach to playwork reflective practice. I have started by distinguishing three aspects of the thing I’m pointing at –  avoiding using the term ‘reflective’ or ‘practice’ to avoid association with existing approaches, recognising that this may result in the usage of clumsy neologism, for which I apologise.

These three aspects are:

documentation – the recording of numbers and names and other details, as required by Caesar. “Render unto Caesar that which is Ceasar’s” said a Jewish prophet, and in our context that means: keep the records that your employer requires, for the good reasons that they require it. Chief among those reasons is, most likely, the keeping of funders happy.

promotion – the gathering of photos, and stories, etcetera, for reasons often confused with the above, to wit: to be able – at AGM or conference, or on telly or radio, or in print, be it press, or exhibition – to tell people what you do and why you do it and why it is deserving of their support, financing or involvement, be that as volunteer, worker or committee member or officer.

journaling – the writing of a personal and private journal of your personal reflective practice.  By which I mean recording some of what you observed and thinking about it, and writing down some of your thoughts, and relating them to your work, presumably with the intention of improvement – the making something better. I’m referring to a thing my erstwhile chums in management consultancy call ‘change management’.

(I’m not interested in ‘change management’, I’m interested in ‘improvement management’, which is, admittedly, a subset of change management, but is much harder. Given that change is happening all the time, the real trick is to detect and amplify the beneficial things, while avoiding the bad things and hoping they’ll go away. I say this because if we focus on the bad things, everybody gets upset and the good things get neglected – better to focus on making the already good a little bit better, which is nice and not too challenging for any of us, is it not?)

Anyway, a personal and private journal. Can’t be done in the office dairy because you can’t be yourself in the glare of your office spotlight. What will they think if I write that? I can’t write that, so I don’t, and so I don’t think about it either, which means that I’m self-censoring.  Not a good start. How can I reflect on the unthought and unwritten? Reflection is personal – what do I think about what happened? Not what do the Playwork Principles tell us to think (our very own PCness), nor what my boss wants me to think or do, nor what my mates or colleagues think, or want me to think. And, if it is personal it must be private, initially at least. I can always edit juicy bits for public consumption as part of our promotion or as an extension documentation later.

Hope all that helps. I’ll be piloting this approach soon, and I’ll let you know how it goes, if you’re interested.

This particular peak

Onwards and upwards to the top of this particular peak, which is the consideration of these words:

“A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

We don’t know who said this, the only reference we have is ‘Zen saying’.

M’esteemed colleague, Mr Joel Seath, has written about being truly present as a playworker. Bearing witness to the play of children, as our great play theorist* Gordon Sturrock, has it.  He doesn’t blog, so you can’t read him online. Joel does blog, here:

http://playworkings.wordpress.com

What do we mean by being present, by witnessing?
Ben Tawil has a wonderful story about not interfering in play:

A teenaged boy is contemplating a leap from a high tower on an adventure playground. Ben, from a distance, is contemplating the situation. If the boy makes the jump, he will massively injure himself, that much is certain.

You’ll have to ask Ben if you need to know what happened. If you have ever been present, witnessing, you’ll know why you don’t need to know what happened. Of course you want to know what happened, as did I. I’ll ask him, and he might give me his version of the tale, which I can share here.

I know I’m being annoying and obscure: I can’t help it. I don’t have the time or patience to write a longer explanation or a shorter one for that matter•. In any case, this Zen stuff is not about Western-style explanation, it is about Eastern-style contemplation.

And contemplation is another word for reflection.

When I hear the word, I reach for my gun

Now pay attention, dear reader••, as I pick up my Zen gun and shoot myself in my metaphorical foot, by essaying that very Western sin – explaining the unexplainable. I may amuse.

So when we say: “A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.” I think we are saying that reflection is impossible if you have not been present, meaning that if you have not been present in the moment, living it, being there, witnessing everything that is going on, around you and inside you, outside of you and inside your head and your heart. Me, I don’t do that often, and I don’t do it often enough, not by a long chalk. I’m just saying that if you weren’t there, you cannot speak of it, can you?

So I offer you this: the key to reflective practice – key in the sense of opening the door –  is being truly present.

And once the door has been opened, you may or may not choose to step through, of course – that’s up to you.  And if you step through, you may fail to wander very far in the garden of reflection, but it’s a start. I’m exploring that garden myself, so I might bump into you there.

So…

Think on, as my dad used to say.

(Which is, of course, just another way of saying do some reflection.)

efd941a7eecc45aa70c0f924de6750f2

 

Footling footnotes at the foot of the present mountain:

*we have but a few truly great theorists of play: Bob Hughes, Bashō, Gordon Sturrock, Marc Bekoff, to name but a few (boys).**

** oh, and one  token girl: Judith Rich Harris.***

*** oh, alright then, one more girl: Penny Wilson

• A wise man apologised like this for going on at length –  well, I won’t take more time to explain, I’ll just refer you here:

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/28/shorter-letter/

•• reader? I hope for plural.

“If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth”

By way of a footnote to yesterday’s quote about creativity and art and play and magic, my page-a-day calendar today told me:

“If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth.”

It claims that this is a ‘Persian proverb’.

Hmmm, that’s what you say if you don’t really know, isn’t it? So I googled. Of course there is dispute, with some muddle-headed folk attributing it the Koran and Mohammed, and others to Elbert Green Hubbard (June 19, 1856 – May 7, 1915)  an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher (Wikiepeed).

The choice of hyacinth is a  clue, it’s a plant that operates as a madelaine* for me, my mum always had them on the window sill in the early 60s. Obviously not native to the UK, so let’s investigate… hmm, native to Turkey, Israel and the North-East corner of Iran. And not America. Hah – major clue..

More googlage:

“If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul”
– Muslihuddin Sadi,
13th Century Persian Poet

(APB: Very Omar Khayyám )

“If I had but two loaves of bread
I would sell one of them
& buy White Hyacinths to feed my soul.”
– Elbert Hubbard
(1856-1915)

(APB: I prefer the simplicity of my calendar’s version.)

Found here on this lovely blog:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5251068

Do follow the link to a lovely story of two people who love each other and a kindly florist. In my experience, most florists are lovely. I suppose you have to be: births, deaths, marriages. Must be tough haggling down the wholesale market, though.

So I think that is definitive.  Lazy writers half-remembering ‘Muslihuddin’ as ‘Mohammed’ and a DWM**, USA variety, riffing on it.

So:

“If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth.”

I like that very much.

Reminds me of an observation, which in a similar lazy way I’m going to attribute to Eno, because I’m half-remembering him talking about Sarajevo during the Serb bombing and watching a smartly dressed woman in her mid-thirties in high heels, picking her way along the rubble-strewn remnants of pavement on her way to the shops, as shots rang above her head*****.

Life without beauty? We’d rather die.

Eno was in what was then Yugoslavia to record sessions with U2 and Pavarotti (I know, weird), which produced, inter alia, the sublime ‘Miss Sarajevo‘. Spotify it, music fans: yes it contains opera, yes it is brilliant.

Pause as I go find the track. Easy, the CD was where I thought it was. Great opening to the chorus from the Bonio***, who isn’t afraid to reference and steal from the greats: “Here she comes”. The vibe of the song is very much the Velvets on the first album – think “I’ll be your mirror“, or ”Sunday morning”. There is a Velvets’ song, nagging at the back of my brain which has the specific phrase ‘here she comes’ but… no,  can’t catch it. And ‘G-l-o-r-i-ay’ by Van Morrison. Lots of fine songs about fine women walking down streets, oddly enough, eh? The other reference point, leaving the worst until last, is of course the bathetic “Doo Wah Diddy” by Manfred Mann and the Manfreds, possibly the most simultaneously egotistical and unimaginative of the 60s ‘person and the nouns’ style of group naming: “Here’s she comes, just a-walking down the street, singing doo wah diddy dum diddy do.…” And might I add: ‘zig a zig ah’, which I’m told is the Serbian for ‘couldn’t be bothered to think of a better lyric’.  (Hey, hey we’re the Manfreds, people say we’ve got a crap name…)

OK, let’s find out more about the song, the politics and the history.

Some time later.

I’ve always loved the lyrics, and I’m pleased to discover, thanks to Wikipedia, that Bonio*** says the song is his favourite. I think it might be his best, praise be to Eno. Great tune, killer arrangement, and superb, clever, twisty lyrics.  Love the way he plays with ‘beauty queen’ and turning to Mecca****, for example. It’s probably too much to claim his words are Joycean, but they are sharp, profound, surreal and allusive, loving and dark. It is worth reading the whole lyric, find it here:

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Miss-Sarajevo-lyrics-U2/F599D4161F63665F48256896002E7E49

It’s also worth reading the wikipedia entry about the song, from which I pulled this quote:

“… the dark humour of the besieged Sarajevans, […] surrealism and Dadaism are the appropriate responses to fanaticism…”

Characteristics obviously reflected in Bono‘s lyric. Well done, dubliner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Sarajevo

So …

“If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth.” 

That’s nothing if not surreal.

Why not tulips or daffodils? Good question. They don’t grow in Persia, and they don’t usually come in a pot- so they don’t persist, unlike the hyacinth. You can save a bulb after it has flowered, letting the leaves soak up the sun’s energy, and at the end of the summer you can store it, for a new bloom next spring. A hyacinth is a sweetly-scented investment for a poor person who has a small glut of bread and is desirous of both beauty and a bargain. And Yugoslavia is not that far from Persia, on opposite edges of our Middle East.

Indeed:

“Surrealism and Dadaism are the appropriate responses to fanaticism.”

s-hiya synth 1

~

I persist here;

in Cameron’s blighted

and pleasant

land.

I’m off to the shops

now –

I’m lucky:

I have bread;

and I must buy

a hyacinth.

~

~

~

~

FOOTNOTARY (PUBLIC):

*Google it, and the word Proust, dear younger readers.

**Dead White Male.

***Yes, of course I know his name is really Bono. Well actually it isn’t, it says ‘Paul David Hewson’ on his birth certificate (thanks, Maggie at the Dublin registrar’s office).

****Mecca: in the 60s we knew Mecca as merely the name on the front of bingo halls and ballrooms. The Mecca organisation puts on Miss World. C’mon, smile.

*****’Shots rang above our heads’. Firstly this is a true story, and there really were snipers on the roof tops. She really was in mortal danger. Fuck you, Death, I’m going shopping. Sometimes Death backs off out of respect, and she persists. Secondly, well spotted, yes, I’m making partial quotage from ‘Heroes’ on the second of Bowie’s trio of Berlin albums – not produced by Eno, as media tart and poet Simon Armitage, in a radio show about Oblique Strategies last week had it, but by the criminally-sidelined Tony Visconti, who produced the majority of Bowie’s oeuvre, sleevenote fans. Such a great line, those shots ringing overhead from other  totalitarian and different circumstances.

________________________________

AUTHOR’S NOTE TO VISITORS: a tedious note from a writer who craves courtesy and receives it from the vast majority of his lovely followers: please note that I have changed my copyright and now require you to seek my permission to republish my work. Drop me a line, I will usually say yes: arthur.battram.plexityATgmail.com

(You’ll have to copy that email and replace the AT with @ . If I didn’t do the AT thing, my email would be harvested by spammers. Sorry for the inconvenience).

DEAR OTHER PARENTS AT THE PARK: Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you’ve just heard me tell them I wasn’t going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves

”I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn’t bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves.“

WOW. The only thing that stopped me just quoting the whole thing is blogettiquette – you MUST read every word of this!
http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/please-dont-help-my-kids

About a year ago I chided another playwork blogger for entertaining, or at least implying, that helping children is part of what we do as playwork people. This far better expresses my perspective than my querulous commenty bloggage of last year.

So I must reluctantly confine myself to a few choice quotes, those perhaps most pertinent to people who work with other people’s children:

”It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.“

”I want my girls to know the exhilaration of overcoming fear and doubt and achieving a hard-won success.“

”I want them to believe in their own abilities and be confident and determined in their actions. “

”I want them to accept their limitations until they can figure out a way past them on their own significant power.“

”I want them to feel capable of making their own decisions, developing their own skills, taking their own risks, and coping with their own feelings.“

”I want them to climb that ladder without any help, however well-intentioned, from you.“

Read the whole thing –  maybe even memorise it and quote it next time somebody asks you “why?” – read it here:

http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/please-dont-help-my-kids

Penny Wilson’s thoughts on Social Behaviour and its Anti

Has there been a rise in ASB, or has there been a rise in people complaining about children playing, which is then dealt with under the label ‘ASB’?

As Penny Wilson says:

“Do we see a group of children chalking on the pavement as a traditional and harmless play activity?
– or-
Do we see it as ‘Encouraging older children to feel that graffiti is permissible?’

”Sitting in a housing office I hear an officer describing a young man in shockingly negative ways. Looking out of the window during this monologue, I see the same young man helping an elder along the street with her heavy shopping.“

Some wisdom from the Wilson: go read it.

click here – Catch ‘em doing Something Right!

A school, modified play, and the danger of leaves

A school, modified play, and the danger of leaves

Nothing to add to this superb blog. Go read it.

 

 

 

 

AN INSPECTOR CALLS

The title of this fine play is more than slightly ironic, given that our hordes of contemporary inspectors do the exact opposite of this inspector. Priestley’s ghostly protagonist takes a holistic, systemic, ‘joined-up’ view of a series of outcomes and makes the players accountable for their actions; today’s inspectors tick the boxes, focusing on only the minutiae of their disconnected tasks and are entirely unconcerned with what happens as a consequence.

Priestley warned elsewhere of the danger if the Nazis won the Second World War (a war soon to be rebranded by the Eurocrats, we were told this week, as the ‘European Civil War’ – an insult to our ANZAC allies if it is anything more than Daily Mail piffle). He said that the danger was not the obvious one of the Nazi jackboot, but the insidious danger of armies of petty-minded sneaks and spies and pen-pushing bureaucrats who would seize the opportunity of their employment to meddle, criticise and carp…

Step up the other kind of inspector: OFSTED, health&safety, adoption agencies, planning inspectors, and their ilk.  Unlike these offense-seeking ferrets, Priestley’s inspector ‘never takes offense’…

Currently gently rumbling in my ear as I redesign my blog – you catch it on Radio 4’s ‘Listen Again’ until this Friday – May 1st 2012

From Wikipedia: An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed in 1945 in the Soviet Union and 1946 in the UK. The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in 1912, focusing on the prosperous middle-class Birling family,[4] who live in a comfortable home in Brumley, “an industrial city in the north Midlands”. The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton). The family are interrogated and revealed to have been responsible for the young woman’s exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death.

The play has been hailed as a scathing critique of the hypocrisies of Victorian/Edwardian English society and as an expression of Priestley’s Socialist political principles. Unfortunately, the play is now studied in many secondary schools as one of the set texts for English Literature GCSE effectively killing an opportunity for it to inspire our youth.

A NICE CUP OF TEA AND A SATDOWN (was Mary Portas thinks we need high street management)

Mary Portas thinks we need high-street management teams to reverse the decline of the high street.

Yes folks, Mary Portas thinks we need more managers.

That’s right, folks, Mary Portas thinks managers make things better.

Aaaw, bless.

…tbc…

oh…hold on…

She’s not saying that. the headline is crass. blame the media, for, she’s not saying that. the headline is crass. oversimplifying. its what they do. bears say mass in the woods, popes use improvised woodland latrines, and the media sensationalise, simplify and distort. duh.

now

you really shouldn’t let me listen to the ‘Today’ programme

(its on Radio 4 in the morning, pre-9 am, folks, if you are instead listening to banging chewns on Radio Noise FM)

why not? why shouldn’t arthur be allowed to listen to ‘Today’?

because he rants off like this.
so

Mary Portas is on the radio. I am shouting at the radio, because she is right, and WRONG!

2 points:

1. not that kind of manager!

memo to self – write a piece on kids of managers, good non-managerialist managers versus bad managerialist managers. need to do this soon, before I get attacked by managers.\\

2. she thinks the goal should be footfall.

It’s not about bring back shops or less supermarkets its about do anything to get more feet on the street. and its not about organic markets its about barnsley market

I agree.

3. ANDNOTBUT

AND

she then goes on to say ‘so we have to relax planning laws’.

AARGH. ‘FREE UP SOME OF RED TAPE.’

why aargh?

because its the old mistake, good understanding, rubbish solution.

Mary Portas, has, I reckon, got a good understanding of what went wrong, and has been convinced to support a certain solution (relax planning law).

Who thinks letting developers do what they like is a good idea? no one, apart from developers, their partners and the politicians who are their paid-for friend (who thinks spending more on youth clubs? no one except, youth, unemployed youth workers, and the national yoof bureau). That won’t happen , because youth clubs HAVE NO INFLUENCE. Who thinks we should spend more on under 5s? on adventure playgrounds? you get the drift)

so

Oldest game in the book: analyse a complex problem, do a good job, then allow vested interests to pick one solution.

newsflash: if a problem is complex, rather than complicated or simple or wicked, THERE IS NO ONE SOLUTION.

(I wrote a book about this – ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’.that book sort of scratched the surface. since then, 15 years ago, some smarter management consultant than me have deveoped some useful tools. ASK ME )

so

if you only implement one solution to a complex problem, then it won’t work and you are wrong.

simples,

that’s what we got from Labour with Surestart and family tax credit. That’s what Alan Milburn MP ex-Labour minister of something, thinks (also on radio just now). Alan thinks we need to spend more on under-5s services. Great analysis, Alan, wrong answer because it’s a single solution to a complex problem. These won’t go away. the world is ever more complex.

So are we all doomed? nope, probably. What is to be done?

Well, how about ‘SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY’.

What is that? it is a way of working together to work on complex problems. it is a methodology by which 70 people could meet for 4 hours (Watford BGOP workshop 1999) and everybody could be heard and the complex problem better understood. When they next meet they could come up with some small actions to take. and so on. No big single wrong answer, many small answers, some of which will work, some of which won’t.

The process has a simple acronym, MLTQ: ‘many little things quickly’ (technically MLTQfb, fb = fed back, abbreviated to be reminiscent of TQM).

Who needs ‘SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY’?

Everybody, but specifically small movements with no money who want to make a difference, like the UK Play lobby.

I will write more about SAT (Social Argument Technology), but for now I will merely point out, that some wise person, probably your mum, said there are few problems that can’t be made better with a nice cup of tea and a sit down (and biscuits). Heck, there’s even a website for that, because there is now a WEBSITE FOR EVERYTHING:

http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/

I’m saying that complex problems can only be made better with a nice cup of tea and a SAT down. and biscuits.

what is a ‘SATdown’?

it is a special meeting, in which we sit down together and use Social Argument Technology to have an arguement, nicely, listening to each other, not focussing on anyone problem or anyone solution, and stuff like that.

more on SAT later.

ASK ME.

———————————————————————————–

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/11/mary-portas-high-street-management-teams

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Maybe 10 years after 9 11 we are…

Maybe,
10 years after 9/11,
we are starting to reject the lie of the security and safety lobbies that

‘only we can make you safe’.

You can’t make me safe, only I can make me safe.

Having said that, please can we have more bobbies on the beat and our bus conductors back?

That by way of introducing this article:

HAVE WE GONE OVERBOARD ABOUT BULLYING?

Eliminating recess will only make the problem worse
By Lawrence J. Cohen & Anthony T. Debenedet, M.D.

some quotes from them for you- go read it.

“The recent decision by the Chicago Public Schools system to reinstate recess, effectively reversing years of optional recess policy (an option that was exercised less and less), is a step in the right direction. It’s also a stark reminder not to lose sight of the basics.

2 CHEERS FOR THAT REINSTATEMENT OF WHAT WE LIKE TO CALL ‘PLAYTIME’

/…/”If you spend a few minutes at a playground watching recess, you’ll see the full range of human behavior — from friendship and sharing to conflict and cruelty.

/…/“There are the obvious health benefits of physical fitness, but there are more subtle benefits to be gained, like social intelligence, morality and ethical behavior. There’s also good evidence that learning inside the classroom actually comes more easily when children have a chance to let loose outside the classroom.

/…/”Lately, however, another antirecess argument has hit the scene. It stems from a nationwide consciousness and fear of bullying. Essentially the idea (albeit mistaken) is that without recess, bullies will have less opportunity to victimize their peers.

/…/“The real solution to bullying on the playground is to train recess supervisors to know the difference between playing and aggression, and to recognize and respond appropriately to escalating situations.”

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2011/11/29/have-we-gone-overboard-about-bullying/#ixzz1gJItVsAo

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Thanks to Tim Gill on Facebook for finding this for us, Tim wrote:

‎”It may be difficult for adults to judge whether or not a particular incident is bullying… However, simply redefining all deliberately unpleasant behaviour as bullying does not solve this problem, it merely brushes it under the carpet. The unintended side-effect of such redefinition is that adults are likely to feel under growing pressure to step in whenever children fall out or argue with each other.”

“A quote from this Time article? No. A quote from No Fear. But I’m not jealous, I’m just pleased to see that others are thinking seriously about this thorny issue. (Time article via Marc Armitage.)”

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I admire your equanimity, Tim. I seriously wish I was more equanimitous myself when I am quoted/misquoted with or without attribution.

Whoever and whatever is to blame/praise for the turning of the tide we might be seeing, it is worthy of celebration.

Is the playwork field* ready for a mature…

Is the playwork field* ready for a mature discussion of the differing needs and therefore different requirements of boys and girls?

I can think of reasons why it might be.
I can think of reasons why it might not be.

I can think of reasons why things might have changed since ‘the 70s’.
I can think of reasons why things might not have changed since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware of some of the scientific knowledge we have gained since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware of some of the societal changes since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware that saying ‘the 70s’, gives away my approximate age.

So

I repeat:

Is the playwork field*
ready for a mature discussion
of the differing needs
and therefore different requirements
of boys and girls?

So please contact me with thoughts, ta.

As Dirty Harry*** says:

“Do you feel lucky?”

I’m hoping to get enough responses from my extensive readership to be able to put together a presentation on this topic later in the year.

Over to you.

(problem – this blog doesn’t accept comments yet, I I haven’t set that up yet, so you can’t comment. so if you are reading this, you will be aware that Arthur Battram is on Facebook, so you could message me there, or you could email me, if you don’t already have my email** at: PleXity AT onetel DOT com.)

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*They want to call it a profession,
I want to call it a craft,
technically it is a (noble) occupation,
yet the resources it has are similar to leaky tent in a field.
so I chose to call playwork a field.

    • my use of AT and DOT is a precaution to foil spambots, evil shape-changing robots from the planet Spa’m.
      • google him.