These visual thoughts are often created as a result of a conversation, and are available for use under a Creative Commons licence, so please remember to attribute!
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Credentials big and small…

old school vs new school credentials

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Every time I find myself on a beach, I’ll be looking for a pebble that catches my eye. I’ll pick a few contenders, and over the course of a two week holiday will end up with maybe 100 pebbles. At the end of the holiday, I’ll take maybe two or three home. I have attached meaning to them.

I hired our first Rookie at wapisasa because of his ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute, amongst other things. To me (as someone who needs somewhat longer than a minute) I saw persistence and a pattern-oriented mind that enjoyed solving problems. The small stuff matters, but is often unnoticed or undervalued.

This illustration originally formed part of some visual bloggery with Dr Doug Belshaw.

A subjunctive mood…

A subjunctive mood

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Primary schools in the UK have gone grammar mad. Essentially, although a kid may be dynamite in other areas, they can be labelled “below age related expectations”. What does that even mean?

In actual fact, we are natural grammarians. Kids sponge-brains can soak up new languages amazingly quickly, without any formal learning. It seems we are built to communicate. However, we are not natural statisticians. The brain has all sorts of clever short cuts (or biases) when it comes to making decisions. One of these biases is known as “post hoc ergo propter hoc“, (after this, therefore because of this). Essentially it’s the brain linking cause and effect between unrelated events, and the reason why the personal experience of a politician’s education gets turned into education policy.

For “smart” people, this isn’t very smart…

P.S. Here’s Michael Rosen’s take on the fronted adverbial…


How do you want to be?

How do you want to be?

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Done. Done and done. Now doesn’t that feel good?

It was only when I first worked in Tanzania that I realised how task oriented I am. We are. It’s cultural. What surfaced as a frustration at how others worked, resulted in a reflective realisation that to me the priority was doing and completing the task, and not the people I was doing it with. In Tanzania, I saw a respect and interest amongst people there that was really quite beautiful. I see now – the problem is at my end.

Haraka haraka haina baraka… (hurry, hurry, has no blessings – Swahili wisdom…)

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#learning #thinkery

Reading – World Book Day

Reading - world book day

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When it comes to reading books as a youngster, my experience was one of homework, context, someone else’s knowledge, questions and comprehension. I thought of reading as something that belonged to school. A tedious necessity. Not something I would do for kicks.

My kids experience is somewhat different. It’s choice, interest and curiosity driven, fascinating, a journey. They read and re-read.

Somewhere the purpose of my reading got skewed. I wish I’d figured this out earlier…

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#edchat #learning

Learning – to what end?

Learning - to what end?

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“Dad? What does this spell? F-L-A-P-P-E-R?”

My 5 year old is an engineer in the making. He has a book of how to make a whole array of paper planes. And so he starts his self-crafted apprenticeship.

“Dad? Can you help me with step 10?”
But this is the Expert Section.
“Can you just do it?”

A few weeks later, our house is full of paper planes. He has started to teach other kids. Some of the designs, he has modified to fly better (well, why wouldn’t he?). I just try to help out and follow orders. I can see his reading improving. He reads to decode the steps. I’m certain his maths and spatial intelligence has too. He creates, and enjoys his creation.

This is productive learning. I wish I’d figured this out earlier…


The stuff you don't know you don't know

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I remember being on an entrepreneurship course, not long after co-founding my first business. It was part of an excellent scheme that joined up experts, incubation space in Government buildings, and funding from the Scottish Government. It was just what we needed.

Each week a different expert spoke. Cash is King. David vs Goliath. Why you and your partners really really really need a shareholders agreement…

I remember the words the speaker spoke in relation to this drawing. “It’s the things you don’t know you don’t know that’ll kill you every time…”

I must continually gain exposure from other’s experiences. I wish I’d figured this out earlier…

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#learning #startup

Fixed Mindsets

The fixed mindset

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I recently tripped over one of my fixed mindsets. A what could I possibly do that would make any difference to this? sort of mindset. It was ugly. Choose your battles I had told myself, but I’m in real danger of never pitching up for a fight.

Fixed mindsets. In my experience, these are easier to spot in others when you rub up against them (the mindsets that is…) but a lot more difficult to spot in your own self.


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