Author Archive

The Avenue Professional Development Programme

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Not sure what the Avenue Professional Development Programme online learning community is all about? Watch this two-minute video to find out. Based on principles of self-directed learning, this programme is geared towards developing reflective practice. It works by bringing together a group of learners who support one another, under Neil’s guidance.

Click here to see the video

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Rethinking learning

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Working with children is important work, but we have to recognise that it can be quite difficult and demanding. As the manager of the assessment centre I used to work at put it, child care work is not for the faint hearted. Given how challenging the work can be, it is vitally important that staff are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and values. This makes learning an essential topic to focus on. But, is how we tend to go ...

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How humour can positively transform a work enviroment

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Our minds are very good at finding ways to worry at work. Think about it. Actually, don’t think about it, because that’s part of the problem. We think about it too much … Mark Leary, Ph.D., explains how over thousands of years, we have shifted from focusing on the present to obsessing about the future. We think so much about “what if” that we don’t realize the negative toll of letting our worries wander.

That’s why we need to replace our ...

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How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

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You’re not at your best when you’re stressed. In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there’s a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations, when your thinking becomes clouded — the pre-mortem. “We all are going to fail now and then,” he says. “The idea is to think ahead to what those ...

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90% of coaching is self-coaching

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A cherry can’t grow without the pit. The drupe works because it uses the pit as instigation, a foundation to go forward from. The same is true for the way most of us engage with a coach. That basketball coach screaming from the sidelines? There’s no way the player can hear what he’s saying. That’s okay. The shift is happening inside.

And the coaching that happens with a good boss or inside a program like the altMBA? The theory is the ...

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Discount on Neil Thompson’s books extended

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Palgrave have kindly extended the special offer of a 25% discount on the books Neil published with them. It was due to come to an end on December 31st, but has now been extended to January 20th.

Click here and use the code THOMPSON25 at the checkout.

The Routledge offer of a 20% discount on three of the books he has published with them is still running too. Click the relevant link and use the code FLR40 at the ...

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Applying the 6 key adult learning principles to yourself

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It’s been years since Malcolm Knowles, considered by many to be the “father of adult learning,” articulated a set of six principles – or “assumptions,” as he put it – about how adults tend to learn differently from children. While anyone who is serious about creating and facilitating effective adult learning experiences should already be familiar with these principles, I’m willing to bet that the average adult learner, to whom they apply, has never heard of either Knowles or his ...

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Identifying learning and development needs

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Identifying learning and development (L&D) needs involves the assessment of employee capabilities alongside an understanding of current or anticipated gaps in knowledge or skills. This analysis can be conducted at the individual, team or organisational level. In any case, the outcomes can identify the appropriate learning provisions required to enable sustained business performance and should be closely aligned to the overall organisation strategy.

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Inversion: The crucial thinking skill nobody ever taught you

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The ancient Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus regularly conducted an exercise known as a premeditatio malorum, which translates to a “premeditation of evils.”

The goal of this exercise was to envision the negative things that could happen in life. For example, the Stoics would imagine what it would be like to lose their job and become homeless or to suffer an injury and become paralyzed or to have their reputation ruined and lose their status in society

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