Becoming a Teaching Assessor – some things you need to know

A Teaching Assessor – To be or not to be?

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Many people who work in the teaching and educational profession may reach a point where we want to pass on our knowledge in a way that can help improve the learning environment for future generations of children. One of the ways we can achieve this career objective is by becoming a teaching assessor. However, although as William Shakespeare rightly observed, the first question to answer is whether ‘to be or not to be’ a teaching assessor, clearly to make an informed choice you need to ask additional questions: what does it means to be a teaching assessor and what skills, competences and knowledge are required to qualify for this position? So let us look at resolving these two added questions:

What does it mean to be a teaching assessor?

teacher1Perhaps we should start the answer to this question by identifying what being a teaching assessor does not mean. What it does not mean is that your task will be to check up on your teacher colleagues and student learners, and admonish them for any mistake they make or omissions in the teaching methods they are adopting. In other words, you will not be required to act like a teacher-learner ‘policeman or woman’.

Indeed, the role of a teaching assessor is distinctly positive in practice. It is a constructive teacher2evaluation role, which allows the assessor to use their practical expertise and their knowledge of the prevailing educational policies and practices to help others (teachers and learners) to achieve their teaching/learning outcomes, as well as assessing the extent to which they have achieved these objectives, by providing them with a pathway for future improvement.

In this respect, the role of the teaching assessor is not only to act as a mentor, but also multi-functional in that he/she will work with teachers and students throughout the learning process. The assessor is not only to develop training programmes and workshops that will ensure the teacher has an understanding of the current learning curricula and learning policies and processes. Additionally, he/she will also be required to visit the teacher/learner in the classroom or practical workplace environment (for older and vocational students), for the purpose of evaluating and assessing the extent to which the teacher/learner performances are reflecting the outcome of these programmes.

What qualities do you need to become a teaching assessor?

It is perhaps obvious from the previous discussion that in addition to having good people skills, which are required to ensure you are able to develop a positive relationship with the teachers/learners with whom you are engaging, the most critical quality needed if you choose to become a teaching assessor is experience. truckerHowever, that experience needs to be appropriate to the practical environment in which your role as a teaching/learning assessor is being applied. For example, if your experience is in teaching in an educational environment, such as a school or higher education institution, it is highly unlikely that you will have the expertise to act as an assessor in a vocational and/or apprenticeship environment relevant to HGV learners.

The second most important quality needed is knowledge. Knowledge in this respect is related to your understanding of the outcome of the latest evidence-based research related to the teaching/learning assessment process in the environment where you will be working. Your knowledge in this context should also include an awareness of the latest legislation, regulations and guidelines that are applicable to your chosen teaching assessor role.

For example, if the assessor role applied for is located within a formal school educational environment, the knowledge you need will include a detailed understanding of the government’s latest curricula and the intended outcome of this policy in relation to ensuring that students are able to achieve their post-educational objectives, for example through university enrolment and graduation.

In contrast, however, if your role is related to being a teaching/learner assessor in the HGV driver environment then, in addition personal experience, you will need to have evidence-based knowledge related to the challenges of driving these vehicles. Additionally, you will need to be conversant with the current legal requirements in terms of hours of driving/working and the uses and abuses of the tachograph system. Without having acquired the relevant knowledge and expertise, it is apparent that you would be unable to fulfil the criterion to become a teacher/student assessor.

To conclude

In conclusion, therefore, when considering a role as a teaching/learning assessor, you need to ask yourself the two questions. The first of these is what does it means to be an assessor, and the second is what qualities do you need to be considered for this role? Based on this observation, then you can reply to William Shakespeare’s comment by saying:

 

To be or not to be a ‘teaching assessor’ is not the only question to answer!

 

 

 

 

 

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Autumn Content offer – Buy 2 get 1 free

mad-professor-2As October dawns, the Mad Professor at Re&d woke up on the first day of the month and decided in his wisdom, or lack thereof, to deliver a special offer to those of you looking for content for your website, blog or any other purpose.

Buy 2 get 1 free

The Mad Professor,  who is partial to developing crazy ideas, thought it would be a good idea to offer you the opportunity to buy two content articles that suit your requirements and then, when you complete the purchase, he will send you any other article of your choice, FREE OF CHARGE! 

Here is how the offer works

MarketingRe&d offers content and articles on a range of subjects. These subject areas include business, education, travel, history, finance, motoring, health and social, family matters, sports and leisure and others.

All you need to do is first choose two article from any subject, and then complete the scuba-diving-2purchase of these articles. Once you have done this just select a third article that you would like, then use our contact form to let us know which article you wish us to send you for free. Please put ‘contact’ in the subject title and the title of the free article you require in the text. Alternatively, you can e-mail us at info@readessays.com with your request.

Act now to take advantage of this amazing Buy 2 get 1 free offer as it won’t be around for long. As soon as the management can find the Mad Professor, they will be looking to end it, though that may take a while.

Please also remember that if you want bespoke content for your site/blog, Re&d has experts who can provide you with quality articles at realistic and competitive prices. Contact us for more information on your requirements.

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Brexit has happened – Don’t panic Mr UK – Arguments and myths examined

Following the outcome of the UK referendum, which confirmed the UK should leave the EU (officially announced around 7pm 24 June 2016), the UK, EU and International media and political observers hav…

Source: Brexit has happened – Don’t panic Mr UK – Arguments and myths examined

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Brexit has happened – Don’t panic Mr UK – Arguments and myths examined

BrexitFollowing the outcome of the UK referendum, which confirmed the UK should leave the EU (officially announced around 7pm 24 June 2016), the UK, EU and International media and political observers have, for want of a better phrase, become almost ‘hysterical’ in their analysis of the consequence of this result. Most of this hysteria has been focused on highlighting the adverse impact of this decision, particularly in terms of its economic consequences for the UK. However, while many of the factors that have influenced this decision have been briefly covered in the media, few have failed to provide an in-depth insight into the causes and consequences of this decision, for both the UK and the current political model of the western/European democratic model.

 The causes, consequences and arguments related to Brexit

Whatever side we took on the UK EU referendum vote is now academic. The die has been cast and the decision made. The UK, by a slim majority (just over 1.1 million votes) has chosen to exit from the EU. The question to be answered is what can be learned from this what many have called an ‘historic event in UK history’.

Political consequences for the RU

Politicians in the UK and EU need to reflect on what this means to the future of democracy. In this ever-changing world of global technology and communication, people in individual cultures such as the UK are no longer prepared to be controlled, or to be governed by non-elected pseudo- political organisations who are so far out of touch with society and communities that they could be living on another planet.

More importantly, we are not prepared to be asked to adopt austerity measures when the EU is wasting €billions transporting the EU parliament from one location to another on a regular basis, .and who squander €millions on paying exorbitant salaries and expenses to MEPs, especially when those politicians fail to listen to those they ostensibly represent. Nor are we prepared to support or be controlled by a political oligarchy that demands we reduce our impact on climate change when they do the opposite, or who think nothing of living extravagantly, while informing us, the citizens of Europe that we need to tighten our belts. It is not acceptable to tell us that we need to eat gruel while they feast on caviar. Nor is it acceptable that we need to struggle to provide shelter, food and quality healthcare for our families, or that our elderly have to struggle to survive on meagre pensions while they benefit from the fruits of the accumulation of private wealth, much of which has been created by the productive efforts of workforce that they have employed.

Political consequences for the UK

Like the EU politicians, it is apparent that the result in favour of Brexit has provided two important lessons for the UK political parties and the current structure of the democratic model that these parties have believed are appropriate for the government of the country. The ultimate leadership of all three political parties supported the remain in Europe outcome of the referendum. Yet in all cases, the message presented by the leadership of these parties was, by a slim majority, rejected. Again, this confirms that politicians in the UK democracy are becoming increasingly out of touch with those who have elected them to serve.

Scaremongering, bribery, misrepresentation and vitriol

There is little doubt that scaremongering, bribery, misrepresentation of the facts and vitriolic attacks on the opposition are tactics have been prevalent in the campaigns of both the remain and leave factions of the UK referendum debate. Have they worked? No!

For the remain campaign George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) suggested if we voted to leave this would mean the immediate introduction of an emergency austerity budget to combat the adverse economic impact of the leave decision. The question to be answered is did this statement have a positive impact on voter decision to remain? No! This not only failed to influence the public but also alienated many voters from voting to remain, mainly because, as discussed in the following section of this post, related to the financial and economic consequences, the rationale for Osborne’s strategy is inherently flawed. Why is this the case? In the view of the author of this post, it can be argued that the introduction of such a policy fails on two counts. First, as witnessed by the UK government’s response to the recent global financial crisis, they decided to provide banking institutions and the financial markets with a bailout totalling £850 billion. Did this bailout come from the government purse or from the purse of the individuals responsible for the management of the UK banking institutions or their annual pay and compensation packages? No! Essentially, the bailouts were funded by the taxpayer, and in their view this threat of a further austerity budget post the leave EU result devalued the remain message and was viewed as simply scaremongering, which the politicians should have known the electorate would not have countenanced.

In terms of bribery and misrepresentation, the leave campaign suggested that leaving the EU would produce a saving of £350 million per week, which could then be redirected to fund the NHS. Did voters believe this? No! Why? Because no-one with an IQ greater than 0 truly believed that this promise would be kept, or that the figure itself was correct. Yes, improving NHS health care is important, but only a fool would believe that any government would divert all the potential net EU contribution savings to improve the level of funding for the NHS. This argument also provides further evidence that politicians on both sides were not connected with the core issues related to the decision process.

The influence of financial markets and economics

Furthermore, the government of our country and indeed the EU should not be allowed its politics to be governed or determined by the interests of wealth alone. Wealth is created from the bottom up in society and therefore the benefits of that wealth should fairly cascade from the top down, which is clearly not the case in modern western democracy. We also should not, and indeed the result has shown than many have not, allow ourselves to become susceptible to scaremongering over the economic impact of Brexit.

Financial markets

It was to be expected that irrespective of the outcome on the vote, it would have an impact on the financial markets. This effect would naturally affect two key financial indicators, these being the value of sterling against other currencies and the UK stock market movement. If the vote was to remain, the values in both of these market both indicators would see an initial increase, with the reverse being the case if the vote was to leave.  This proved to be the case with the FTSE 100 dropping from around 6,349 at 7:30 pm on the 23rd June to 5,788 at 8:00 am on the 24th June. However, by the end of trading on 24 June, it had recovered to 6,160 approximately[1]. Thus, also the loss in the initial aftermath of the Brexit result was around 561 points (8.83%) by the end of trading it was only around 189 points (2.97%).

There are two issues to consider here. The first is that a snapshot of the FTSE as used in the media and presented above, is simply a change related to a specific period of time, in this case one day. Further investigation however, shows that a) the FTSE 100 index actually closed the week just over 2% higher than the start of the week. Taking a longer term view of this index, it is equally apparent that the current close (34 June) was similar to the levels recorded in August 2015. Therefore, it is clear that speculation on a positive remain result had been built into the markets prior to the event, which created an abnormal rise in the FTSE 100 prior to the major fall that occurred during the early hours of 23 June. Consequently, it can be argued that talk of a perceived ‘stock market crash’ in the immediate aftermath of Brexit has been over-inflated.

Equally, one has to take into account that for national and international financial market investors, indexes such as the FTSE 100 are effectively used as a betting shop. There are a considerable number of investors who place bets on the rise and fall of such indexes. For example, a wealthy investor on recognising the potential change of the outcome of the referendum could have placed a bet of say £1,000 a point on the FTSE 1000 continuing to fall between the moment the bet was placed, and the time when the index opened on 24th June. Had their timing been right, such an investor could potentially have made around £500,000. The same investor could have placed a further bet on the index rising again once and, with the right timing have made another £300,000 as the index rose during the day.

In summary, therefore, taking a snap-shot view of the market reaction, which is what the media has done, can of itself be considered to be scaremongering and not an accurate reflection of the impact of Brexit on the financial markets. Of course, as discussed below, there are other economic factors that need to be considered that may or may not have a longer term economic impact.

Other Economic factors

There are two important economic factors that require further examination, namely the value of the pound and the impact of Brexit on our trading relationships. In April 2016, the UK import total was £41 billion and our Exports were £25 Billion, a differential of £16 billion. With the immediate devaluation of the pound following the result of the referendum, this suggests that, based on these figures our imports would be around 11% dearer and our exports would be 11% cheaper (£45.5 billion and £22.2 billion approximately). Consequently, it is correct to say that the cost of living in the UK would increase if import levels remain the same, providing of course that the value of the £ does not recover over the coming months. However, the cheaper cost of exports would see a rise in this area, which would help to improve the UK balance of payments.

In terms of our trading relationships, there has been a lot of political hype about the impact Brexit and the response of our trading partners, particularly the USA and European countries. According to latest statistics, Germany and USA are our two largest trading partners, both in terms of imports and exports. Therefore, despite the rhetoric that is coming from the politicians in both countries, are the businesses in these countries really likely to turn away from our market? This is highly unlikely, particularly as we remain one of the largest economies in the world.  More importantly, as indicated in recent media reports, Germany are concerned that Brexit will cost their economy £35 billion[2]. Therefore, Germany is likely to make strenuous efforts to ensure they retain a positive economic relationship with the UK.

Based on these observations, although there may be some short term damage it is likely that this will be reversed in the longer term as our post-EU democracy settles down.

Immigration

There was a heated debate over immigration during the referendum campaign, with some factions accusing those on the leave side of the argument of xenophobia. Yes, there is a certain small faction of the UK public that hold a xenophobic viewpoint, although not all of these are simply present in the ‘leave’ segment. The UK has been a multi-cultural community since the end of World War II and. For the majority of the population, there is a good inter-cultural relationship between the indigenous and ethnic communities. This, in my view, will remain the same going forward, as it should do. When members of our community migrant to foreign countries, they expect to be treated with respect and therefore we should act in the same manner towards those who migrate to our country.

The real question related to immigration in respect of the Brexit debate was more accurately related to numbers. As a country, geographically the UK is not only one of the smallest in Europe, but also proportionally the highest population per spatial area. In 2015, the UK population grew by just over half a million, of which around 335,000 was the result of net migration. This increase has remained relatively similar over the past decade. As a country, such an annual increase is not sustainable in the long term for the following reasons:

  1. There is an insufficiency of spatial availability in the UK to develop sufficient housing to cope with such a continuing rate of population increase
  2. The UK does not have the physical, social and welfare infrastructure to be able to accommodate a continued increase of this size of population
  3. It does have an impact on the employment market, which can cause civil unrest and, by inference, higher levels of unemployment

In my view, based on these factors, the leave campaign was projecting an economic and spatial argument for controlling immigration and, as Boris Johnson has subsequently stated, it was never intended to be a xenophobic argument. That some people suggested this is the case is again incorrect and scaremongering.

Is there a generational gap that caused the Brexit outcome?

It has been argued in the media that the success of the leave campaign was mainly caused by a generational divide in the voting, which is part of the reason why some people are demanding a second referendum on the issue. However, it is important to examine the results more closely to determine whether there is any validity in this argument. Notwithstanding the political divide on the issue, which clearly showed a diversity of age and gender in terms of supporters for both remain and leave, a closer analysis of the voting pattern throughout the UK.

Statistics analysed by John Burn-Murdoch for the Financial Times confirmed that although the younger generation (25-44 years) overwhelmingly voted remain[3], much fewer numbers turned out to vote. It is irrational, in my view, for people within this age group to complain that the older generation has acted unfairly towards them by voting to leave. If one has a view then, if you want this view to make a difference you should vote and, clearly, insufficient numbers of people within this younger age group were not prepared to do so. Would it have made a difference to the result if more people within this age group had voted? Difficult to say! It has to be born in mind that within this population there are a significant percentage of people who a) are in lower paid jobs and b) unemployed. Therefore, even if 1.2 million more votes had been recorded from this population segment, it is highly unlikely that the outcome would have been any different when these two factors are taken into account.

Conclusion

The objective of this post has been to examine and explode some of the key scaremongering myths that were levelled at the leave contingent during the Brexit campaign, and the perceived ‘damage’ to the UK subsequent to the ‘leave’ outcome. In the view of the author, rather than continuing to debate the result, three positive steps are required now:

1) UK politicians need to adopt a different approach to the dialogue they have with the general public, and more importantly, listen to their views and create a political model that leads to increased social cohesion, which will serve to unite rather than continue to divide the country

2) The article trigger for EU exit should be invoked immediately to avoid the potential for continuing uncertainty in the markets and the UK economy

3) The Prime Minister should immediately appoint to cabinet a group of Brexit politicians and provide them with the authority to begin immediate negotiations with the EU related to the UK exit from this political union.

(The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author)

[1] http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/indices/summary/summary-indices-chart.html?index=UKX

[2] http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/673068/Germany-Brexit-EU-referendum-banks-economy-recession

[3] http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2016/06/24/brexit-demographic-divide-eu-referendum-results/

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The importance of academic proofreading, editing, structure and presentation (1)

Source: The importance of academic proofreading, editing, structure and presentation (1)

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The importance of academic proofreading, editing, structure and presentation (1)

shutterstock_101817184During the time spent at university, from fresher to graduation you as a student will be required to submit a number of coursework projects in the form of essays, dissertations and reports. There are, of course, numerous academic publication that can be used as a guide to help you develop the content of this coursework and the research methods you can apply.

shutterstock_131629634However, what is somewhat surprising is that little literary attention has been paid to the importance of proofreading, editing, and the structure and presentation of the coursework (PESP). Some may consider these elements to be relatively unimportant, as they might feel that what matters is the content, and to a certain extent this is true. Yet this view fails to consider two important factors, one of which is practical in nature and the other perhaps can be viewed as psychological.

Practical importance

professorsLet us look first at the practical implication related to these factors. When presented with a project to complete, within the instructions (somewhere) there is usually a comment, which indicates that proofreading, editing, structure and presentation (PESP) will account for between 5% and 10% of the final grade mark. Not a big deal you may think, but consider this: The standard grade for a 2.2 project in the UK is around 50-59%, with anything graded below 50% being classed in many instances as a failure (at best a ‘third’). So let us suppose for a moment that your content was only of a sufficient quality to gain you say 47% before accounting for PESP.  If the PESP element of your coursework is of the highest quality, then it will be apparent that in many instances you could gain the those additional percentage points (5 or 10%), which will ensure your work reaches a grade of 2.2.  This small grading differential becomes even more important at higher graduation stages, for example when your requirement is to submit a ‘first’ grade coursework (70% +) and the content of your coursework prior to PESP is only around 68%.

Psychological importance

You may be wondering what PESP has to do with psychology but let me pose the question: who will be psycologically influenced by the quality of the PESP in your work? The answer is you, your tutor(supervisor) and your potential employer.

You

shutterstock_196021757Let us first focus on you. On results day you are presented with a letter that confirms you have graduated at the 2.1 level, yet you know from the marks that you were inches (less than 5% away from graduating with a ‘First’. How will that make you feel?  Disappointed, less confident? Yet with little effort and attention to PESP, which takes significantly less time than developing and researching the content for your coursework, the pain you feel at that moment could have been turned into pleasure and excitment.  Disappointment and lack of confidence will also impact on your motivation to secure the career position you desire, with the outcome being that you may settle for an employment position that is way below the skills and competences you have acquired.

Your tutor/supervisor

You may be wondering in what ways your tutor/supervisor may be psychologically affected by the quality (or lack thereof) of the PESP applied within your work. Just pause a minute and think of the following. Your tutor/supervisor is providing similar services and help to a number of students, not just you. Therefore he/she has a finite time to devote to each. Let us consider a hypotheticalexample of their marking process. Your tutor is sitting in his/her office late one afternoon with ten coursework submissions to consider and mark.  Nine of these have been effectively proofread and edited, and are well structured and presented. Then they pick up the tenth work and find that is has not been properly proofread or edited, and is not structured or presented at the same level of quality as those he/she had previously marked. What would you do in this situation? Although they will state that each work will be approached with an open mind, it is only human nature that a comparison with the other submissions will be made by the tutor/supervisor. Therefore, with respect to the examiner, the one with a poor level of PESP is likely to receive a more severe level of criticism and grading than then those that have a higher quality of PESP.

A potential employer

In today’s graduate employment market research has indicated that there are many more applicants than there are jobs available. Consequently, much of the selection and recruitment process is focused on the initial application form and CV submitted by potential candidates. I would argue that it is at this stage that the graduate grade would begin to have a pscychological impact on your potential employer. Consider this scenario. The employer is sitting and browsing through say 25 applications. They discard 10 because these do not have the univeristy educational qualifications required.  Out of the remaining 15, 8 have graduated with a ‘First’,  6 with a 2.1 grade and 1 (you) with a 2.2, although in their applications all have confirmed they have similar skills and competence.Interview Ask yourself what you would do in that position to decide which of the applicants would be invited for an interview. In practice, as from a psycholigical perspective, higher grades are considered to represent a high quality of skills and competences, it is likely that the person with a 2.2 grade graduation certificate will be one of the first to be discarded.

Conclusion

So what has been learnt from this discussion? Perhaps the most important lesson is that, although proofreading, editing, structure and presentation of your coursework will by no means replace your efforts on providing the appropriate quality of coursework quality, we have learnt that PESP can have  positive practical and psychological impact on the grade that you achieve. Thus, these factors remain critical in terms of their impact on you, your tutor/supervisor and potential future employer.

We at Re&d recognise the practical and psycholoical  importance of the fsctors and have designed services arimed at helping students overcome the challenges they present, available at a reasonable cost. For details of how we can help, please send us a message o use the contact form available on our website. Alternatively, you can e-mail us using the following address – info@readessays.com, or text us on 0751 796 3712.

 

 

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The top 25 universities (and junior colleges) — rated by you

Univ. of Mississippi takes top slot in ratemyprofessors.com’s annual rankings.

Source: The top 25 universities (and junior colleges) — rated by you

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Is healthcare imprisoned in the political dungeon of inequality, discrimination and waste?

Virtually every day media headlines include adverse news about the state of healthcare, and the NHS in the UK is no exception to this rule.  Over the past few weeks, for example, the media have included the following news items:

This is just a small selection of the headlines identifying the issues facing the UK healthcare service, which for decades past and, unless a change of approach is adopted, leaves it firmly imprisoned in a dark political dungeon where there is little hope of release. Leaving aside political preferences and rhetoric, it is argued that this dungeon is being formed by a perpetuating circle of inequality, discrimination and waste, which no political party appears capable of, or willing to breach.

The dungeon of triangular NHS constraints

The constraints that have been identified are intrinsically interconnected, related to the headlines,  and impact on  the NHS workforce and the patients they are tasked to serve.

Inequality

Healthcare1For healthcare professionals inequality exists in the poor working conditions they are required to work in. Long hours lead to exhaustion stress and fatigue, all of which have an adverse effect on the quality of care provided by the patient. Yet at the same time, there are NHS executives, managerial teams and external consultants employed by the government to report on failures and policies who are being highly paid to perform tasks that are not nearly as stressful. Indeed many NHS trust CEOs are being paid the equivalent of 10 nurses wages per annum. Where is the equality in such a system?

Discrimination

elderlyIt is equally apparent from some of the headlines presented that discrimination is actively present in the structure and management of the NHS. When funding is short, as appears to be the case at present, who is discriminated against by the healthcare system? Clearly it is the most vulnerable people in our society, the young disturbed children and the elderly. Is it because they are assumed by politicians to have no economic or political value? Or are we too busy building state of the art offices and medical centres costing hundred’s of thousand’s of pounds to bother about those who deserve our care?

Waste

The NHS apparently requires £8 billion to avoid a funding crisis and this excludes ongoing increases in funding levels. Good value and much-needed you might say if it helps to return the quality of patient care we all want to see, and we would not disagree with you at all.  However, why do the politicians give the impression these funds need to come from the resources of members of the public. Why not reduce the waste associated with the NHS and social care. I am not talking about the physical services provided but the ancillary spending of consecutive governments. Take for example, the wastage in costs spent on public inquiries and reporting. The inquiry into the sad case of child abuse that led to the death of Victoria Climbie cost in excess of £13 million. Yet were the lessons implemented and learned – No! A few years later there was another inquiry, this time into the case of ‘Baby P’ who suffered a similar fate to Victoria, costing further tens of millions.

Where is the key to unlock the door?

QuangoWhen you consider the countless numbers of public inquiries and reports commissioned by government, at a cost of £1,000’s per hour, it does not take a genius to work out that, if these were more closely monitored, if lessons were learned and the appropriate action was implemented and, more importantly the outcomes monitored, it would not take long for this wastage and savings in time costs and resources would more than cover the of £8 billion the NHS is now requesting. At the same time, improvements in training and rationalisation of the ‘cost’ top-heavy managerial structure would serve to reduce workforce inequalities and end patient discrimination.

It is for government and political parties to act rather than continuing to use the NHS as a tennis ball in the unsavoury game of electioneering.

The views express are those of the author – for more information about the products and services available from Re&D visit www.readessays.com

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How to Unlock Creativity in Your Writing

From the pen of Robert Reeves

©Onomatomedia

©Onomatomedia

We humans tend to be creatures of habit. Anyone who writes either as a hobby or for a living will understand what we mean when we say it can be difficult to stop your own writing patterns becoming repetitive and formulaic.

Keeping your content fresh, compelling, and unique isn’t easy!

Yet, you’ll need to learn to unlock your creativity in order to progress, whether it’s creativity in terms of improving your writing in general, or creativity in terms of writing unique content around the same or similar topics.

In fact, a study in 2012 found 80% of people believe unlocking creativity can lead to better economic performance! Yet only 25% thought they were living up to their creative potential.

Let’s try to help your imagination flow in your writing with the following tips.

Mind Map the Positives and the Negatives

Drawing a mind map can give you plenty of new ideas and ways to approach your writing.

First, list all the positives in your project and think about your previous writing and its best bits. How can you add these elements to your latest piece?

Then go through the problem areas – the questions that remain unanswered or the storylines that don’t work. What other approaches could you use?

Play Word Association

Word association games are a great way to open your mind to new ideas and approaches. You can even download a word association app to your phone if your own thoughts hit a blank.

Try improving your vocabulary as well. Pick a dictionary and select a random word. Do you know the meaning already? What words do you associate with it?

Have some fun with this one and don’t see it as part of work. Whether you play Scrabble online, try out another word game, or just hang out with creative friends at the weekend, opening your mind in this way can supercharge your writing.

Change Your Routine

Do you always write at the same time of day or at the same spot? Although creating a good work routine is important, you should occasionally try stepping outside those routines.

Take a notebook with you and go write your ideas outside. Head down to the local café for a quick brainstorming session or just mix up the hours you typically spend writing!

What is the weather like where you are? It’s amazing how a couple of hours working on your laptop at the park can inspire you.

Alternatively, spend a couple of days a month at a co-working space with others like yourself is also refreshing and fun.

What you do here doesn’t really matter; the simple act of getting away from the same four walls and the same view can do wonders.

Write Down ALL of Your Ideas

Critical thinking skills are great, but the chances are you might be a bit too critical. Writing down your ideas – even the crazy ones – doesn’t mean you need to publish them.

Keep a notebook with you at all times and as soon as you think of something – ANYTHING – write it down to look at later.

The trick here is not to dismiss things just because you won’t use them right away. Either use an app like Evernote or collect your ideas as an Excel or Google doc, and the next time you’re stuck for an idea, refer to these.

There are few feelings that rival being stuck at what you feel is a dead end, then getting inspired by an idea you forgot you had some months ago.

Clear Your Inner Mind

Sometimes your unconscious mind might be blocking your ability to be creative. Try some relaxation techniques and start writing a journal.

Keeping a diary can boost your writing in many ways; not only does it help clearing your mind from troubles, but it might also help you see everyday things in a new light.

It’ll also be a great creative resource in the future, too.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Don’t think about your writing all of the time. It can often be much more productive to let your project sit while you have a good time.

Instead of resorting to your usual past time activities, try something outside your comfort zone. Eat in a new exotic restaurant or try baking bread. If you are adventurous enough why not go skydiving! Even reading a book in a genre outside of your usual favourites can open your mind.

Above all, when you find something that gets your imagination flowing, make a note of it so you can return to the activity or thing later.

You don’t need to walk on the wild side all of the time, either. Sometimes just going for a coffee or spending 30 minutes catching up on the news is as useful as trying something new and drastic.

Don’t feel the need to come up with something on the spot; take some time out and feel the difference.

Check out our website for more writing resources and let us know below what you find boosts your creativity the most.

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The Folktale of the Pedlar of Swaffham

A fascinating insight into the folklore of Swaffham, in Norfolk

Under the influence!

The folktale of the Pedlar of Swaffham tells of how a poor pedlar came to find his fortune by following a dream. The story begins in the historic English market town of Swaffham in the county of Norfolk in the 15th century.

Pedlar of Swaffham , The town Sign, Swaffham, Norfolk – Image Author: Stavros1- Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

A Dream of Fortune

The legend tells of how John acquired his money after a strange dream he experienced three times on consecutive nights. In that dream he saw the great city of London and he saw London Bridge stretching across the River Thames. He heard a voice telling him that if he was to travel all the way from Swaffham in Norfolk to London, where on London Bridge, he would meet someone who would tell him the most wonderful news.

The first night he dismissed it as just a…

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