SWU Member benefits: Learn with Neil Thompson

 The following message has recently been sent to all Social Worker’s Union (SWU) members:

A personal message from Neil Thompson

I am delighted to be working with SWU to offer membership of my online learning programme at half price. It’s not a course in the conventional sense. Rather, it’s an online learning community, a place where people support each other in their learning. It’s based on principles of self-directed learning (the most effective type of learning) where you decide – with ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Look back, face forward

‘Learn from the past’ is an oft-quoted piece of wisdom. ‘Don’t look back, focus on the future’ is another one, despite the fact that the latter totally contradicts the former. So, where does that leave us? Well, as is often the case with slogan-type advice, they both oversimplify a complex situation.

Time is something we generally take for granted as a common sense issue. However, philosophers have long debated the nature of time. For example, in a sense, there is no ...

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The art of friendship

Reading, writing, arithmetic, and how to make friends and influence people: all in a day’s learning at St Michael’s Catholic Primary school in Sydney’s Lane Cove. The school’s Friendology program teaches kids how to make friends and how to put out “friendship fires”, important skills they’ll carry into adulthood.

Parents and teachers say the children’s social and emotional wellbeing is enhanced, they are performing better academically, and they are more likely to make smarter decisions in future relationships. Based on URSTRONG, an ...

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Voice as a fundamental aspect of ‘Good Work’

The Matthew Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices highlights the importance of effective worker voice for creating good work. We believe that having a meaningful voice is critical to better experience and outcomes of work, and therefore welcome Taylor’s inclusion of the CIPD’s viewpoint that ‘having a voice is essential not just at the moment of entering an employment relationship, but as it progresses, too.’ The review outlines several purposes of voice in the workplace, from raising concerns to influencing ...

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An end to workplace taboos surrounding women’s health conditions

Under-recognised chronic gynaecological health conditions are holding-back women’s productivity and could be damaging their career and earning potential. A new report launched by the Work Foundation highlights that women’s health conditions, such as endometriosis or infertility, having a long-term condition during pregnancy, and the experience of the menopause, are still considered taboo and are under-recognised in the workplace.

Endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects one in ten women of reproductive age in the UK, is the second most common gynaecological condition. It occurs ...

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We’d all benefit from encouraging children to go outside and take risks

Stop popping the balloons. Forget the dew on the grass. Bring back the conkers and the yo-yos. And ditch those hi-vis jackets that make every child look like Bob the Builder. It’s time, says the chief inspector of schools, to blast the bugles, sound the trumpets and chuck out the cotton wool. It’s time, in fact, to set the children of this nation free.

Perhaps she didn’t mention bugles, but at the weekend, Amanda Spielman did mention the “dew on the grass” ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Suffering can be positive

It is understandable, of course, that we will seek to avoid suffering whenever possible. We look dimly on people who seek to impose suffering on others and regard wanting to inflict suffering on ourselves as a form of pathology. Clearly, suffering Is not something that tends to get seen in a positive light, and quite rightly so.

However, this is not to say that suffering cannot also bring positives in some ways. There are, of course, lessons that can be learned ...

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New Acas Guidance On Cyber Bullying

Acas has been busy with its new guidance recently and so have the Employment team’s vacation students. Here is a cautionary piece on cyber bullying in the workplace.

The unstoppable rise of social media and online networking has led perhaps inevitably to the emergence of a new type of workplace bullying – cyber bullying. If you are not familiar with the term, cyber bullying is defined by Acas as “any form of bullying, harassment or victimisation online.” Acas has ...

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Theresa May urged to appoint learning disability commissioner

The “shocking” case of a man with learning disabilities and terminal cancer has led to a call for the prime minister to appoint a commissioner for learning disabled people’s rights. Ian Shaw, 34, spent nine years in secure hospitals before being moved into community care last year. The cancer was found and his parents say the units should have spotted it.

Sir Stephen Bubb, author of two reports on secure units, has told Theresa May Ian’s case highlights ongoing failures. ...

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Calm under pressure? Run your business the mindful way

If recent events in politics have confirmed anything, it is that we live in unpredictable times where old assumptions no longer hold true.

Creative thinking is crucial for business success through a period of uncertainty. Upheaval presents a chance to embrace uncertainty and remain level-headed, focused and compassionate under pressure. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Research in contemplative neuroscience suggests that mindfulness – the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment – makes us more resilient, regulates our stress response, increases ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t run away from conflict

Over the years I have run very many training courses on conflict management and a common theme that has emerged right at the start has been a strong tendency for participants to bring with them the idea that conflict can be equated with hostility or even fighting (physically or otherwise). Of course, there is a significant potential link between conflict and these other issues, but it would be a big mistake to see them as one and the same. It ...

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How companies can shape workplace culture

What defines an organization’s culture?

It’s people.

Culture is shaped by the collective beliefs and behaviours of its work force. Culture is organic and lives and breathes each day. The aggregate of employees’ daily thoughts, feelings and actions creates the culture, which is tangible and can be measured.

Culture sets the standard for how employees and managers interact with each other and their customers. Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” can be observed ...
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Prisons taking role of care homes and hospices as older population soars

Prisons are now the largest providers of residential care for frail and elderly men in England and Wales and are increasingly turning into hospices, providing end-of-life care for older prisoners and even managing their deaths.

In the first report on older prisoners by the prisons and probation ombudsman, published on Tuesday, Nigel Newcomen reveals that the number of prisoners over 60 has tripled in 15 years. He also says there will be 14,000 prisoners aged over 50 by 2020, ...

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Hidden disabilities: Pain beneath the surface

Imagine having to inject yourself thousands of times over the course of your lifetime, but never talking about it to anyone. Many people live with hidden disabilities – conditions which don’t have physical signs but are painful, exhausting and isolating. Sympathy and understanding from others can often be in short supply.

Simon Magnus, Georgia Macqueen Black, Erika North and Natasha Lipman explain what it’s like to have a hidden disability, which some of your friends and family may silently be ...

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Technology convenience vs. Privacy concerns

Most people know by now social media isn’t free – it’s paid for with the collection of its users’ sometimes-sensitive information. Your GPS system keeps track of your movements, and your smart TV or webcam can watch you. Almost all the information these devices collect can be sold to companies or used by governments and law enforcement to keep tabs or gather evidence. At the same time, we use technology so frequently as a society because it allows us to do things ...

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Spotlight – SWU/Neil Thompson Collaboration

If you are a member of the Social Workers Union you are now eligible to join Neil’s online learning community (the Avenue Professional Development Programme) for half price. You can also sign up for e-courses at a one third off discount. To find out more about what amounts to Neil’s online tutorial group, visit www.apdp.org.uk. To find out how to get the special SWU member discounts, contact SWU directly.

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Learn from success as well as failure

It is widely recognised that there is much learning to be gained from reviewing our mistakes, looking at what went wrong and how and why it did. However, what is often given far less attention than it deserves is the immense learning to be gained from what goes right. If we are being successful in most of what we are doing, then we can learn a great deal from asking ourselves what it is that we are doing that is ...

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