The Learning from Practice Manual

Are you involved in student supervision or other ways of helping people learn? If so, Neil Thompson’s The Learning from Practice Manual is for you. Neil has been involved in supporting practice learning for over four decades. This hands-on manual of practice guidance encapsulates his experience and expertise in a way that readers will find very helpful.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Time and Workload Management: An essential guide to managing a heavy workload

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Negotiate expectations

When two or more people come into contact with one another there is already a set of expectations, social rules about how to relate to other people. These are part of culture. In addition, there are sets of expectations that apply to specific situations – consider, for example, the rules that govern buying something in a shop, ordering a drink in a café or a bar, and so on. Breaking these rules (jumping the queue, for example) can cause a lot of bad feeling and displeasure.

But there is more to it than this. When you form a relationship of any kind with someone, a set of expectations specific to that relationship will quickly develop. Having these expectations is generally a positive thing; it enables our interactions to run smoothly, with a minimum of tension. However, such expectations are not always positive. For example, in an abusive relationship, the expectations or unwritten rules will generally suit the abuser, but at the expense of the person being abused.

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The Professional Social Worker: An essential text for all social workers

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Person-centred future planning

Thinking about the future is an important aspect of person-centred planning, which should aim to build on the person’s strengths and skills, and help them consider what they want most in life as they get older.

This quick guide will help practitioners to support older people with learning disabilities when they are planning for the future.

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Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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Tackling age discrimination in the workplace

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has launched new guidance on age discrimination and employer obligations.

Treating someone unfairly because of their age is against the law (apart from in very limited circumstances). Age is one of nine features known as protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, but in many cases, employers unintentionally discriminate because they are unfamiliar with the law.

Whether intended or not, age discrimination can often lead to poor decision-making when recruiting, demotivate existing staff, lead to reduced job performance, and lessen trust between colleagues. Also, assumptions and uninformed decisions about job applicants or employees could lead to discrimination claims.

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The Avenue Learning Centre Learning resources from Neil Thompson and colleagues

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The choir with no name

The Choir with No Name runs choirs for homeless and marginalised people. We’re a diverse bunch of folks; all genders, all colours, all ages – everyone is welcome.

We sing pop, rock, soul, gospel, reggae, musicals… you name it, we’ll give it a go… although we’ve yet to try any thrash metal or grime. We have four choirs: in Birmingham, Liverpool, our recently merged London ‘superchoir’ (run in partnership with Look Ahead) and Brighton (run in partnership with Brighton Housing Trust). We have plans to launch a new choir in Brighton later in the year. Each choir gets together to rehearse every week (with a decent dinner at the end of rehearsal!) and we perform regularly.

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Twitter: Follow Neil Thompson on Twitter

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The Avenue Professional Development Programme

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.

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It’s all about people: visit Neil Thompson’s humansolutions website

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t rush!

This is for a variety of reasons. First, rushing means that we are much more likely to make mistakes – and, at times, those mistakes can have major consequences. Consider, for example, when you have made a mistake or you have been on the receiving end of someone else’s mistake. How often did the mistake arise because the person concerned was rushing, not paying sufficient attention to what they were doing?

Second, one of the key factors in stress is control. People can generally cope with a high level of pressure, provided that they have sufficient control over the demands being made on them, while even a relatively modest amount of pressure can produce a stress reaction if control is lacking. Rushing takes away our sense of control; when we are rushing, we tend to feel that we are losing our grip, that control is slipping away from us.

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A Career in Social Work: Part biography, part overview of social work careers

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The city with no homeless on its streets

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has multiplied since 2010. But in Finland’s capital Helsinki rough sleeping has been almost eradicated thanks to a groundbreaking scheme. What can cities in the UK learn from the Finns? Emerging from Helsinki’s grandiose central railway station on a bitterly cold evening, it does not take long before you notice something unusual.

There are no rough sleepers and no-one is begging. The contrast with the UK’s major towns and cities – where rough sleepers curled up in sleeping bags, blankets or tents are a common sight – is striking.

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The Authentic Leader A new approach to leadership in Neil’s important book.

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Lateral violence: 18 steps to overcome a toxic workplace

I’m hiding in the restroom. It is peaceful here. I’m by myself. My shift just started and I know my patients need me – I’m supposed to be there to protect them. But, who’s protecting me from the attack I feel by my coworkers and how did it come to this?

That scene was my real-life. I once worked in a toxic environment and was plagued with feelings of confusion and anxiety. I failed to see the warning signs and thought everyone I worked with felt just as genuine about caring for strangers as I did. I was wrong. Not everyone feels the way I do. Nursing school didn’t prepare me for the sabotage, bullying, and workplace harassment I faced early in my career. Is this what a veteran nurse meant by “nurses eat their young?”

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Stress Matters: The second edition of this important text

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National Autistic Society – Advice about work

Here you’ll find advice for autistic people on looking for a job, as well as information for autistic people in work. If you’re a job seeker, read about disclosing your autism diagnosis and get a handbook covering preparing for work and looking for jobs.

If you’re at work, read tips for interacting and coping at work, advice on dealing with bullying in the workplace and what the law says about your rights at work.

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LinkedIn: Connect online & join Neil Thompson’s HUMANSOLUTIONS discussion group

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The Avenue Professional Development Programme

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 watch the video

A practical guide to supervision of students & other forms of workplace learning

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Choose wisely

‘I couldn’t help it’, ‘I had no choice’ and ‘It wasn’t my fault’ are commonly heard comments, but how often are they actually true? How often are we unaware of the choices we have been making or are actually trying to disguise the fact that what we did was based on a choice (or set of choices) we made?

Of course, there will often be situations where we don’t have a choice, where things are beyond our control. For example, if we spill water on our lap, we can’t choose whether or not to get wet (although we could choose to try not to get wet by putting a plastic sheet or equivalent across our lap – if we wanted to). But, in general terms we are making choices all the time, even though we may not realise it much of that time. This is partly because so many of our choices are ‘habitualised’ – that is, we have made the same choice so many times that we now more or less do it on automatic pilot, as it were.

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If you’re a social worker come join us in the Social Work Focus Facebook group!

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Austerity is denying patients and care service users a voice

For years, the mantra in public services has been that patient participation and user involvement are key, and that service providers should listen to what their customers want. Here lies the route towards empowerment and cost-effectiveness. A whole literature and new ways of working have developed, and requirements for such involvement are enshrined in law.

Over the past 40 years, this movement for participation has led to some profoundly important innovations in policy, practice and research.

User involvement in professional education was pioneered in social work, where service user and carer involvement is required at all stages. Students, service users, carers and educators all strongly support such involvement and see it as a key way of improving the culture of practice.

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Homeless World Cup Foundation

Homelessness can force people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate, and work with others.

When a person who is homeless gets involved in football, they build relationships; they become teammates who learn to trust and share. They have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time, and to be prepared to participate. They feel that they are part of something larger than themselves.

The sense of empowerment that comes from participating in street football helps people who are homeless see that they can change their lives; and our National Partner organisations give them the tools they need to do just that.

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Learn with Neil Thompson: Sign up to Neil’s YouTube channel

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How resilience underpins employee wellbeing

Having high levels of emotional intelligence has been linked with improved wellbeing and resilience. With this in mind, L&D teams have an important role to play in developing collective resilience among employees through times of high pressure and disruption.Greater individuality, along with reduced community and social responsibility, mean that the basic human emotional needs required for individual wellbeing are no longer being met.

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Emotional Competence Learn to develop your emotional intelligence and resilience

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Grief in the workplace: How to handle death, loss and trauma

When Jessie Williams was 30, she went on maternity leave and gave birth to her first baby. But things didn’t go as planned.

“My baby died during labour,” Jessie says. “It was an unexpected event and it happened two weeks after he was due.”

Instead of having months off to spend with her young son, Jessie found herself returning to work four weeks later. The way her workplace supported her when she came back to work changed her life. Now she helps other workplaces do the same for their employees.

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Not a textbook, a hands-on manual of practice guidance. An essential resource!

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Discount on Neil Thompson’s books extended

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

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 checkout.

Applied Sociology www.routledge.com/9781138629707

Social Work Theory and Methods www.routledge.com/9781138629783

Mental Health and Well-being www.routledge.com/9780815394396

Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Confront issues without being confrontational

I didn’t like to say’ is a comment commonly heard when it emerges that somebody has faced a difficult situation, but preferred not to address it. For example, imagine Person A is stereotyping Person B, but Person B feels uncomfortable about challenging this and therefore chooses to say nothing and accept the negative consequences of being stereotyped. The idea of assertiveness is that an assertive person is someone who tries to achieve win-win outcomes – that is, tries to make sure that each party benefits from the interaction. However, the ‘I didn’t like to say’ approach is actually likely, in many cases at least, to lead to a lose-lose outcome.

Consider this possibility. Person A treats Person B in a stereotypical way (making overgeneralised assumptions on the basis of gender, for example). Person B chooses not to challenge this, preferring the more comfortable option of just letting it go. Person B therefore loses out. Person A remains oblivious to the harm their stereotypical thinking has done – unless, that is, Person C comes along at some point and makes reference to the stereotyping that has been going on. Person A may then feel very contrite and regretful about the unintended harm done, and also therefore lose out. Hence the idea of lose-lose outcomes. Consequently, adopting the ‘I didn’t like to say’ option can mean everyone involved loses out, clearly not a good result.

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How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

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