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.

Facebook: Connect with Neil Thompson on Facebook

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Choose wisely

A common theme in the psychology literature is the distinction between introverts and extroverts. The former tend to prefer their own company and see social interaction as a necessary evil, rather than something to be enjoyed. The latter, by contrast, are likely to seek out and cherish social contact and may not feel comfortable when alone. These ideas have been very influential, despite the fact that they (the popularised versions at least): (i) take no account of the social circumstances (the role of culture, for example) that can be so influential in shaping behaviour and social interactions; and (ii) also tend to polarize people (that is, put them at one extreme or the other, without recognizing that people can be located along a continuum from one extreme to the other (and will move along that line in different circumstances or at different times).

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Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

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Parents around the world mobilise behind youth climate strikes

Parents and grandparents around the world are mobilising in support of the youth strikes for climate movement that has swept the globe. Under the banner Parents for the Future, 34 groups from 16 countries on four continents have issued an open letter. It demands urgent action to fight climate change and prevent temperatures rising by more than 1.5C, beyond which scientists say droughts, floods and heatwaves will get significantly worse.

“What our kids are telling us is what science has been telling us for many years – there is no time left,” the letter says. “We now owe it to them to act.”

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

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Can work be both productive and good?

Two big questions currently dominate policy thinking on the world of work. The first asks how we can make our organisations more productive, and the second asks how we can improve the quality of working lives. Of course, a huge complicating factor, is how the answers to these questions will be affected by the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. Most commentators seem to agree with the Chief Economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, that the productivity problem is caused by a long tail (55% of companies) not copying new ideas from the those leading the way; whatthe RSA’s Matthew Taylor described as a “poor diffusion of innovation”.

Meanwhile the quality of work agenda seeks to address, amongst other things, the impact of the one-sided flexibility associated with business models often based upon the gig economy and zero-hours contracts. The broad quality of work agenda promotes values such as worker voice, work-life balance and job security.

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

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Seth Godin’s blog – Busy is not the point

There’s a common safe place: Being busy.

We’re supposed to give you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to the other, never pausing to catch your breath, and now you’re exhausted.

No points for busy.

Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.

No points for busy.

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

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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.

Twitter: Follow Neil Thompson on Twitter

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Find the small things that make a big difference

If you cast your mind back to science lessons at school, you will probably remember learning about leverage. That is, you will have learned that a pivot or fulcrum can enable us greater lifting power – it gives us leverage. This can also apply in a more indirect, metaphorical sense. This is what I mean by the small things that can make a big difference.

Smiling is a simple, but important example. Trite though it may seem, interacting with people with a smile on our face can make a huge difference to how we are perceived and how people respond to us (although it has to be a genuine smile and not a forced one). Another case in point would be using someone’s name when talking to them. This can make a very positive difference when it comes to forming a rapport and winning trust, although it has to be done sensitively – unlike the salesman who once added my name to every sentence. I was tempted to ask him which training course he had been on that had advised him to use people’s name to try and ‘seal the deal’. Of course, it did the precise opposite; it wrecked any possible deal.

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Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

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Seth Godin’s blog – “You made my day”

When your day gets made, how long does it last? A made day–is that different from a normal day?

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a made hour or, if we’re going to be quite truthful, a made minute.

When something bad happens, we can revisit the humiliation and anxiety for months. But the good stuff, if we don’t work at it, can pass right by.

We get what we remember, and we remember what we focus on.

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

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Neurodiversity in the workplace

Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. It highlights that people naturally think about things differently. We have different interests and motivations, and are naturally better at some things and poorer at others.

Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects.

However it is estimated that around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently. Neurodivergence includes Attention Deficit Disorders, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

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

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Biscuit fund: The volunteers patching up Britain’s welfare state

A few weeks ago, I decided to have a clear-out. There were several years’ worth of clutter best assigned to the rubbish, but among the old birthday cards and assorted keyrings, one box stood out: it was full of letters and cards from readers.

I started writing about social issues for the Guardian in 2012, around the time austerity measures began to be put in place. The following seven years have seen the emergence of a level of poverty few of us would have previously imagined possible in modern-day Britain, from hungry school children scavenging in bins for food to the growing homeless population sleeping in tents. But somewhere, not too far below the surface, I have also seen it produce a wave of generosity and hope.

This is exemplified by the reaction to my recent column about the Biscuit Fund, a volunteer-run “gifting service” for people going through hard times (named after a rumour that a Tory minister spent £10,000 a year on biscuits).

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

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World Social Work Day – A free e-book and video from Neil Thompson

In recognition of World Social Work Day this week, Neil is publishing an e-book entitled What Use is Theory: Just Get on with the Job. It can be downloaded free of charge from here He has also added a video on professionalism in social work to his YouTube channel

Feel free to share these links with colleagues and friends.

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

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t hide

There will often be times when it is wise to take a backseat, to keep your head down and not get involved. Some situations are best avoided, as the hassle of getting involved far outweighs any potential benefits. But, there will also be times where we are tempted to bow out, to slip quietly away and leave it to other people to sort things out when perhaps that is not the wisest strategy.

For example, there will be times when someone is being treated unfairly or in a way that undermines their dignity (bullying clearly comes into this category). We may be tempted to stand back and pretend we haven’t noticed. However, much of such bullying (and other forms of unacceptable behaviour) flourishes precisely because people do not challenge it.

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A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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This could have been done so much better

A doctor in California told a patient he was going to die, using a robot with a video-link screen. Ernest Quintana, 78, was at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fremont when a doctor – appearing on the robot’s screen – informed him that he would die within a few days.

A family friend wrote on social media that it was “not the way to show value and compassion to a patient”. The hospital says it “regrets falling short” of the family’s expectations. Mr Quintana died the next day.

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

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Be the change the children need

Every day more and more children are coming into care, who need a loving and safe home to call their own. Unfortunately, Local Authorities tell us they are struggling to find people who can offer their children this opportunity.

We’re trying to help bring about change with our new innovative approach, but we need your help.

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

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Introduce ‘ bereavement first aiders’ in workplace, employers urged

Bereavement “first aiders” should be trained by employers to help people in the workplace who are struggling with grief, a charity has said.

Research by Sue Ryder, which provides palliative, neurological and bereavement assistance, suggests the majority of UK adults are not getting any formal support after the loss of a loved one.

The charity is calling for an “open, honest national conversation” about grief and has urged the Government to look into the availability of bereavement services.

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Effective Teamwork: The importance of working together

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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.

Emotional Competence Learn to develop your emotional intelligence and resilience

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Aim for thriving, not surviving

Strange though it may sound, good enough sometimes isn’t good enough. Very often people are so busy that they will settle for getting things done to just about an acceptable standard and then start to focus on the next task, rather than get the first thing as far beyond ‘just good enough’ as possible. What we end up with then is mediocrity at best.

There is a technical term for this: satisficing. This is a made-up word, derived from combining satisfactory with sacrificing. It refers to the tendency for people to settle for what is satisfactory and thereby sacrifice producing the best results possible. Freud captured this idea when he said that the good is the enemy of the best, by which he meant that we can so easily fail to fulfil our potential by not looking beyond what is good enough.

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

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