You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

1st birthday cake

You know what it is like when you forget somebody’s birthday? Well imagine that embarrassment tripled when you forget your own!
Yes that’s right The Learning Journey was one year old back on 2nd February 2008 with the first post landing at 3:13pm the same day in 2007.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been talking about stuff and nonsense for a whole year, which is probably one of the reasons it escaped our notice.
Roll on number 2.



Use by date
I was just about to tuck into some fish and chips whilst on holiday recently when I noticed the “use by” date printed on top of the lid.
Amazingly it read January 10th 8029.
Now I’m not sure if this is some kind of bizarre misprint or if rather freakishly vinegar really does have a life expectancy of 6021 years?? I guess as a product it does indeed pickle itself so that must help in some way!
It got me thinking anyway, which is always a good thing.
When we make a product how often do we consider its shelf-life before pushing it out onto an unsuspecting world?
Do we really consider the impact of selling a product that is only designed a last a couple of years?
What if a product could last too long (like the vinegar), and customers never need to buy from you again?

 Today we have another guest post from “The Teach” Guy Jones.  In previous postings we’ve talked about dressing for success and also dressing for the right place at the right time to help separate work like from home life.  What happens if the same principles are applied to schools?

Power dressing
Many people argue the importance of dressing in an appropriate way at work.  In business, the way people dress can set a strong first impression and, in many ways, reflect the way in which people work. In much the same way, many continue to debate the relative merits of school uniform.

The DSCF strongly encourages schools to have a uniform to instill pride and support positive behavour. They argue that it helps to build an identity with, and support for, the school ethos. I would second this view. Wearing a uniform protects children from social pressures to dress in a particular way. It helps nurture cohesion and promotes good relations between different groups of pupils. Above all, many schools believe that school uniform supports effective teaching and learning.

So why do so many not want to wear it then? It has to be said that most school uniform is outdated and unfashionable. In what setting, for example, do woman ever where ties outside of an education environment? Many schools have recently found that adopting a more fashionable business -like dress code has had a dramatic effect on both school morale and general behavour. Perhaps this can be put down to current fashions, or that powerful, successful business people may be becoming role models. For whatever reason, pupils feel valued and inspired. 

Anything that can be seen to motivate and raise the aspirations of young people in this way must be worthwhile.

Today Binsey sends us a message from the other side and gives us a few tips on how to deal better with your first week in a new role.Some things I have learnt in the last week:  

  • Commuting – listening to Classic FM is a great way of clearing your mind on the way to or from work. If you have a tendency to go into auto-pilot; choose to do so when you are behind a car that is potentially going to the same place you are. Shell trucks are deceiving; they give the impression of going the same way as you (i.e. big truck, narrow road); but they tend to make deliveries at Shell stations if they happen to be passing them. It can be very disorientating to suddenly find yourself in a petrol forecourt.
  • Appearance part 1 – by all means aim to look good and check the dress code for your first day. Wear a coffee coloured outfit just in case the lids in your new organisation don’t fit properly. This makes you much less self conscious when attending a trade review attended by 40 directors and heads of, wearing the majority of a skinny latte.
  • Appearance part 2 – personal grooming is also recommended if you want to look your best. However, beware of battery operated eyebrow shapers; especially of you decide to experiment without using a mirror. They are great for trimming excess hair, but if not carefully controlled can leave you with a chav-like bald stripe.
  • Communication – a really good idea is to carefully check your external email addresses carefully before you send any “hi babe, missing you” type emails to your beloved. I cannot stress too strongly – if you get a response saying the email has probably come through to the wrong person as they don’t know you – CHECK THE EMAIL ADDRESS AGAIN. Do not, under any circumstance reply, calling your beloved “a numpty”. There is a very high probability that you are actually writing to someone with the same name in your new organisation… and they are actually the Head of Design.

Snowdon 1

Well we’re back from Mount Snowdon and we are all still alive. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we didn’t make it to the top, not that getting to the top was our original intention anyway.  Excuses, excuses…

Snowdon 2

The lesson learnt is that sometimes your day job gets in the way of your personal goals. In our case this was no bad thing as our day job involved making a film about leadership and we succeeded in that area, probably even better than we could have hoped for as we had such great weather for this time of year, making photographing a beautiful landscape all the more simple. Sadly climbing to the top of our personal mountain will have to wait for another time.

Needless to say the point at which we all realised we needed to turn back was a gutting moment, to the extent of us probably not fully understanding the reasons why but like any good team we respected the opinion of our leader Clay Lowe and got the hell out of dodge before the weather turned too bad.

Upon reaching base the reality of our journey hit home – our walk started at 9am and ended at 5:15 pm, the turning point was half the way up Snowdon and if we had continued there would have been no way of us making it back before dark. This is a journey that Clay has made before in the record time of 1 hour 20 mins one way.

That darned film making thing just got in the way and took too much time. Lucky then that we love it so much.


The big learn from the day is that we should all trust our leaders, no matter how despondent we get when we can’t reach our goals. A good leader will still get you home no matter what. The mountain can be conquered tomorrow after all.

A big thanks to Clay Lowe and his Ascent leadership course.

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