Language & autism (4)
Language & gender (4)
Selective mutism (3)
Developing children's communication (8)
Children's emotions (5)
Children and introversion (2)
High sensitivity (2)
Language & maths (3)
Improving adult communication (3)
Children and ICT (2)
Children & sleep (2)
Improving storytime & assembly (2)
Building vocabulary (3)

Bad Breath!
Understanding mood swings
The silent phase of EAL
Overcoming stage fright
Food poverty/language poverty
Children and trains
Speech sounds
Nelson Mandela tribute
Combating low self-esteem
Children and colour
Men and childcare
Non-verbal communication
Language and autism
'Small talk'
Children's behaviour
Music and feelings
Spelling problems
Describing children accurately
Sharing books with children
Singing and language

Improving adult communication

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‘Obviously’, ‘of course’ and ‘it’s quite simple really’. Or how to help children understand what you are saying, with help from Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, and a host of trainspotters, birdwatchers and naturists!

Date posted: Friday 11th April 2014


I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that I have no objection to folk singers, birdwatchers or naturists. Although they all feature in this post, my aim is to explore how we can help people understand what we mean, without purposely or inadvertently confusing them or putting them down. So here goes… (more…)

‘Ask me, ask me, ask me!!’ Filling a gap in my life: or how you are never too old to develop your communication skills, with help from The Smiths and Morrissey

Date posted: Friday 25th October 2013

The Smiths

Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life you’d like to.
If there’s something you’d like to try,
Ask me: I won’t say no, how could I?

The Smiths Ask

In the mid-1980s I was working in probably the coolest part of London: Islington. I also had a brilliant job, running a pre-school language unit in a very vibrant community centre. Unfortunately I didn’t have a very cool income to match my fun and exciting job, and we had two very young children. Still, it was great to be working in such a happening place. These were dark times though. The Miners’ Strike was in full swing, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were making us very nervous, and US nuclear missiles were sited at Greenham Common. Nelson Mandela was still in prison, and there was trouble in Chile, Nicaragua and El Salvador. ‘Red Ken’ Livingston and the GLC were a constant thorn in Maggie’s side, but provided many Londoners with a focus for agitation and opposition. (more…)

Register time: or the importance of developing children’s Standard English

Date posted: Saturday 30th March 2013

M&SI’m at that awkward stage in a man’s life when he has to buy a new pair of trousers. I was in a well-known shop in Belfast, and was being encouraged by the assistant supervising the changing room to ‘experiment with trying a few different styles, as “many pairs of trousers have quite a bit of what we call ‘give’ ” (i.e. an elasticated waist.) I thought the assistant explained that very well, and though she had a Belfast accent, I understood everything she said. She was very pleasant and dealt with my dilemma very tactfully. I could see from her name tag that she was called Ann. (more…)