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

Language & gender

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‘The trouble with girls’. Or how to avoid sexism by thinking about the true meaning of common expressions, with help from Sheryl Sandberg, Kate Rusby and Dire Straits, but no help from Elton John, Eagles, The Faces or Sir Tim Hunt!

Date posted: Sunday 14th June 2015

Now you may have observed if you walk into a wall
You get a certain sensation of reality
The Incredible String Band: The Puppet Song

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Bob Marley: No woman no cry?

So far in my life, I’ve only been slapped round the face once by a woman. It was in 1975, I was 17 and we were at a party at a friend’s house. It wasn’t an extravagant bash with loads of loud music and dancing and people like me huddled in the kitchen discussing the meaning of Incredible String Band lyrics, or whether Bowie should have kept All the Young Dudes for himself rather than giving the song to Mott The Hoople. It was a small affair with a few people sitting on the floor in a circle smoking and talking about the Incredible String Band, Bowie and Mott The Hoople. (more…)

Men behaving properly in traditionally ‘female’ occupations. With help from Tom Robinson, The Clash and Bruce Springsteen!

Date posted: Monday 18th May 2015


Bruce Springsteen: The Man in Charge?

In spring 1978, 100,000 people marched six miles from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Park in Hackney, to protest against the rising tide of racism in the UK. The march, and the legendary concert afterwards, was organised by Rock Against Racism and the Anti Nazi League. The concert featured The Clash, Buzzcocks, Steel Pulse, X-Ray Spex, The Ruts, Sham 69, Generation X and the Tom Robinson Band. Reggae band Misty In Roots led the march from the back of a lorry during the carnival, though didn’t appear on the main stage. One of the main catalysts for the RAR movement was none other than dear old Eric Clapton, who at a gig in Birmingham had harangued his audience with racist language and told his stunned fans that, in his opinion, immigrants were not welcome in the UK. Many bands were horrified at Clapton’s attitude, and jumped at the chance to give their support to the cause of anti-racism. (more…)

Standing stock still next to the drummer? Helping girls and boys play together as equals, with help from Suzi Quatro, Talking Heads and Norah Jones!

Date posted: Friday 15th November 2013

incredibel string band

The Incredible String Band: wearing incredible string vests?

When I was 15 there was nothing I’d like more than to head down to the local Wimpy café with my friends. (Well that’s not exactly true: there was nothing better to do.) As a rock obsessive, I was always able to turn any lull in the conversation to my advantage, and play my favourite game: 10 Reasons Why You Think Such and Such a Band are Brilliant. The most difficult band to think of re: 10 reasons for brilliance were The Incredible String Band. I would always get stuck at five, until one day someone waved around the cover of The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter and I was off. Just take a look at Rose Simpson and Liquorice McKechnie and it’s as clear as day: those girls had style. You only have to glance at their cheesecloth smocks, home-knitted Shetland pullovers, Afghan coats and maxi skirts to see why the ISB’s music went up 10 notches when the girls joined the band. At the time I was saving all my spare cash to invest in an Afghan coat, to go with the woolly jumper my granny was busy knitting me for Christmas. (more…)

“Help me with my mind!” Or keeping the differences between boys and girls in perspective, with help from Ozzie Osbourne and Black Sabbath

Date posted: Thursday 30th May 2013

“Finished with my woman,
‘Cos she couldn’t help me with my mind.
(Refrain) Can you help me occupy my brain? (Whoa whoa, du du du)”
From Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Sabbath circa 1970

Sabbath circa 1970

I don’t mind admitting that when I was 14 I was big fan of Ozzie Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler, aka Black Sabbath. Their image, music and lyrics seemed to have been designed to appeal to the spotty adolescent male. Very little seems to have changed since they first emerged from the UK’s industrial heartland in the early 1970s. Recent concert footage shows that they still appeal to 14 year old boys, as well as the ‘inner 14 year old’ of men in their fifties. I moved on from Sabbath when Ozzie ate a live bat on stage, (legend has it that someone threw an unconscious bat on stage. Ozzie thought it was rubber so bit its head off). After that I took to listening to more ‘progressive’ bands like Yes and King Crimson. Though I’m clear that Sabbath and their ilk were a passing phase for me, I’m still very confused about gender. I’m not talking about my lingering fondness for the music of Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane phases, but about what to think about boys and girls learning. (more…)