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Education Learning Log


Cor. What about this Spykee meccano thing! I just saw it on the gadget show and  I want one!


I read an article in the Sunday Herald yesterday about next week’s Glasgow Science Festival where Ken McLeod will give a talk where he will explore the influence sci-fi has had on actual scientists.

I have to admit to being a closet sci-fi fan. Mostly this came from my Dad. When I was young, you could only get a certain amount of books out of the library on one ticket and I generally devoured them long before my Dad went back to the library with me. Aged about 8 or 9 I cottoned onto the fact that he got thicker books with smaller writing than I could get from the children’s section, so I started reading his books too, and then realised I liked them better than Enid Blyton and the other wonders in the children’s library. Anyway he loved his sci-fi, so by default so did I. We read the whole library content fairly quickly and started at the beginning again by mistake, so then we started circling the numbers on page 77 in every book in pencil, then we knew if we had read a book when we were choosing new ones.

This sci-fi love affair, then moved onto movies and collecting sci-fi things (most of which are in boxes in my attic) . I know, I know….

So back to the point. I was, despite this eating of sci-fi books, sadly pretty lacking in any ability in maths or science at school . So didn’t become an inventor of neat sciencey things and gadgets. But what I do think it gave me was a love of looking for more than we can see here and now and a burning desire for things to be better.

Ken McLeod’s blog fittingly is called “The early days of a better nation” and I discovered to my delight he called it, in part, after a quote from Alasdair Gray.

“Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.”—Alasdair Gray.

And I liked the links on his blog to this –

 And this is fab too



April 7, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense | , , | Leave a comment

Persona Dolls

As always Cathkin Community Nursery in the Rutherglen/Cambuslang Area are doing just great. This is an article in Early Years Matters about how they use persona dolls


April 7, 2008 Posted by | Creativity, leadership, learning | , | Leave a comment

New girl

I’m still feeling a bit like the new girl in class and I’m gradually getting used to my new post. At times my overenthusiasm is more than likely overbearing for those around me! To keep me out of mischief in the evening I’m rereading one of my favourite books, Deming’s “Out of the crisis”. Well…. favourite books in a work sense, not something I’d read in a oner, or for fun, with a glass of wine to relax, whilst listening to one of my favourite, young person’s, pop combos!

Anyway, he was a clever man, I think. This book still has important lessons for us in education today. Especially in this quality role its important to grasp many of his ideas.

One thing at the forefront of my mind as I visit establishments is one of his notions that  –  whilst much can be measured, many important things that must be managed are immeasurable. Nothing could be more true…

A rereading of his 14 points is well worth a visit. This was first published over 20 years ago.

  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, an thus constantly decrease cost.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  11. a. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
    b. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  12. a. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
    b. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s work.

So Deming’s a favourite of mine! As well as reading and learning from those around me I’m just doing the best I can as I learn the ropes, and hoping for the best!


” I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”Abraham Lincoln



April 7, 2008 Posted by | leadership, quality | | Leave a comment