Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Superb New Training Technology Guide


Created by Community Literacy of Ontario but with a tonne of stuff in it for careers and employment people: Guide to Effective Technologies for Providing Online Staff Development and Training.

Announced by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna of AlphaPlus on a LinkedIn group today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tutorial: Processing News Feeds


I have just completed the initial version of a tutorial about reading news feeds on wikiversity. Comments and improvements very welcome.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Meaning of Life?

Does it get any bigger than this?

Baumeister and Vohs published 'The pursuit of meaningfulness in life' way back in 2002 but maybe the existence of this paper has been kept secret. If not then why haven't we all been made aware of it? According to Psyblog four factors are involved:

Purpose - this could be living happily ever after, going to heaven or even (whisper it) found at work. Whatever it is, meaning in life comes from reaching goals and feeling fulfilled. Even though fulfilment is hard to achieve because the state fades, people need purpose.

Values - people need a moral structure to work out what is right and what is wrong. There are plenty to choose from: some come from religion, others from philosophy and still others from your friends and family.

Efficacy - people want to make a difference and have some control over their environment. Without that, the meaning of life is reduced.

Self-worth - we all want to feel we're good and worthwhile people. We can do this individually or by hitching ourselves to a worthy cause. Either way we need to be able to view ourselves in a positive light.

I am in no position to provide empirical verification of this framework; however, I must say that it has appeal. And it would appear to have application to careers work.

Not everyone finds their life's purpose at work. This being the case, then how can a client find a career that will accommodate purpose in another area of life? In many cases, how can work be made to align with purpose, if at all possible?

What are the client's values and will they align with any given career or job? What can we do to help a client ellucidate their own value systems? One traditional way is presented elsewhere in these notes but there are probably more up-to-date approaches that circumvent a person's attempts to fool themselves.

Sometimes we sense that a client may have general feelings of inadequacy. Is there something we can do to help? What kinds of work seem to lead to the greatest feelings of adequacy in a client? Is there a danger that the careers worker could stray outside of their area of competence in dealing with this problem? What community resources are available?

Does the client have a healthy sense of self-worth? How much does this really have to do with their occupation? Will the change in self-worth that arises from having a career plan prove to be illusory? What can or should a careers worker do in the face of poor self-worth on the part of a client?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Basic Principles for Career Developers

Stuart Sorensen is a psychiatric nurse of long standing who writes a blog for people in related occupations. Today he announced his intention of writing a new series of postings about ' fundamental principles of mental health and social care': Privileged glimpses of the bleedin’ obvious (in health and social care). I've copied his tentative list of topic titles here because it looks so good.

Shall I highlight the ones I particularly like or confess the ones I consistently forget?

There is no ‘us and them’
People are just people
People do the best they can with what they’ve got
Coping skills develop slowly
Don’t expect your service user to perform perfectly. You don’t so why should they?
Don’t blame people with disorders for behaving like people with disorders
What people say may not be what people mean
Do as I do – model behaviours we want to encourage in others
Lapse and relapse – two different things
Sympathy is not usually helpful
Empathy can be over used
There is no failure but there are learning opportunities
Risk-free is impossible. Manageable risk is the way to go
Don’t flap
The saviour fantasy
You’re probably not an emergency service – don’t try to behave like one
Hanged if you do & hanged if you don’t – a duty of care myth
The word ‘support’ is meaningless in and of itself
Seek first to understand
Nobody cares what we think so don’t moralise – give them evidence instead
Don’t recreate the ‘invalidating environment’
Everything we do teaches people about us and about the world
Challenging behaviour means….
Learned behaviour
Many behaviours ‘self extinguish’ if we let them
Everyone manipulates – even you
Beat past trauma with new, positive memories
Losing your temper doesn’t help
Selective abstraction
Confirmation bias
The clinician’s illusion
If you do the same things you get the same results
In every interaction think – ‘what do I want to achieve by this?’
Talk ‘one at a time’
Proximity anxiety
Cognitive overload
“It’s just behavioural” – a workers’ excuse for lazy thinking about service users’ needs.
‘Attention-seeking’ is really ‘interaction need’
It’s not about us
Who put us in charge?
Don’t get on the pedestal – you’ll never be able to keep it clean
Occam’s razor
Hanlon’s razor
Any plan, however ill-conceived, is better than no plan at all
In the real world there are no excuses
Keep our promises
Confidentiality

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guys Are Better at Mathematics



The principal guy in the video is Claude Steele, one of the pioneers in the study of stereotype threat. We are easily influenced (all of us) by subtle appeals to our group memberships.

If I were a woman I wouldn't be any good at mathematics.



Here's a recent paper that discusses the relationship between Stereotype Threat and Female Communication Styles. Note the beneficial effects of self-affirmation which is often associated with cognitive behavioural therapy.