An ancient relative of mine has always had an aura about them. Being slightly batty and a total reclusive, over the years the relative gained the reputation of being a difficult old moo who wouldn’t mix socially. This was such a pity because the aunt in question was simply to old to want to mix with the ‘younger set’. Her training for the outside world, beyond the very pretty gable ended house and immaculate lawned gardens was to be allowed to take the dog out for walkies and sit at dinner, listening to all the other old biddies around her all bemoaning their lives of luxury. She did have an indominable spirirt which we played up to and discovered her razor sharp memory had been carefully hoed to precision with early training courses. Reading every book on a subject and then more. Making sure she was placed with a very interesting traveller as a dinner guest. Its so easy these days if you desire more knowledge top ups – just go online and wow, the learning world will be at your fingertips.
I don’t know if anyone takes propert shorthand typing courses these days. I have seen some lovely jobs that still call for these skills – usually in a particularly hi end magazine recruitment pages. They are the sort that have embassies anonymously advertising for a fantastic Girl Friday or whatever they’re called these days. When I was growing up, this was my dream job – to be important and look after a boss. I hadn’t got as far as deciding what kind of boss – just one who could speak nicely and not too fast seems to be my limit. I could do a certain amount of the shorthand, but the classes at school had been interrupted by the teacher having to go on long term sick leave and she was never replaced. I excelled with the typing side of commercial studies though. Ahh the happy sound of a trainee typist whizzing along to the William Tell Overture . . . .
When I was down the gym recently I was so busy watching the youngster who was ‘in charge’, that I nearly fell off the treadmill! I was aware of this rapid tapping, it was her long nails rapping the keys on her phone whilst updating her social media pages. I was horrified at someone trying to ‘type’ with such talons. I do lots of typing at home – on a keyboard rather than a typewriter – let’s face it, some things from the good old days really do need leaving behind! I like to learn new skills and often browse online courses to see what’s new. I found one for folk wanting to become reporters on local media. This fascinated me – I used to do local reporting years ago and first requirement was rapid shorthand, swiftly followed by fast, accurate transcription of that shorthand. This e-learning course actually offered training . . . . now this is definitely in my line of fire for the new year!
This is the time of year when we become reflective – literally looking back over the past 12 months, sometimes longer, and deciding whether our achievements are adequate, or need beefing up. Some folk also look up their resolutions made last new year’s eve – mine were an interesting selection of travelling more, learning a new hobby, taking up a craft and maxing up my finances and investments. Well, I managed to get to the next stage with my learning to play the piano. Doing this with a tutor in person is more successful than online, but needs must . . . . I can play a decent little tune or too and my sight reading is improving. Check. The knitting has come to fruition too. I started again when poppies were needed for the Armistice events came round. That reignited my enthusiasm and I found some great e-learning pages. The financial online courses too have been extremely useful. Check!
I have a habit of stopping work for a nice lunch break every day – I know my train of thought is actually better if left undisturbed, but that leads to me only managing an extra hour or two of work and then I find my eyes lose it and I’m fast asleep in no time. So my mantra – take a proper break, do something completely different and relax. I love looking at documentaries on my laptop, tending to catch up with some of the best and most informative during rest periods. It’s amazing how much you can learn in just a short snatched half hour. This can be the same with chunks of e-learning and online education courses. If you want to study for a particular career move or to widen your job focused learning, online training courses are a fantastic way to achieve greater knowledge and qualifications. There are some amazing options out there today.
Some learning envirnoments can be great fun. Others are deathly boring. I can remember one or two subject at school that were exactly the same – maths, sadly was not a barrel of laughs for me. I struggled constantly. Whether it was the delivery, or the fact I couldn’t keep up, I don’t know, but I was constantly petrified of not being able to do the mental arithmetic. I could not manage those ‘problems’. I think if the teacher had taken me aside and explained one to one, how each element worked, I would have quickly grasped the rest of it. My daughter had a similar story – she hated maths. When she wanted to take the QT tests for teacher training she panicked. Until a neighbour showed her the fantastic government online tutoring to help candidates overcome these blocks. Once she’d done a handful of the tests, there was no stopping her.
There is absolutely no doubt that until this academic year, there had been a quite efinite difference in the educational examination attainment of boys to the girls coming out of most state provided schools. This is generally in the areas of reading and English language skills, humanities and even the sciences. This rather worrying scenario has in fact started to change – possibly with the additional effort being put in at the sharp end – in the way schools attract and deliver the message to boys throughout their upper school years. When you look at the broader schemes offered in the private, fee paying sector, there is no difference in pupil attainment. Today all students who stuggle at any stage can be helped with online education back up – schools have this facility and can make parts available to classes. The benefit of learning in a quiet environent without peer pressure is immeasurable.
Many moons ago when I was a nipper, I had the delight of taking typing lessons. I was lucky to be able to ‘do’ commercial and secretarial courses at school – but we didn’t have E-education or online learning to speed the learning along. We had two excellent shorthand and typing teachers and each had their own unique wat of getting us to touch type without cheating and looking at the keys and without resorting to the nasty typing erasers. Once we had shown some proficiency in the home keys: A,S,D,F,G,F. :,L,K,J.H.J , we were able to speed along to the lower line and then the top row. How I remember the fits of giggles when we really got up a head of steam and starting typing to music. Rossinni’s William Tell Overture. Many years alter I joined another typing class of sorts – but a distincly online version – European computer driving licence, with all the ms packages. Great fun.
Oh how I remember when offices didn’t have computers – let alone lap tops, palm pdas etc. etc. and the first mobile phone in the building was such a massive great thing – it was pretty hilarious to look at. When our managers did at last decide that enough was enough, we’d fallen behind quite quickly and thus it was high time we took the bull by the horns and got online – big time! So the very long winded business of building online operational systems with accounts, orders in, stock movements, delivery notes and invoices out etc. etc. All that took a couple of years to develop, with the help from the international community within the administrative group. There were no such things as e-learning, online education or VLE software. We were lucky to be given a mouse and mat with instructions to play Solitaire to get us used to pointing at the screen!
I have been watching many old documentaries on catch up tv on my ipad. This is a constant pleasure and all the more because I never know what’s going to pop up on screen at any one time. There is one series based around London, made between 1965 and 1991. Just odd sequences of black and white film showing all kinds of London areas. Covent Garden fruit market costa mongers, then it might jump to Borough Market or Petticoat Lane market. These social history documentaries are a truly inspiration lesson to all generations – take pictures, videos and keep records of how we live now. Learning how to read the history behind the lens is vital for all kinds of subjects. When you take up a software training package, knowing how to read properly what you see in front of you is not something we always appreciate at the time. Learning to learn is the key.