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Small talk is sometimes smart talk

It’s fairly well recognised that some of us have more of a knack than others when it comes to constructive nattering.  But now even graduates can have proper lessons in small talk, to help them in their careers.   The University of Liverpool has been offering graduate bootcamp courses which focus clearly on softer skills such as how to have an informal conversation.

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The key is to move in very small steps…

The Observer today (4 September 2011) asks How do we make our schools fit to face the 21st century? This is a massive question, then broken down into sub-set questions; and once again we learn the expert view is that the answer is, ‘incrementally’.    How, asks Yvonne Roberts, can more schools to be imaginative, and teachers ‘liberated’.   What’s the key to this sort of change?

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Are generic skills a 'threat' to professional status?

Do professional training courses avoid teaching generic skills overtly (insofar as these can be taught) because these skills blur the edges between different, perhaps competing, fields of expertise?

Is there is a sense of identity within almost every profession which is about claiming the centre ground and most prominence / influence for the specialist skills of that particular group of practitioners? … about power and control when all is said and done?

And does this almost inevitably result in fuzzy, generic skills being put aside or simply going unnoticed by those who prescribe what is to be studied for admittance to their profession?

Is education the same as learning?

QuestionsEducation is usually obtained quite formally; learning may not be. But does that make them different in any meaningful way?

Are there things we should learn, but not be educated about? Who should ‘teach’ us, and how?

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