Articles from Chris Thomson

Spelling out why mistakes matter: Should they be punished or welcomed?

When I was ten years old my teacher Mrs Castle made me write the word ‘beautiful’ two hundred times because I had spelt it - once only - as ‘beautifull’.

If a college took its own marketing seriously what would it look like?

“We’ll develop your potential!”....really? I had a go at googling ‘college’ and ‘potential’ recently but had to give up.

To achieve top quality it’s never enough simply to do the right things, you need mindful concentration

To be perfectly honest the only reason I turned on the tv for the men’s FA Cup Final was because I fancied watching it. And I was really glad I did because unlike a lot of cup finals it was a fantastic game. Manchester City thumped Watford six nil. It was enthralling to watch – unless you were a Watford supporter in which case you were probably left lamenting why, oh why, you hadn’t got respectably and quietly knocked out back in February or March.

How to complain properly and still raise morale

The English don’t know how to complain and it’s bad for business. Americans are much better at it.

How to retire happily from FE – and do everyone else a favour

So I’m crossing the road in Brighton yesterday and there’s Frank on the other side.

Don’t let plain English fool you: Making communication clear in the first place

If you really want to be understood, write so as to confuse. Sounds like nonsense, but believe me, there’s something in it.

Don’t just do something, think about it! The words we use make a real difference

Sometimes a single phrase is enough to tell you the quality of a college’s work is going to be very, very good. Examining the documentation provided to me on a recent visit I noticed repeated references to ‘learning, teaching and assessment’.

Be guided by what’s dependably, fundamentally certain: Einstein and the CEO

Am I alone? I confess any connection between Albert Einstein and the role of a CEO had totally escaped me. But then I heard the boss of a leading UK company say this in an interview on BBC News:

Working with your staff, not on them

Mrs Roberts had the measure of me from the start. 'Christopher is a bright button but somehow always towards the bottom of the tin.'

How not to spoil your lunch

We English don’t have a lot of time or space for philosophy. We like to get on with things, not sit around pondering the meaning of life. When someone wants to persuade us physical things don’t exist we’re right there with Dr Johnson striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone until he rebounds from it, spitting out the words through clenched teeth, ‘I refute it thus!'

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