Children Should Be Heard

child-attentionThere is an old saying that children should be seen and notheard, but I would like to update that into just this; children should be heard. When you talk to someone you expect him or her in some way to indicate that they have indeed heard you, it’s the civilised thing to do. You probably would be upset if they looked as if they had not paid any attention to what you said. Many marital arguments have probably started in exactly this way.

We often do children a disservice of not listening to them, as I said in my last blog and even if we do listen not indicating that we’ve heard what they had to say. Children are, to say the least, very persistent and if they think they’ve not been heard they will simply go on repeating themselves until someone shows them that they have. For many parents this would be by the expedient of telling them to be quiet. But you can save yourself a lot of trouble by simply indicating that you have heard them the first time that they speak.

Listening is important but indicating that you have heard your child is equally so. It may suffice to simply say with enthusiasm “Thank you for telling me” or “Oh really?!”, “Oh Wow!” or something of a similar ilk. It may also be incumbent to also give an answer or if you can’t simply say for example “I understand but I can’t talk about it right now, we can discuss it later”.

You will find that the combination of listening and then showing that you’ve heard your child will very likely make your life and theirs much calmer. Children are particularly in tune with their parents and the one thing they want more than anything is usually their parent’s attention, undivided, at least some of the time. Being interested in your child and what they have to say is a very important part of their upbringing and social awareness. Finding shared activities can help – such as fun quizzes!

If you think about the fact that children are very small people who are constantly being told what to do and what to think by very large people. Look back to when you were a child in a land of giants. Giants who don’t listen and especially never show that they have actually heard anything you have to say must be especially frustrating.

It’s often said of some children that they are attention seeking and I am sure this is true but if you think about why they might be craving attention then you might reach the conclusion that perhaps they are not getting any. A very little bit can go a very long way to changing your child’s attitude to you and to others. You can teach children social skills and manners all you want, and you should do so because that is important for their future life, but do not neglect to listen to your child and let them know that you have heard them.

Guest Blog by David Evans Bailey

David Evans Bailey has an MA in Digital Media Art. He taught ICT and Photography at Secondary School level for several years as well as being involved in many theatrical and other endeavours. His background is an IT professional. You can see some of his artwork at

Tuning In To Poetry

quill-penMany young people tend to shy away from poetry and that is a terrible shame because they miss out on so many wonderful experiences and a pleasure that lasts for a lifetime.

There has never been an easier time for a parent to give their child the gift of loving poetry. There have never before been so many funny poems published with an appeal for children of all ages. There have never been so many ways that poetry can be accessed and enjoyed.

Let’s look at how you can give your child the key to this magical door! Continue reading

Atmosphere and Mood

scary-outsideThe director in theatre has control of atmosphere and mood, working with the actors to create a particular feeling in the audience at any given moment.

This is helped by lighting and sound, along with set design. For example, a dim light and scary music produces an eerie feeling even before the actors speak, and they intensify the mood in the delivery of lines.

As the writer, you have to do everything yourself. You need to show the atmosphere by the way you use words. And we should be able to recognise the mood of the dialogue without being told what it is. Continue reading

Listen To Your Child

listening-to-childThere are a number of things we can do to make our children’s lives happier, whether a parent or teacher small changes in how we behave can have a big effect.

One of the most important things is being able to listen. We all instinctively know this but perhaps neglect it when it’s our own kids. As a parent you will probably be hit by a barrage of communication all day and it is very tempting to just switch off. If you are busy or trying to concentrate on something then again you won’t be inclined to listen to what your child wants to say. Continue reading

Handwriting For Kids

good-handwritingIt may be unfashionable to talk about quality of handwriting, but if a child does not learn to write clearly and legibly, he will be at a disadvantage.

In this day and age where all children are well versed in the use of computer keyboards and other high tech means of producing a written page of work, it can be argued that they don’t need to be able to write well by hand.

It is true that essays and formal presentations would normally now be typed and word processing is an essential skill which must be learned. Continue reading

Answering The Question: GCSE English Language

examsI have covered aspects of the importance of answering the question earlier in my blogs. This time I would like to look at examination questions. In many ways this is the most vital time for your child because so many marks can be lost at this level.

Here is part of a question from a specimen OCR GCSE Examination Paper for English which may help to show what I mean. The candidates had to read eye-witness accounts of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. This excerpt relates to one of them. Continue reading


stage-focusStill concentrating on this series of approaching writing from the perspective of a theatre director, let us consider focus. What does it mean?

In theatre, focus is that point where, at any given moment, the audience has its attention. This is quite deliberate. The director decides exactly where he wants to direct attention. He can then use various methods to direct the audience to look at that point.

Dialogue naturally helps this process along, because the audience tends to look at whichever actor is speaking. But a director can change this by having actors look towards the area of focus – an actor who is silent or a doorway. A sudden sound, or lighting can be used for the same purpose. Continue reading

Best Computer For Your Child

computer-laptopThough we are on the brink of the summer holidays, a new year of school will soon be upon us. Your child may well be starting school or even moving up perhaps from primary to the seniors. You may also be thinking of what computer to get your child next. There is no doubt that having access to computer equipment is important to your child’s education and also their ability to survive and compete in the modern world.

Firstly you should ascertain what the intended school’s policy is on personal equipment. Some schools will allow or even encourage laptops and tablets, others may provide them and others may not allow students to bring their equipment to school. Continue reading

A Holiday Musical Challenge

music-sumer-transcriptSumer is a cumen in – famous words from a mid 13th century manuscript.

Famous for being the earliest known example of music written to be sung in parts (or counterpoint), this lively tune, once learnt, never forgotten, has popped up in the most unlikely places in recent years. It was sung as part of the opening ceremony of the 1972 Olympics and even appeared in the children’s programme Bagpuss (1974). It has featured in pop songs and symphonies and is perhaps our best known, medieval piece of music.

You can listen to an excellent performance by the Hilliard ensemble on YouTube. You will hear the first part start singing and when they have finished the first bar (there is a cross over the bar line), the second part commences. They continue singing in a round (as in Frère Jacques or London’s Burning). Meanwhile another part sings the 5th line over and over and another part sings the 6th line over and over. Continue reading

Read The Question (Part Two)

understanding-questionsThis is my second blog on the importance of reading the question correctly. I have already covered some ways which can help: reading the question three times; underlining the important words and recognising which questions are likely to be open to misinterpretation.

Today I want to look at reading the question in Comprehension tasks. There are several types of questions in Comprehension. However, the most important step is reading and UNDERSTANDING the question, no matter what type it is. Some questions are straightforward:

‘What time did the train arrive?’ : ‘Who won the race?’ Continue reading