Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A great night out canvassing with a big team of helpers, from here in Norwich and also our neighbouring parliamentary seats. Lots of Bowthorpe covered – darting all over the place and addressing a huge number of issues! I collected another group of interesting ways to open a door – one lady gripping onto a dog larger than she was and another lady covered head to foot in paint. Opening line of the night goes to one teacher in Three Score: “If you’re Labour then I’m going to hit you.” I was quite safe! Great feeling – I think the slogan “let down by Labour” really goes to the heart of how people are feeling at the moment.

School today was really interesting (if not, as always, tiring). I designed (are you waiting for this?) my very first exam timetable – and (even better) it actually worked out! Hurrah! Nearly five hours later and it is a work of art. If it weren’t highly top secret (pupils don’t get to know until Monday) I would post it here for you all to admire. Am so proud.

This afternoon I met a representative from one of the Norfolk Pupil Referral Units to talk about methods of behaviour management and policy across education. We had a really good talk about consistency across schools and across departments within schools. Most interestingly he cited research from his PRU about the use of positive praise, body language and tone to help potentially tricky situations. I know it can be hard to deal with “flashpoints”, but he suggested something like the following. Say Little Johnny won’t sit with all chair legs on the floor. Ask him to do it, and before he gets a chance to reply, say “thanks” and walk away. The fact that he will comply becomes implicit in your tone and the fact you walked away. Instead of standing over him ready for the row, you show confidence that he will do as he is told. Makes you think if nothing else.

I went from that over to the UEA to meet the Conservative society there and have a few drinks in the bar and think back to the good old days when I went there … ain’t what it used to be!

I have a meeting at another local pub tomorrow (no pattern forming there then, surely no major political figure would be drawn by such activities…) and then Campaign Management in the Evening so much more fun to come!

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