Personal Experiences and Opportunities
My personal experience of formal education at school was less than positive . . . →
I generally found lessons boring, examinations hard and I struggled to see the relevance of much of what I was being invited to learn. Nevertheless, I became a teacher myself, though I quickly found a niche focusing on personal, social and health issues and often working in creative ways with young people who had learning difficulties – because they were ‘switched off’ from formal learning, or because they had emotional difficulties or because English was a new language. When I returned to formal study a few years later, I found, to my surprise, that learning could be exhilarating. It was not until much later that I understood why this was so.
I joined the Family Planning Association (now known as the fpa) in London as a Training and Development Officer, and fairly quickly became responsible for all training courses for teachers and for people working in the learning disability field.
My own development and training came from two sources . . . →
I worked as an assistant alongside experienced trainers whose role was to model good practice and mentor me as I experienced groups in action and became familiar with the training materials; and alongside this the fpa ran regular training courses on a wide range of themes for its training team, including intensive workshops on sexuality, sexual health, group skills, assertiveness, and counselling. For me (and my colleagues too) these were powerful formative influences not only on my training work, but also on my personal life.
When HIV/AIDS became an issue I moved to Cambridge . . . →
in the mid-1980s, I moved to Cambridge to manage an AIDS Education Unit, which was part of the ground-breaking Cambridge AIDS Programme set up by Cambridge Health Authority. This confronted me with a whole new range of concerns and challenges, not only relating to HIV and AIDS, but also in terms of managing people and programmes.
I began to develop practical management training programmes
. . . →
I became increasingly interested in management theories that focused on people and the way they related to one another, in particular the work of Charles Handy 1 2. I began to develop practical management training programmes that combined the approaches I had learned at the fpa with people-management theories. For several years I developed this work with teachers and others at the Cambridge University Faculty of Education. My own experience of managing a sexual health team and the opportunity to work with managers in a training context on a range of difficult issues added to the development of my own particular philosophy and approach to training and teaching.