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Cultures of Thinking Conference 2019 (& radio podcast interview)

This week I presented at The 7th Annual Cultures of Thinking Conference facilitating a 90-minute workshop. Each workshop was capped at 30 people and I was thrilled to have a full room of teachers and educators from various schools in my presence. I held an interactive workshop to allow the room of educators to feel what it is like on the receiving end as well as to show how teachable these topics are. We brainstormed together the themes of ‘Success and Failure’ and ‘Tone of Voice’ – two topics from my latest book THE KEY, A SOcial Emotional Toolkit for Teens.

The group was up and moving around the room writing and sharing their thoughts on how they define success, naming something they felt they had succeeded in, how they define failure and naming something they felt they failed at. This produced great discussion. Teenagers are always setting themselves up for failure rather than success. How many times have we heard a teen walk in to (or out of) an exam and say “I’m going to fail?” But what does failure to them actually mean? Below 90%? Below 50%? Who are they comparing themselves to and why? What role do teachers, friends and parents play? How does this affect their self esteem? Their levels of fear or anxiety? What can we as educators do about fear, anxiety, breathing, calming down, self esteem, comparisons, judgements, jealousy? It raises so many questions.

In my opinion we can do something about ALL of these things. We can educate our teens in these topics by giving them real, practical and tangible coping strategies to handle their emotions and feelings. In my latest book THE KEY, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens there are tips, tools and strategies for all of these things and together we went through a few.

The second half of the workshop was focused on our tone of voice. Recognising the tone of voice we use when we talk to other people – seeing our role in escalating or calming situations and the impact our tone has. Role playing was both fun (and possibly daunting for those involved) in seeing the different scenarios get played out across the room. Our tone of voice also impacts the way WE feel. Our tone, our body language and our choice of words (positive or negative) together effect the way we feel in our day to day and effect the way we feel about ourselves. Recognising that often these are choices we make and we can choose differently greatly helps our ability to help ourselves. I showed a video from THE KEY course on Tone of Voice – to show the practical application.

Each tricky topic from the book has a video to explain – what is it, how do we feel/sense it, what can we do for ourselves in real life and when do we need outside help.

The feedback from the group was positive and I hope that everyone enjoyed my workshop as much as I enjoyed teaching it.

The next day I was approached by Lisa Entwisle from Wellthy Living Radio Show Podcast for an interview on my work.

Here is the interview:

The 7th Annual Cultures of Thinking Conference.

I will be presenting at the Cultures of Thinking conference on Monday 19th August in Melbourne. At 1.50pm I will run a 90-minute workshop from my latest book THE KEY, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens to teachers and educators from all around Australia and the world. I have chosen two main topics from my book and in this workshop I plan to break down the theme of ‘success and failure’ and ‘tone of voice’ (with ourselves and with others). My aim is two-fold, to have the group experience learning, brainstorming, collaborating and sharing their thoughts, fears and ideas on these topics as well as have them realise that the topics are easily teachable to teenagers in their own class settings.

Go to my blog to see how it went.

Asia Pacific Writers Conference, Bangkok

The Asia Pacific Writers Conference ‘Reaching the World’ 2013 in  Bangkok was one of the first big writers conferences I have been to.

The CEO Jane Camens invited me to be on a panel as an ’emerging writer’ sitting next to published authors talking about writing ‘the truth’ in non-fiction which is something I am very passionate about. Needless to say I was super excited and slightly terrified when I arrived at this fancy building full of people (who were not in swimsuits and spinning hula hoops on the beach like I am used to).

So this was my lovely panel of female authors and we discussed ‘But it really happened’ to a room full of people. I think I even managed to sound intelligent and not swear. Go me!

Intelligent I might have sounded but my next big problem was the fancy and formal event at the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel. What am I going to wear? I had borrowed a dress but needed some heels. Here is me trying some on in those enormous Bangkok shopping malls … block heels of course so I can still walk.

Next point of call were manicures and pedicures! Here is poet Elizabeth from Laos and I getting our nails done.

Now they are perfectly pretty to eat delicate chocolate.

Incredible local and traditional entertainment.

But the child that I am, I preferred to hang out with these elephants instead (who promote reading to children… and wierdo older Australian women….)

And then on the last night “a mesmerising evening of readings…”  Yep there is even a pic of me in the flyer … and then here I am actually doing my reading.

All in all an incredible event. Who knew it was to be the the first of many? I think Jane secretly did. Thanks Jane.

Oh but wait, there is more. The conference may be over but the workshops have just begun. Here was my favourite workshop with Fransesca Riddle-Short and our amazing group of women writers.

AND… then I went to Cambodia. Well I was in Bangkok already and Phnom Penh is oh so close I just had to go and visit my favourite people…. in the next blog.

6th International Conference on Drugs & Young People. Australia

“Given it’s currently National Youth Week, we are pleased to have the United Nations recognise this conference as supporting their International Year of Youth activities,” said CEO Australian Drug Foundation, John Rogerson.

I am very proud to be invited to speak at the ‘6th International Conference on Drugs & Young People: Making Connections’ being held in the Melbourne Convention Centre, May 2-4th 2011.

It is exciting and slightly terrifying to be speaking on such a grand stage to an enormous auditorium of people. I will speak on my experience of drug and alcohol and mental health working in Melbourne and my experience of drug and alcohol, mental health and the creative arts where I work in Phnom Penh Cambodia and am still currently based.

6DYP Day 1 teaser.