Pinker calls it ‘verbiage’

Some words and phrases that slip into our writing really deserve a visit from the delete key. I found myself frequently falling into the trap of being in love with certain words or phrases but later realising they really did not add anything to my piece of writing.

Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style

Over the summer break I found time to read Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker’s ‘The Sense of Style.

Redefine 'Normal' and get change

This Christmas I have been haunted by one statistic – 1 in 3 New Zealand women are victims of physical or emotional abuse. The figure troubled me because, as I looked at my own family of girls this figure stacked up.

I have only dared to speak to closely trusted friends and family about what happened to me. So for 40 years it has been locked up inside me….my shameful secret…the one I didn’t dare tell anyone because I blamed myself for what happened. I should have known better.

Writing History

The writer’s journey can take many forms and so as a final blog for the year I want to talk about mine. It was, is, without doubt….long and arduous.

Last night our te reo (Maori Language) class had its end of year function. This is Bruce’s and my first year with Haare Williams and before that we had been going to night class for about five years so you might say we are fluent but we are not ….still learning but always gaining insights and confidence….slowly. Haare is a broadcaster, poet and wonderful artist.

Mental Toughness

Bruce is preparing a team of apprentices to compete at the World Skills competitions in Sao Paulo next year. There will be 75 countries competing and New Zealand (NZ) usually does well for its size. However, one thing consistently lets the NZ competitors down and that is their lack of preparedness for toughing it out when things get rough as they invariably do in such competitive situations.

The Magic Moment

I love that moment when something clicks and students start helping each other, giving them prompts as to possible answers to writing problems.

Last week I experienced exactly that moment when I had a group of three students gathered around the computer and they started working on one of the student’s assignments using the style Guide™.

Learning styles, writing styles and reading preferences

Do learning styles define our writing styles?  This is a very interesting question to consider especially if we want to write in a way that appeals to as wide an audience as possible.

The seven learning styles are:

Smoke and Mirrors (Part Two)

Neil Gaiman press conference in Paris (II)

By Azadeh Nafissi

Publishing his stuff:

He pretty much publishes everything except some early stuff that hasn’t been published because they were not good enough. He relies on his editor’s opinion about his stories and believes that they save writers from publishing bad stories, although they can make mistakes sometimes. He recalls how one of his stories was rejected by two editors then some years later the same story won an award.

Small publishing companies vs. big publishing companies:

Smoke and Mirrors (Part Two)

Neil Gaiman press conference in Paris (I)

By Azadeh Nafissi

The press conference was held in English/French and covered various topics. I asked two questions at the end and enjoyed listening to the rest of the session.

His favorite form of writing:

Technology supporting learning

 Recently, I attended an EdTech meeting. For those who don’t live in NZ that is short for Education Technology. Earlier this year I attended a seminar as part of a series that aimed to bring together the disparate groups of professionals for whom part of their business was supplying educational products such as text books, games and information. EdTech NZ aimed to set up a Roadmap for developing educational product and services for the changing environment.


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