Michael Heath's blog

Teaching Grammar to Suck Eggs

Boiled Egg

I love all the battles people have over English grammar. The latest spat I have been following concerns the humble apostrophe. Let’s be honest: it’s the one punctuation mark that has caused more fretting and anxiety in English Language lessons than any other.

Are You Making The Right Enemies?

It’s no secret that so many of us like people to like us. It has a nice affirming glow in our minds that our ideas, personality and approach in life are all – outwardly - successful. We like to be agreed with, it so often makes us feel part of the wider group; we might even receive compliments about how our thinking is so obviously in step with those around us.

Are You Sure You Want to Follow Your Dream?

Perhaps I’m following the wrong people on Twitter. When I look at the line of tweets each day there will always be one about what I need to do to realise my dreams. You know the sort of thing. Try this one, for example, by Joel Osteen: “Do all you can to make your dreams come true.”

But some dreams can be dangerous. To paraphrase Lord Michael of Jagger: “You can't always get what you want, but you just might get what you need.”

Three Easy Flip Chart Tips Using A Magic Pencil


A pencil and flip chart are an unlikely – but powerful – combination and I want to share three great tips which involve this unlikely pairing. Each tip is based on the fact that a pre-pencilled flip chart sheet looks – to your audience – like a normal blank sheet of paper. It’s only when you consciously look for the pencil markings that you notice it’s been ‘doctored’.

7 Things Incredibly Successful and Attractive People Do Before Breakfast

Arrogant Person

It’s one of the most devilishly silly scenes in cinema.

In Bedazzled, Peter Cook plays Satan who, whilst holding a conversation with Dudley Moore in a bookshop, casually rips out the last page of every Agatha Christie novel on the shelf.

Imagine that. Ploughing through an entire ‘whodunit’ only to find – because some playful fiend got there before you – that you are still as much in the dark about the wicked murderer as you were when you started reading it!

Kicking a Habit Might Just be the Start of Your Problems

Stubbing out a cigarette

Why can’t some people give up smoking? Surely they must be weak minded? After all, you only have to think about the health issues, not to mention the enormous expense of keeping a 20-a-day habit going.

10 Tips For being A Great Boss – From 2003!

How’s your French?

Try this: ‘Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.’

If your French, like mine, is confined to clumsy exchanges with bemused waiters in Parisian restaurants, then you’ll appreciate a translation, ‘The more things change, the more they remain the same.’

The saying is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr and it was the quote I recalled as I happened upon the results of the Parents At Work / Lloyds TSB ‘Britain’s Best Boss 2003’ survey.

The Remarkable Thing about This Very Unremarkable Man

On Wednesday, 4th April 1883, an unremarkable 59 year old man, overwhelmed by a Measles Virus, died in Adderley Road, Birmingham. At his bedside was his eldest son who had walked over from nearby Alum Rock Road, and stayed with him as his Father’s life ebbed away.

The dead man (pictured right), born in 1823, lived his early life in the Leicestershire village of Croft. From the age of 15, he’d worked as an agricultural labourer. His employer could, without any notice, lower his wages or turn him out of his home if he became too sick to work.

The Real Time Management Secret

Brain Clock

It’s the one course we trainers never want to be late for: Time Management. It skewers your credibility from the outset if you are! But, over the years, I’ve sometimes had my doubts about the whole notion of ‘time management’.

Let me explain why. Ask delegates to list the behaviours that beset the poor time manager and they’ll usually come up with an inventory of ‘what-not-to-do’ that would grace any time management textbook. Again, ask the same group to list the positive time management behaviours and they know all the answers.

Why This Sentence Might Make Me Want to Kill You

Matt Lucas

OK, I own up. It irritates me every time I read it. Of course I understand the point the clever little sentence I’m about to tell you is trying to express, but it has the same effect as:

a) People in their cars who indicate to turn right AFTER they’ve stopped to turn right

b) People who say ‘pacific’ when the word they mean is ‘specific’

c) Middle-aged men who whistle tunelessly

What’s the sentence? It’s: ‘There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback’.


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