A picture is worth…

a thousand words or in this case many cliches.  See image below by John Atkinson, Wrong Hands1.wordpress.com.  He has some great illustrations which perfectly explain things vividly in one image – have a look.  You can visit and use his work, he asks for a donation on usage.  I showed this to my training group when we were talking about language and literacy – in particular cultural and topical references.

problematic idiomatic attic pic


Christmas cheer…

Christmas beer ≠ Christmas cheer?

I carried out a long-standing tradition and left out beers for “the garbos” (rubbish collectors) for Christmas with a card thanking them and wishing them a Merry Christmas.  Done at the last collection prior to Christmas, that was what my mum did and what we do (and my son loves to get up early and see if they collect them as he worries they may think it is garbage or a passer-by may snaffle them).

Along with cards and chocolates for the postie and more beers plus cards for any tradies doing work in the final pre-Christmas period this has been a nice tradition for decades.

Someone (OK it was my mother-in-law) told me that providing early morning alcohol with good wishes to a bunch of (usually) burly blokes is irresponsible and could be seen to legitimitise drinking on the job and, if enough people provided it, make for dangerous and possibly violent outcomes by the end of the shift, possibly even leading to family violence too. Sheesh.

I know that at workplaces the Kris Kringle/Secret Santa has been rightly given firm guidelines to ensure it doesn’t turn into a nasty, offensive or innuendo-laden event causing discomfort to some staff, for which in previous times it has occasionally been misused.  With Christmas card exchange we suggest our son pick out cards with words about love, kindness, sharing and celebration and avoid the heavily Christian ones for his Muslim friends (and for other non-Christian friends).  The recipients have always been glad to receive them and have told me they treat this as a family time and are quite unoffended by any part of the season.

I wonder, if you were a garbage-collector and could not have beer for religious, medical or just plain taste reasons and perhaps did not celebrate Christmas at all, would you be offended by a card and beers or would you see it as a gesture of friendship and thanks albeit using a perhaps outmoded and offensive stereotype of “garbos” as burly mates who love a bevy?

At work (I have a few workplaces) I sometimes receive wine, chocolate and flowers at Christmas-time from clients and students and this does not violate the usual “no gift” rule as it is a one-off, under $20 in value and not done in expectation of any “return” other than Christmas wishes.

I don’t like to refrain from giving certain gifts because of possible offense.

However I also don’t want to contribute to someone being hurt by word or deed because an unexpected free drink gave them a sense of endorsement to go ahead and drink and be violent.  I don’t want to offend non-Christians, people who don’t or can’t drink or perpetuate stereotypes that could shut women out of a job-role or people of varying backgrounds.

Nor do I want to be a Grinch.

Is it time for me to think of a new gift and tweak an old tradition so that it lives on in the 21st century in the spirit it was intended?


Karen Squire-Ryan



Has come to the fore again – in the world of VET. and with new standards coming in.

Posting an article – on the definition of Validation – relating to some Validation work done with an RTO but applicable to any situation where validation of competency-based assessment material is required.

Validation Article .

Trainers, teachers, educator friends – sharing something about “special needs”

Haven’t put this down on paper before – a little scary – here goes – So you’ve never had a learner with special needs

Assessors’ Code of Practice

Adding this from Rel 3.4 of TAE10 (it has been appearing in Training Packages for the last 10+ years).Code of practice for assessors_from TAE10 rel 3.4

adding my own LLN form

UPDATE 010814 Very excited to say that since last month I have been exchanging thoughts and comments with other people interested about this – LLN, ACSF and the issue of being able to find ACSF level 4 and 5 tools (difficult – as most set to ACSF levels 1-3).  Speaking with others on a LinkedIn group (AITD) has resulted in “my” tool being modified and improved and then submitted for validation.  Result to come this week and it will be a genuinely collaborative, quality result. It is great to be able to share and collaborate in this way.  The issues of 1. tools at higher ACSF levels (particularly if training TAELLN411 or TAELLN401A and needing participants to demonstrate their competence with using ASCF tools) and 2. the search for “validated tools’ are tricky ones (I speak as a TAE trainer, not an LLN Specialist, needing to train and assess the LLN unit as stand-alone and part of TAE40110). I am attaching the second version (improved by Ann Brady) of the generic tool and soon will be able to post the validated and improved third version following validation.  I attach it in pdf because this one has already been modified so there is no point modifying V2 when V3 is coming already. Generic LLN Assessment Adapted Jul 2014 Love to get your feedback – via here or LinkedIn.  People in Melb attending the FACE event if you would care to read this and comment on the night that would be great. Thanks! Karen RTO FACE Meeting 14/8/14 Collingwood Vic   JULY 2014 Adding a form I made myself when my students (and I) were finding it hard to locate an ACSF tool at level 4 let alone 5.  Has not been validated as yet. If you have found any or created any that you are happy to share (either for use or just for an example for trainer-use only) please let me know! Generic LLN Assessment