Civil Rights. Thinking.
'I can do other stuff too'
As well as the TESOL related writing Tessa has done over some forty or so years, she has also written general interest pieces.
General interest includes work on civil rights, writing about thinking, self-awareness, creativity, and the environment.
Up to now on this web site I've used the third person singular pronoun, she, to explain my work. But now that we're getting to more personal writing, I'm switching to the first-person pronoun!
Women's Report was a bi-monthly (six times a year) printed feminist news magazine that existed from 1972-1979. It was produced and published by an unpaid collective of women. News of interest to women was classified as e.g. Home, Legal, Work, Education, Mind and Body. The mag included short book reviews, information on groups and events and usually a feature article too. It was set up to relay information, news and events not covered well in the national press. Circulation was international. It cost 30p a copy. There is more information at:
I was in the collective for a few years. Through it I learned how to scan the national press, classify news, do research, discuss, draft, edit, layout and cut and paste manually, collate, post etc. I still have a close friend from that collective. Most of what appeared in the magazine was genuinely co-operative but I did write one feature article on my own. You can read it here.
The Fair List, UK
The Fair List, UK is an annual award that celebrates excellence of gender balance in plenary and keynote speakers, and on speaker panels at English Language Teaching (ELT) events, in the UK. I set it up in 2013 because I believe that better gender balance at UK ELT events ensures wider coverage of relevant topics and a more balanced perspective on the issues affecting both women and men in their professional lives.
‘The Fair List, UK was nominated for the British Council ELTONS ‘local innovation’ award in 2014
I did an interview about gender fairness, mentioning The Fair List, UK for Ross Thorburn’s training institute. You can listen to it here.
I wrote much of what is on the web site at thefairlist.org with help and support from professional friends. I also posted a piece that I had previously published on the many and varied common reactions of ordinary people to a new idea. It’s called ‘Carrot ice-cream’ and you can read a pre-print of it here.
'Carrot ice creams
Learning how to be a racial equality ally
After the killing by white police officers of black people in the USA (e.g. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor) and in the UK (e.g. Joy Gardner, Sean Rigg), the Black Lives Matter movement, started in 2013, gained in size and strength worldwide. In the UK, the Women’s Equality Party (www.womensequality.org.uk) formed a Racial Equality Caucus Group. Since, as a white woman, I couldn’t join the caucus, I elected to join the Caucus Allies group. This group has a zoom meeting once a month, led by a woman from the caucus and with presentations and discussion on being a racial equality ally.
An extremely useful resource here is the ‘Guide On How To Be A Race Equality Ally’ written by Claudia Crawley and Korina Holmes.
I have always thought of myself as being fairly open-minded, and have throughout my working life worked with people from overseas and for black or international organisations. But I know that I need to continue my education by reading, listening to, watching and reflecting on, anti white-racism resources so that I can become a better ally to those who experience discrimination from and by white people.
People say that, by explaining what you have learned to others, you can better understand and remember the learning. The explaining to others may also be useful to them too if they are interested in the topic. So, I have been writing short pieces on my learning for the newsletter of a local Soroptimists International group.
If you would like to read a sample of these bitesize texts, please click here.
Many years ago, I also wrote these pieces:
A glimpse of Thailand in Feminist forum 3/6 June 1981 pp 2-3
Sexism and racism in TEFL Feminist forum Dec 1980
Sexism and racism in TEFL in Women’s Report 6/2 Feb/March 1978 pp 2-3
As well as writing ‘Thinking in the EFL class’ published by Helbling, I wrote and self-published an A5 book called:
Headstrong: A book of thinking frames for mental exercise (2006) TW pubs.
The book is for anyone who enjoys having a bit of a ponder and getting mentally fit by trying out different thinking frameworks.
I was asked by the British Council to put my thinking and writing skills towards a series of six articles on Self Awareness for the British Council Continuing Professional Development for Teacher Educators Framework. It was a challenge as I had never written on the topic before and certainly wouldn’t rate myself highly on the skill! But I thoroughly enjoyed the process of thinking about and then producing the articles on self-awareness, openness, conscientiousness, interactivity, empathy and resilience. The articles are available here.
As well as writing books and articles about creativity, here is a webinar, using some of that written content as a basis, on the subject of ‘Enjoying personal and professional creativity’. In this IATEFL webinar, I encouraged participants to consider what creativity involves, if it’s a good thing, and whether we are born creative or can learn to be more so. If we can learn to be even more creative than we already are, then what classic techniques can we employ and what can we apply them to?
As a volunteer for and member of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE, Kent branch), now known as The Countryside Charity, I wrote a piece on volunteering which you can read here
Many many years ago, when I was regularly doing yoga, I wrote these:
Learning yoga in India in Yoga Today 8/4 August 1983 pp 31-33
The Bhagavad Gita on death in Yoga Today 3/4 Aug 1978 pp 46-7