Monday, 18 October 2010

This Is Where I Stay

I recently wrote about the Glasgow Photo Challenge, an activity I use with 16 to 17 year-old learners on government-funded programmes and thought I'd share with you another activity I like to use called This Is Where I Stay.

This is a simple exercise that gets learners to think about the place they call home and perhaps think about how it could be improved. As well as a handy little activity to develop writing skills it also gets learners to take a closer look at their community - the good and the bad.

I choose not to put a word limit on this exercise but instead ask the learners to think about how they would answer the following questions:
  • What's There?
  • What Do You Like About It?
  • What Do You Not Like About It?
  • Is There Somewhere Else You'd Rather Live and Why?
One of the interesting discoveries with this exercise is that although many of them identify numerous faults with their local community they would rather live there than anywhere else.

It's a simple activity that can be completed in a morning and makes a great display for the training room walls. Why not give it a try?

You can learn more about Gary Bedingfield Training Services by visiting our website at

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Glasgow Photo Challenge

Here is an activity I use with 16 to 17 year-old learners on government-funded programmes that helps boost their communication and teamwork skills as well as their confidence and motivation.

The Glasgow Photo Challenge consists of small teams (up to four per team is ideal), in a race against the clock to take 20 photographs in and around Glasgow city centre.

Here’s the list of photos I ask them to get:
  1. What is on top of the statue outside the Gallery of Modern Art? Take a photo of the statue.
  2. Take a photo of yourself with a shopkeeper.
  3. Dance or sing along with a busker. Take a photo.
  4. Help unload a van. Take a photo.
  5. Take a photo of the biggest TV you can find.
  6. Take a photo of the sign for Platform 12 at Glasgow Central Station.
  7. Take a photo of the Rogano Restaurant.
  8. Take a photo of a book by Jeffrey Archer.
  9. Take a photo of the cheapest toy in Hamley’s.
  10. Take a photo of the most expensive toy in Hamley’s.
  11. What’s on at the GFT today? Take a photo.
  12. Take a photo outside the Blythswood Square Hotel.
  13. Find the most expensive mobile phone. Take a photo.
  14. Ask someone for directions. Take a photo.
  15. Take a photo of DiMaggio’s.
  16. Take a photo of St. Enoch’s Centre from inside a lift.
  17. Take a photo of someone serving food.
  18. Take a photo of the glass ceiling from inside Princes Square.
  19. Take a photo of today’s U.S. Dollar exchange rate.
  20. How much is a Big Mac? Photograph the price.
As you can see some are straightforward photos of landmarks while others require their participation and initiative.

Armed with the cameras on their mobile phones, I usually allow an hour-and-a-half to take as many of the 20 photos as they can. Once the teams return it’s time to see which is the winner. If each team managed to get all 20 photos then you’d decide a winner by looking at the finer details (such as which team photographed the biggest TV, the cheapest toy at Hamley’s, etc).

So long as the weather is reasonable the young learners really enjoy this activity and return with some wild and whacky stories about how they managed to get some of the photos!

Why not give it a try with learners in your town or city? And let me know how you get on.

Find out about the training courses offered by Gary Bedingfield Training Services at

Friday, 1 October 2010

Online basics: An Introductory Course to the Internet

Here’s a useful online resource for helping learners who are new to the Internet. Online basics at is a free package of short courses that help with the first steps online. The five introductory courses cover:
  • Starting with a keyboard
  • Starting with a mouse
  • Using email
  • Using the Internet safely
  • Using online searches
Online basics also gives free access to a further 25 courses. The courses can take learners on a journey from absolute beginner to confident IT user, or they can dip in and out according to what subjects they’re interested in and how much experience they have. The courses are free to use, there are no exams and no set timetables.

Registering for a free Online basics account is simple - visit

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at