Archive for May 10, 2011

Can there be Council Officer Prodigies?

May 10, 2011

When I grow up, I want to work for the CouncilDespite the protestations of the rest of my household, occasionally I am able to catch the odd frame or two of snooker. The recent World Championship was as interestingas the cricket world cup – brilliant for me, but also the cause of much gnashing of teeth and fights over the remote control. For those of you who didn’t follow it, newcomer Judd Trump narrowly lost in the final to multiple champion John Higgins, meaning there is a new kid on the block.

Pundits and commentators have been gushing with praise over Trump, expressing their belief that he might be one of the most naturally gifted players since Ronnie O’Sullivan turned up, and that players like them are freaks of nature with a natural ability that means they would always have turned up at the final table of tournaments, even if they had only discovered the game a few months ago.

An alternative theory however has also emerged, which describes how these snooker players and other similar world class players only got that way down to years and decades of hard work. I won’t go into the theory myself (you can read it for yourself at the BBC website) but it got me thinking about the way we introduce newcomers to the world of local government, and inspire them to be the best that they can be.

Admittedly the money involved in elite sport makes the work worthwhile, but the theory is that should a child find a sport interesting then they should be nurtured and encouraged to practice at every available opportunity, meaning they will pick up the muscle memory and spatial awareness to enable them to express themselves to a good level consistently. They will then be able to refine the bits they aren’t so good at and rise above the competition.

We don’t seem to see this with local government officers. Children in nursery schools don’t have a Council Corner, where they pretend to hold meetings and take turns being the chair, or Officer Hour where they take turns to read stories about issuing fixed pnealty notices. If they are naughty they get their name taken on the Clipboard of Shame, and if they are good the get a Beacon Sticker. (more…)

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