This is one of the most useful things that I ever learned. Particularly useful if you are the Learning Technologies Co-ordinator charged with the responsibility of implementing learning technologies and staff development.
We can therefore also assume that you are overworked, under resourced and totally bewildered by the increasing expectations facing you.
Think of a problem as a monkey sitting on a shoulder. When someone approaches you with a monkey on the shoulder, his or her main objective is to get the monkey to jump onto your shoulder. Your main objective is to keep the monkey sitting where it is.
For people of a kind and generous disposition this can be difficult and may need some practice.
For example, a staff member approaches you and says "Hey, wouldn't it be great if all the staff and students had email accounts and every class was on an email list. Then we could all communicate much more effectively."
Statements which allow the monkey to jump:
(Learn NOT to say these)
"That's a great idea, I'll cost it out and lobby for the funds and see what I can do."
"I'll need a bit of time to think through the implications of that and write a report to the committee."
Statements which keep the monkey where it is:
(Practise these until they become automatic)
"I'm sorry that isn't one of our priorities for this year. Come back in 2000"
"We don't have the resources to move into that area at the moment perhaps you would like to write a special submission to the Finance Committee for it."
"The school development plan does not see that as important so I'm not given time to deal with it"
"That's an interesting proposal, perhaps you'd like to consider it more carefully and submit it in writing to the School Development Committee."
Whatever you do, keep the monkey off your shoulder!