Transparency report (January-April 2017)

(Photo: CC BY-SA, flickr/freepress via Flickr)

At the start of the year, I decided to start preparing transparency reports. While I don’t make any money from the blog, I like the idea of sharing information about the blog that might be of interest to other bloggers.

  • Total views (Jan-Apr 2017) – 61,233 (Average of 510 views/day)
  • Total visitors (Jan-Apr 2017) – 41,117
  • Total likes (Jan-Apr 2017) – 33
  • Total comments (Jan-Apr 2017) – 39
  • Total shares (Jan-Apr 2017) – 374
  • Total WordPress followers (end of Apr 2017) – 370
  • Total email followers – 294
  • Total Twitter followers – 489
  • Total Blog Facebook page followers – 250

My top ten posts for the first four months of the year were:

  1. What is the Strengths Perspective? (10,492 views)
  2. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)? (4996 views)
  3. What is community capacity building? (3396 views)
  4. What are social models of health? (3150 views)
  5. Types of community engagement (3026 views)
  6. What is the Spectrum of Public Participation? (2889 views)
  7. Making parents feel welcome in schools (2757 views)
  8. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement (1558 views)
  9. Ethics and community engagement (1535 views)
  10. 10 ways to reduce your consumption (1493 views)

April was a very busy month for me at work so I didn’t publish any new posts. The posts I’ve published so far this year (with the number of views they’ve received) are:

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Transparency report (2016)
  2. Blogging as an academic
  3. Why I blog
  4. Sustaining Community blog – 2015
  5. About me
  6. 7 principles guiding my work
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Donald Trump the musical (with Tim Minchin)

I’m a big fan of Tim Minchin, and I am quite scared that Donald Trump is the president of the USA, so this sketch on the Late Late Show appealed to me.

Even though we live in serious times, humour is a wonderful way to express our concern and outrage at some of the things happening in the USA.

In the humour, there is a serious message:

Just because I find myself in this story,
In the next election you can, change it for me.
If you think the ending is fixed already,
You might as well be saying,
You think that we’re OK,

And that’s not right!
And if it’s not right!
You have to set it right! (Lyrics available from the Late Late Show with James Corden).

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Five things that scare me about Trump as president
  2. Song for Sunday – When I grow up (from Matilda)
  3. The paradox of inconsequence
  4. 10 ways to reduce your consumption
  5. Give Frank a Break! (A humorous video about the serious issue of plastic pollution)

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

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Principles of effective parent engagement in early childhood education

(Photo: Siewerin)

The engaging diverse families project of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) identified principles of family engagement in early childhood education, collected case studies of good practice and developed resources to help programs more effectively engage families in children’s early learning.

The six principles of effective parent engagement they identify for early childhood education service are: Continue reading

Posted in Families & parenting, Schools, Working with communities | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A continuum of engagement: A focus on the individual to a focus on the collective

A continuum of engagement

A definition of community engagement by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning [1] reminds us that community engagement has a focus on the collective rather than the individual:

Community engagement… is a planned process with the specific purpose of working with identified groups of people, whether they are connected by geographic location, special interest or affiliation, to address issues affecting their well-being. Linking the term ‘community’ to ‘engagement’ serves to broaden the scope, shifting the focus from the individual to the collective, with associated implications for inclusiveness, to ensure consideration is given to the diversity that exists within any community (p. 3).

Moore, McDonald, McHugh-Dillon, and West [2] argue that:

It is important to note that the difference between engaging individuals and engaging communities is more than just an economy of scale. A community is more than simply a group of individuals. We engage communities in order to improve outcomes for communities and we seek improved outcomes for communities not only as a means of improving outcomes for individual, but also to bring about change in the community itself: to improve the social fabric that provides us with a sense of belonging and connection. (p. 6) Continue reading

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The story of microfibres

The latest video from the makers of The Story of Stuff focuses on microfibres.

The use of synthetic fibres has been steadily increasing with two-thirds of new clothing now being made from synthetic fibres.


(Source: Textile Beat)

Microfibres in oceans and waterways are an increasing problem. A recent study found that when synthetic jackets are washed in a washing machine, they release an average of 1.7 grams of microfibres each wash. While waste water treatment plants capture many of the microfibres, up to 40% enter our waterways and oceans. Continue reading

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Updates to the reading list on ABCD

Asset-based community development I’ve just updated the reading list on ABCD (over 100 resources). I’ve added nine articles or other resources. Most of them are fairly old (still worth looking at) but some of them are quire recent. Please let me know of any other material you think should be added.

The material I’ve added is:

Ashford, G., & Patkar, S. (2001). The positive path: Using appreciative inquiry in rural Indian communities. Manitoba, Canada: International Institute for Sustainable Development. Available from

Cameron, J., & Gibson, K. (2001). Shifting focus: Alternative pathways for communities and economies. A resource kit. Melbourne: Latrobe City and Monash University. Available from Continue reading

Posted in Good articles/links, Strengths-based approaches & ABCD, Working with communities | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Graphic depictions of the Spectrum of Public Participation

The Spectrum of Public Participation (Image by Yvonne Hollandy collected by Tim Bonnemann)

The Spectrum of Public Participation (Image by Yvonne Hollandy collected by Tim Bonnemann)

Tim Bonnemann, the founder of Intellitics and a previous board member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) in the USA, has been collecting graphic depictions of the Spectrum of Public Participation and its variations for a number of years. You can find his impressive collection of over 60 images here.

It is interesting to see the ways in which people have tried to adapt the Spectrum. Sometimes they have used the original levels with their corresponding goals and promises, and just changed the graphic design. Sometimes they have kept it largely the same but with some minor changes to terms (e.g., partnerships instead of collaborate). Sometimes they have tried adding new levels or made other quite significant changes. Continue reading

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Searching for my authoritative voice

I am a writer

(Photo: Ramdlon)

Sometimes I fear I’m going to be discovered as a fraud. Who am I to be writing a blog on community engagement? On what basis do I support other organisations to improve their work? Am I really preparing students for the realities of working in the field? What gives me the authority to speak to other people about how to improve their work?

Finding an authoritative voice when undermined by these doubts can be challenging.

For many years I hesitated to call myself an academic – I still avoid using the title Dr. – and I still find myself undermining my credibility, particularly through jokes. I’m not very ambitious and find it hard to sell myself. I’m a Level B academic and I’m not sure if I will ever seek promotion to a higher level. (In Australia there are five levels – from A to E: Associate lecturer, Lecturer, Senior lecturer, Associate Professor and Professor.) Much of this resistance to a promotion is wanting to limit my income but, to be honest, some of it is self-doubt.

It’s also not easy finding an authoritative voice when academics have rejection in common. All academics have experienced rejection (or will), especially when writing for publication and seeking research grants are major responsibilities of academics. Some journals reject over 80% of the articles they receive and even leading academics have ground breaking research rejected by journals. Likewise, rejection rates for applications to the Australian Research Council can be as high as 84% for major grant rounds. Continue reading

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An Alternatives to Violence Project workshop for parents

Alternatives to Violence Project I am currently helping to plan and facilitate an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop for parents through Family Support Newcastle. We have a good team of four facilitators with a variety of experience and backgrounds.

While this workshop will be open to any parents, we are hoping to mainly attract parents who are facing significant challenges. We are working towards a number of short-term outcomes for the parents:

  1. Improved conflict resolution and negotiation skills
  2. Improved ability to show warmth and love towards their children
  3. Increased confidence in parenting
  4. Greater self-awareness in relation to parenting, making choices and conflict
  5. Improved ability to create boundaries with their children in a respectful, caring way
  6. Improved connections with their families, their community and support services.

Continue reading

Posted in Families & parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Definitions of community engagement – updated

(Created with Wordle)

(Created with Wordle)

Yesterday I updated a post on Definitions of community engagement from 2011. I’ve added some more recent definitions, updated some of the material to reflect what I’ve learnt over the last six years, removed some unimportant material which came from resources no longer available on the web, and fixed up broken links.

You can read it at

Posted in Working with communities | 1 Comment