SHIRLEY'S BOOKS
Lace Crimson Superwoman Money Stuff Savages The Revenge The Eyes
Tiger by the tail

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Often, the most difficult step in starting a business is the second step: perhaps growing it from keeping a few chickens to expanding into a poultry farm, to becoming a country-wide supplier.

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Expensive Bundle of Joy

DO YOU AGREE?

Ben has two young children and is considering a mortgage with a deposit of £160,000.

Ben, gloomily, “It’s a big investment.”

Me, “A baby costs more. The Daily Telegraph says a child costs £227,000 to rear, if it doesn’t go to uni.”

Ben, still gloomy, “Trouble is, you can’t sell the baby.”


How Best to Fight Climate Change?
Have Fewer Children.

After having fewer children, your next best actions are selling your car, avoiding flights and going vegetarian. These activities reduce emissions many times more than common green activities, such as recycling, using low energy light bulbs or drying washing on a line, according to a study into the true impact of different green lifestyle choices.
That look is why best-selling author, journalist and world-class communicator Shirley Conran, aged 85, has dedicated the last fourteen years to maths education. This year she founded The Maths Anxiety Trust. She is sure of the importance of the Trust’s efforts. “According to the American National Science Foundation 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require maths and science skills.”
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The First Billionaire Beauty Tycoon

The fabulous Helena Rubenstein was ninety six when she asked me, on my first trip to New York in the early Sixties, “How many things are wrong with you?”

I thought, too short, too fat, bony feet…Quick as a flash, I said, : Ninteen..”

“In that case”, she said, “181 things are right about you. Be more positive.”

The First Billionaire Beauty Tycoon

Fabulous in pink at 96 years old.


One of the Best

International publisher Pan Macmillan celebrated its 75th birthday by reprinting the twenty best books they had published in that time. Among books by such authors as Rudyard Kipling, H.G.Wells, Douglas Adams and Ken Follett is my book, SAVAGES.

It was my favourite book to write because I met so many fascinating men during my research in Scotland, Fiji, Australia, Monaco and Pittsburgh, USA. The story is about a group of pampered wives of the executives of a mining company; theyi are starting a luxurious tropical holiday when everything goes horribly wrong…

SAVAGES

About Shirley

By Susan Miller

The look of joy on a teenager’s face – often after being told they are useless at maths and don’t pay enough attention in class – when after a couple of hours of efficient teaching it dawns on them that they can do maths is “priceless”.

That look is why best-selling author, journalist and world-class communicator Shirley Conran, aged 85, has dedicated the last fourteen years to maths education. This year she founded The Maths Anxiety Trust. She is sure of the importance of the Trust’s efforts. “According to the American National Science Foundation 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require maths and science skills.”

A 2012 article in the Guardian reported that two million people in the UK suffer from Maths Anxiety, described as a feeling of fear about maths. As Conran points out: “If it was smallpox, that would be a national disaster and there would be immediate action to stamp it out.”

Your child is not stupid

Conran believes that schoolchildren who think they are no good at maths become adults who are labelled as stupid – by themselves and others. A possible pattern emerges as they pass on their Maths Anxiety to their children. Conran says it’s not the parent or child who is wrong but the teaching of maths in the UK. “A good mathematician is not always a good maths teacher,” she says.

Conran’s work started in 2004; in a bookshop, Conran searched for a good maths textbook for her god-daughter: she did not find one. “The instructions were inadequate, the author did not communicate well and the writing was dull – so those text books did not engage the reader,” she says.

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“SSSSh! Maths is a Feminist Issue…”


A step by step guide to speaking maths

For fourteen years I have talked to many mathematicians, and – speaking as a professional interviewer – sometimes I have found that very difficult.

Recently, I blurted this out to a revered mathematician and – to my surprise – he understood what I meant. And this is what he told me.

1. Mathematicians are very IMPATIENT people.

2. A good mathematician is not necessarily a good teacher. However, a good teacher can learn – relatively quickly – to teach up to and including Key 3 maths.

3. When talking to each other, mathematicians have no communication problems, but they can have difficulty when talking to a student because what is then needed is a restrictive language with a smaller vocabulary, for each age and ability.

boy with shades on steps
Imagine a staircase, said my friendly mathematician. At the top of the staircase two maths teachers, Pat and Alex, are happily chatting to each other about maths.

On the bottom step stands a five-year-old. On the second step stands a
six-year-old, and so on. The maths teachers cannot easily adjust their communication level about maths to either of them… or a ten-year-old or a fourteen-year-old.

But a good maths teacher needs to be able to communicate well about maths on every level of the staircase.