Monday, 27 December 2010

The joys of having a teacher

My study recently has been self-taught. This experience has made me long for a teacher, and to think of what it is that is valuable about a teacher. My thoughts are as follows:
  • a (good) teacher will often teach not just the material to be taught, but the context for it (I absolutely love context)
  • a (good) teacher will often teach not just the material to be taught, but some of the history to it (I would probably classify the history as part of the context, but it is so important I thought it worthy of a separate bullet point)
  • having a teacher allows you to ask questions (or to at least get an answer rather than having to find it yourself)
  • havign a teacher allows you to challenge what you are being taught and, when rebutted in your challenge, you learn something
Here are some examples of context (and history) for the study of English Literature. These facts were not taught to me by my English Literature teacher, but if they had of been I suspect I would have enjoyed the subject more:
  • the number of books published to date
  • the number of books published annually (or a graph per year since the dawn of civilisation)
  • the first book
  • the first book written in English
  • the shorttest book
  • the longest book
  • the most popular books
  • the average number of books that a person reads in their lifetime

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Reading all published works

When was it last possible for a person to read all published works to date, within their lifetime (including books published during their lifetime?

I see this as a really important question to answer. One of the things that disappoints my about my English Literature lessons at school is that is did not provide me with the broad context of the written word, nor did it impress upon me the sheer volume of books published (and therefore how careful we must be in selecting what we read).

Mini-crampons for walking on icy roads and pavements

I've looked into buying mini-crampons for walking on icy roads and pavements, but the items I've seen for sale seem aimed at mountaineers, rather than the general consumer market. There must be a market for a simple single-strap (elasticated) crampon that has fairly short teeth, allowing walking on roads/pavements that have patches of ice. The long teeth of regular crampons would be a hindrance for most of the walking due to the only occasional patches of ice.