"Most boys like to think they have a girl friend, especially the 13 to 14 year olds. I would like to see an article on how to get a girl, and when you've got her, how to keep and please her. I would also like to see more articles on music in B.O.P as I am a trombonist in the Tiffin School Band." R. Wilmot (New Malden, Surrey)
Editor's Reply : "We will bear the suggestion for an article on how to keep a girl friend in mind ! In the meantime there is an article on keeping Golden Hamsters on pages 34 and 35 of this issue." Boy’s Own Adventure
I was sharing grandpa’s lunch at the dementia centre today when he started claiming loudly that to name the objects on his plate "fish fingers" was to misrepresent what science has always understood as “coming from the sea”. When he calmed down he remarked that “the diameter of his life” had become so small that he had to guard against focusing on the fish fingers rather than the important things like plotting his next escape.
This comment made me think about the diameter of a life, how you could measure it, and how this measurement might influence behaviour.
I reckon the diameter of your life is small when you find that you’ve spent it offering advice on keeping Golden Hamsters to people who really only ever wanted to know how to get a girl.
Right from the beginning the diameter of my life meant I wanted to be both an orphanage lady surrounded by children (like “the old woman who lived in a shoe”) and our local butcher. The butcher fascinated me – that slicing of muscle and sinew on a carcass hooked from the ceiling, the dangerous knives, the way the meat parted from the bone on the chopping blocks, and the sawdust bloodied on the floor, remains one of my most vivid childhood memories. I didn’t realise at the time but all that early yearning meant that I wanted to be a high school biology teacher specialising in dismemberment and dissection.
I’ve done lots of different teaching stuff since I started out cutting up foetal pigs with high school students, I’ve even taken time out for “nappies and narcolepsy” but the “stuff” I’ve always come back to is teaching.
Now although teaching is enormously rewarding activity for the person doing the teaching, it is not necessarily equally as rewarding for the recipient of the activity – the learner. For example I am beginning to suspect that six years spent trying to persuade others to integrate ICTs into student learning experiences has helped me understand myself far more than it has helped others understand how to integrate ICTs. It has been more enjoyable for me that it has been for the teachers I have worked with.
The diameter of my life means that I had a “Boy’s Own Adventure” moment this week. I realised that although I can facilitate mesmerising ICT enhanced learning experiences around the keeping of Golden Hamsters, the teachers I have been working with are really hanging out for ideas on how to get a girl. This led me into such a slough of despond that I wanted to chuck in working with teachers altogether, and took to phoning friends and asking them to tell me I was fabulous. I am without shame when it comes to a beckoning slough of despond.
Personalisation is threaded through the e-Learning action plan, listed as one of CORE Eds top trends, and made explicit in the job title of the latest Educational Gazette's Guest Columnist . The Guest columnist’s job title - wait for it - The Ministry of Education's effective teaching and personalising learning programmes manager.
BUT it wasn’t until I picked up a New Scientist left lying in the living room that I had a new insight into how we will be rescued from those Golden Hamster moments in teaching and learning. I will concede before you read further that medicine is running a little ahead of us in education BUT looking at what teachers did with learning styles in education here and here meant that the New Scientist article on nutrigenomics is probably not too far off the mark with where this whole personalised learning experience thing will be going next in education.
“It sounds like the ultimate in personalised medicine; a tailor-made diet that controls your weight, optimises your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. All you have to do to get one is hand over a couple of hundred dollars, take a simple genetic test, and wait for a personalised nutrition plan based on your genes to drop through your door.” “Hungry Genes” by Bijal Trivedi New Scientist 20 Jan 2007
“It sounds like the ultimate in personalised learning; a tailor-made learning environment that controls your learning outcomes, optimises your thinking and reduces your risk of cognitive overload, disengagement and underachievment. All you have to do to get one is hand over a couple of hundred dollars, take a simple genetic test, and wait for a personalised learning plan based on your genes to drop through your door.”
A kind of edugenomic Project asTTle that will promise to protect us from learning about Golden Hamsters when all we want to learn about is how pick up girls.
I feel so much better.