Thinking Points – 12/9

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did one of these… so here goes.

1. Quote of the week

In those days chaps joined up, or were scorned publicly. It was a nasty cleft to be in for a young man with too much imagination and little physical courage.

— Tolkien on the 1st World War

In Europe, we probably take our freedom for granted now, but I suspect if we found ourselves in the situation of war, we would put pressure on our young to go and fight. I’ve been to many countries (mostly European) and by and large people are the same – no-one really wants to go to war. Let’s keep thinking positively that we will not find ourselves in the mess of a world war ever again.

2. What I’m reading

Since I last wrote an entry, I’ve finished several books:

  1. Bad Words: and what they say about us, Philip Gooden. This was a birthday present from a friend and a good read it was. It describes the history and usage of offensive language. It goes into the history of language on the television and more modern topics such as snowflakes.
  2. The Award in Education and Training, Ann Gravells. Ann has made a career out of writing books that comprehensively cover the education and training market. The AET is a level 3 qualification for teachers. I’ve successfully used the book to pass my AET and I finished on Friday.
  3. Teaching Today, Geoff Petty. I haven’t read all of this book, but like Ann, Geoff is another writer covering the education market. I found this book more relevant to schools. It is incredibly large and I don’t understand why – it could have been made a bit smaller and perhaps more portable. I’ve read some sections in here to support my work on the AET.
  4. Overcoming Procrastination, Dr Windy Dryden. You get me warts and all in these posts. Occasionally I get into a rut of procrastination. This book covers all of the reasons that we put things off. It was incredibly useful. It is perhaps a little difficult to read for some, but it was of value to me. Dryden is a respected author in these subjects.

I currently back to reading Thatcher: The Downing Street Years. Whether you liked her or not, the book is an incredible insight into her time as prime minister. I prefer it to Tony Blair’s autobiography. I didn’t realise that Thatcher had pushed for Mandela’s release. Actually, there are a number of things like this in the book where the general perception is wrong. This one will take me a bit more time and like Blair’s book, I have had to put it down several times for a break.

3. What I’m doing in my free time/ENJOYING

Apart from reading, I’m not doing a great deal other than watching the television and getting my arm back to normal. We are nearly there. Two more weeks and I expect to have the brace removed. In the last two days, I’ve got back a lot of movement in the arm. It’s still uncomfortable and sleeping can be tricky, but I can see the progress.

I really want to get back to writing my books in my free time and we are approaching a point where that is possible again. I can write for a little while and type, but obviously, need to be careful.

My wife appears to have discovered the Capputini – that’s an Espresso Martini with Baileys and chocolate on top. We proposed the name Latte Martini for this without the chocolate. It’s pictured above.

4. What I’m learning more about

On Friday, I did a micro-teach session for three learners on the mashing process in brewing. In preparing for this and my AET certificate, I have learnt several things.

  1. There are fonts for dyslexic students that sometimes help. One of the fonts is available for free from OpenDyslexic.org. One of my learners in the session was dyslexic and found the presentation easier to read in this font. Comic Sans also helps (believe it or not). The bottom heaviness of these fonts helps the student keep the letters grounded on the page. This is still being studied by experts – the jury is out whether they are a one size fits all solution.
  2. Coloured paper helps dyslexic students to read presentations. One of the nurses adjusting my brace told me that blue paper is best for him together with Comic Sans.
  3. I revised the Law of Conservation of Physics (the amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant) and used it to prove a formula for calculating the strike temperature for mashing… you either know what this is or you don’t, but if you are a home-brewer you will want to consider this as it will help get better results during mashing.
  4. I also discovered that two of my learners despite having GCSE Maths had completely forgotten how to simplify and manipulate equations!

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