Posts Tagged ‘education’

on stupidity

OK, I am old, and it is a fact of life that times change. Old gets like me are out of touch and all that, long live the generation gap (or gaps, in my case). I get all that stuff because, if you think about it, I was young once too. I’ve done it all in my time.

The thing is though, and I know it’s our fault because we bred you lot, and your parents. We voted, or didn’t, and have, along the way, allowed a lot of crap to infect society, or which the worst factor is that we have created a world full of idiots.

When I was young we were competitive. We wanted to be better that our parents. We wanted to be better than each other. Being a gormless idiot was not on our radar, and nor was just being one of the mediocrity. We understood winning and losing and, whilst we wanted to be winners, we were prepared to risk losing to get there.

Knowledge and understanding were vital and we sought knowledge. Looking stupid was an anathema, so it bemuses me when I see examples of stupidity almost being celebrated these days. How did we let it happen? The silent majority have a lot to answer for.

What sent me off on this musing was media coverage of motorists who had been caught out over the holiday period when their electric cars needed charging as they headed around visiting friends and relatives. Some of the quotes were priceless and, whilst I have some sympathy with folks who have been stuck at motorway services for hours, they brought it upon themselves.

I’ve driven for years, and one of the basics of self-preservation is that, before setting off, you check to make sure that you have enough fuel for your journey. On the times when even a full tank would not be enough I would have a plan about when and where to refuel so that I could get back. Electric cars don’t have enough range for many of the journeys that were being undertaken, yet people set off anyway, assuming that they could get to a charging point when they needed one, despite it being blindingly obvious that they would have a problem.

Then you got the seemingly considerable number for whom it came as a surprise that using car heat would reduce their range. Hello, where do you think the power for the heat comes from? You’ll have the same problem with the air-con in the Summer. OK, some scared do have the capability to generate power on the move for powering auxiliaries, but it would seem that I lot of people set off with no real plan for their journey and I’ll bet that most of them did not have a Winter survival kit one board either in case they did get stranded.

The number of people who claimed that this was their first major journey in their electric car just made things worse. Ignorance is no excuse, and if we are in a position where the planet has limited resources, then why are we allowing these idiots to waste them? I can’t normally be bothered to get angry, but this gets me close.

This is just one example, but the problem of “nobody warned us” is everywhere now. Take responsibility. Learn, do your research, take pride in knowing, but don’t be certain (that’s another story). Just be sure that you have worked it out and own your decision.

The accusation from the young that we fucked up the planet is partially true; we bred our accusers and allowed them to grow up as snowflakes with a level of ignorance that would have been wholly unacceptable in our day. For that m’led, I plead guilty.


the art of handwriting

January 25, 2016 1 comment

To hear that a number of schools are ceasing to teach pupils handwriting saddens me. I understand that the generations coming through make use of portable devices to write upon, but I don’t agree that these things make the art of handwriting redundant.

I am of an age where we were taught to write with pen on paper. Lined pages where we would use two lines for a capital or tall letter and just the lower line for smaller letters, scratching away with a pen and ink as we developed our own styles around the standard form.

As we mastered to letters and how to assemble them into words we began to learn sentences, paragraphs and beyond and we began to understand grammar. There was a lot more to understanding our language than just writing out words, but the ability to write  helped a lot in communicating.

In my early years at work computers we beginning to make an impact. Computers then were big things that we didn’t ever see, but we had to cater for the people who fed the information and for about four years the majority of the writing that I did was to complete forms where there was a space for each letter (or number) and all letters had to be in capitals. When that job came to an end and I moved on to one where I was drafting contracts for one of the ladies in the typing pool to turn into a document that we could send out I had to pretty much teach myself to write all over again for I had not written a sentence let alone a paragraph for so long. It took me almost three months before I could manage legible joined up writing on a consistent basis and since then I have tried to keep up a regular writing regime.

The advent of the word processor was, to some extend, a boon in that it became so easy to redo something that you didn’t like the look of and then the ability to check your spelling and grammar were other benefits, but these things are not fool proof. As we used to say in the early days of computing; garbage in, garbage out and as someone who writes a lot (25,000 words is a slow week) it is easy to miss some of the silly things that can occur. Why else would so many people turn off predictive text?

Language is a living thing and it evolves all of the time. I don’t want to stop that, but if we lose the basic skills of forming letters and words I don’t believe that it is going to help. Over the last thirty years or so I have encountered so many young people coming to work for me who cannot do any basic mathematics because they have used calculators from an early age and have little or no understanding of how numbers work. They trust entirely anything that comes off a spreadsheet even when there is a blatant error. I see the loss of handwriting as bringing the same problems with words and it saddens me.

Change is all around us and it is inevitable, but not everything that we do brings progress. Each generation of children represents the future of our various civilisations and I don’t think that we should deprive them of basic skills. Sooner or later we will regret doing so.

the power of words

Language has fascinated me for as long as I can remember; to listen to someone speak well or to read something well written is a joy. Language evolves though and even in my lifetime there has been a lot of change. Read more…

history is not bunk

Life is not simple, for very few things that we have to deal with are as easy as yes or no. In most cases there are a range of factors that have to be taken into account and these will include possible outcomes of each option before us; the consequences of our actions, and not only in terms of how these affect us, but how they affect others. Read more…

being responsible for your own actions

I have just been sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s surgery and I passed the watching the information being presented on the TV screen there. One of these was on house fires and was advising me to get out in the event of a fire being discovered with a strap line something like; “Your life is more precious that possessions or pets”. Read more…

building for the future

I wrote a few months ago that one of the signs of economic recovery was the demand from British expertise around the world. I am not going to get into any of the rhetoric around why the UK is seen as the land of opportunity for so many, but not are only a place that people want to come to there is a strong demand for what we can offer to other lands. Read more…

musings on learning and on lessons learnt

One of the things that fascinates me about learning is how often things just stay with you, even when you don’t always realise the significance, or sometimes that you’ve even learned them, and I try to think about this when I am training, coaching or mentoring people. Read more…

teaching is a two way street

This week I will be wearing my logistics hat again as I am running a warehousing and materials management course and will re-visiting the delights of standard deviations, calculating point loads and similar mathematics along with the more practical side of what mechanical aids to use for various applications. Read more…

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right

The quote is attributed to Henry Ford, a man who is both hero and villain depending on how you view him (or both from where I sit). And there you have not just one paradox, but two. Read more…

What’s your business all about? Do your people know?

Those who delve into the deeper corners f my social media output will be aware that recently I have been working on developing one of my various ventures into the retail arena. So why am I taking on a project like this? Read more…