Thats what I told Lily today.

My class sat with their notebooks open at the first page waiting for me to say or write something they could write down. I was trying to engate their brains but some of them had their pens in their hands and were just sitting quietly letting me do the strange Mzungu teacher bit and waiting for the real stuff to start.

So I told them that I ‘d read the prayer on the blackboard last term. I recited it, in fact, as I have committed it to memory. Then I asked them if that was what they wanted: to “download”. Lily said she did and I made my rude comment. Lucklily they laughed.

Later this morning I was trying to tell them about objects (in the object oriented sense) and started by asking them if various things in the room were objects:
“This desk, is it an object?”
“it is”
“What about that pen?”
“What about Loise, is she an object?”
Embarrassed silence while christine looked at Loise as if assessing whether or not she was an object. Or possibly whether or not she could get away with calling her one.
“Be careful”, I added, “she’s sitting close enough to hit you”.
Then finaly I moved on to more difficult things. After telling them that I have a brother and a sister whom I love very much, I asked them if my love for my brother is an object.
“No”, Christine told me, “because you can’t touch it.”
“You can touch Loise”, I pointed out, and went over and put my hand on her shoulder to illustrate my point. The jury seemed to be still out on whether Louse was or was not an object.
“What day is it? Thursday. OK, so its rice for lunch. What about the rice I am going to eat for lunch today. Is that an object?”
This is a tough one, for a couple of reasons:
1. Rice is a sort of* uncountable continuum rather than a discrete thing.
2. The portion that will become my lunch doesn’t really exist as such yet. It might be possible to go see the big sufiria in which Pios, the cook, is preparing it, but hard to identify which grains will end up on my plate.
Even **I** was having trouble making up my mind about this.

Then I realised what an excelent opportunity this was. There is no correct answer! Nothing to recite, memorise or download!

I made them all raise their hands to choose wither they thought it was or was not an object. I told them it was important to consider this question and to make this choice precisely **because** there is no correct answer.
“There is no correct answer”, I told them, “and yet life goes on. But you have a choice, you can choose to treat my lunch as an object or not. Having made that choice you can move on and make other observations about it. you can do this in the exams too, even when you are unsure of the answer. You can make an assumption and state it: ‘I have chosen to treat Mark’s lunch as an object and thus…’.”

They probably just thing I’m mad. But it seemed very important at the time.


  1. Drew Drew Poo Poo Says:

    RICE, They love it in china 🙂

    Now go here click enter and click on the eyball at the bottom left, you NEED to hear this song all the way through:

    I can’t help singing along

    Also this perfomed live in the same show:
    With the audience vote to save it or nail it

    Lots to read on the other eyballs too

    Amazing Live performance.
    Probably the most ararchic cabaret I’ve seen.
    Heres a review

    If your going to a party, take Basmarti.



    Drew 🙂 😀

  2. Lydia Says:

    "There is no correct answer and yet life goes on. But you have a choice". You could extrapolate that so far. It’s good. Thanks for sharing that. Btw you are a fantastic teacher (and also slightly mad!) – they are lucky. I hope they make the effort to switch their brains on and make the most of the opportunity!

  3. Drew Says:

    I’ve just realised that that probably won’t be at all funny if you haven’t seen woody bop muddy perform, live.
    Ah well, it amuses me anyway.

    Yesterday was exactly 1 year from when you took me to swing for the first time, Thanks boyo.

    Happy Tuesday.
    Drew 🙂

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