Things you learned at school

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Skallegrim
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Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:03 pm Post

I don't remember much from my school days. One very useful piece of advice, however, that stuck for some reason, was when our teacher told us never to put anything smaller than our elbows in our ears.

Anyone else remember daft stuff adults told you in your childhood?
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vic-k
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Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:12 pm Post

Skallegrim wrote: never to put anything smaller than our elbows in our ears.
Was that a biology/sex education lesson? :?
Skallegrim wrote:Anyone else remember daft stuff adults told you in your childhood?
"Come heeere! while I smack y` bottom!" :? :shock:
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Thequietone
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Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:46 pm Post

To stay away from Catholic priests.

Paul

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Carradee
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Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:00 pm Post

That PEMDAS means to do each item referenced individually across a problem.

It wasn't until the next year that another teacher corrected that to:

Parentheses
Exponents
Multiplication & Division
Addition & Subtraction

That teacher who incorrectly taught me PEMDAS also messed up a lemon-as-a-battery experiment, which I got functioning despite her diagram. I seem to recall her saying that a seven-sided shape was a septagon... (This was 5th grade.)
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xiamenese
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Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:06 pm Post

My problem is that I don't think I learnt anything at school. My mother once said to me, not long before she died, that it couldn't have been that bad as it had got me into Cambridge. My answer was that my impression had been that I had got into Cambridge in spite of the school!

The only things that remain clearly in my mind are that: my home having been in French-speaking countries from the age of 12, my French was better than that of most of the French teachers; that the Latin teacher thought that the best way to teach boys was to get them to hate you — I have always believed that it was that that got me into Cambridge, the question about my somewhat imperfect knowledge of Latin having come up in my interview, the questioner being the Regius Professor of Latin, it turned out; and the disillusionment of later finding — I made the mistake of being blandished into attending an Old Boys Day — the head of Modern Languages, whom I had at least thought of as a competent linguist, to be totally floored by the fact that I was reading Chinese at Cambridge.

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vic-k
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Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:18 pm Post

xiamenese wrote:I sink it vos clear zat I vos, 'ow you say, ze totale meesfeet!
Mere d`Lucifer!
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Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:51 am Post

I'm doubting the accuracy of these memories. Of course, we all learned a great deal in school. It's just hard to remember now what it was like NOT to be able to read, to add and subtract, to name the colors and learn that "sky" in a picture is not a blue band across the top, but something that goes down to a horizon.

And folks, have a heart. Remember, our fearless leader KB was for a long while a school teacher. Think he likes to hear that he wasted his time on a bunch of amnesiacs who believe they acquired all knowledge by themselves?

As an editor, I have saved many writers from incoherence--and they always think they did it themselves. Perhaps students are like that about their teachers as well. :roll:

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pink
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Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:54 am Post

something pertinent that I learned was learnt at home, and learnt by ozmosis through my brother. In fact, this is something I would never have learnt at all if I didn't have my particular brand of brother.

I learnt that wrapping two D cell batteries up in a sheet of foil in order to complete the circuit works great. And if you're stupid enough to be holding that wrapped up package in your hand when you fold the top part over...

you burn your hand.
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Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:45 pm Post

druid wrote:It's just hard to remember now what it was like NOT to be able to read, to add and subtract, to name the colors and

...be able to do all that before you enter kindergarten. My mother taught me those things. I could do multiplication and division, too--I even remember having a theory about how negative numbers worked.

Of course, I never used those things in school until later, so I forgot them by the time school got to them. So I never did find out if my ideas about negative numbers were correct, since I forgot them between first and sixth grade.
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xiamenese
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Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:47 pm Post

In my defence, I don't mean that I never learnt anything ... I learnt lots, but it always seems that most of what I learnt came from my father and my environment and other people. I ploughed through O-levels and A-levels yes ... but what came through that (a) wasn't significant later, (b) the ones I did well in came through sitting and reading the books on my own ... I got an A in O-level chemistry, and that definitely didn't come through the teaching, but I read the coursebook intensely from cover to cover because I got fascinated by it, in the parts that didn't come into our syllabus.

It seemed to me that all the inspirational teachers, and they had been there, all moved on just as I was about to enter the level that they taught ...

I'm sure KB is an inspirational teacher, but sadly he didn't teach me! :)

Mark

PS ... I guess that my Latin, grade D at A level, did come from the teaching at the school.
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ptram
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:34 am Post

I don't know. Most of my time was spent alone at the refectory, with a nun waiting for me to finish the 'maccheroni al pomodoro'. I still hate maccheroni al pomodoro.

Paolo

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vic-k
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:47 am Post

xiamenese wrote:I'm sure KB is an inspirational teacher, but sadly he didn't teach me!
Here we go again!! Another one after a free 2.0 upgrade :shock:
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:32 am Post

pink wrote:
I learnt that wrapping two D cell batteries up in a sheet of foil in order to complete the circuit works great. And if you're stupid enough to be holding that wrapped up package in your hand when you fold the top part over...

you burn your hand.


Along similar lines...

... I learnt that when making a hole in a conker with a pair of compasses (do American or European children enjoy playing with conkers?), it is better not to hold said conker in the palm of one's hand...

H
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pink
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:40 am Post

My aunt once learnt a similar lesson to that. Hers was "never cut a sandwich in half when the sandwicher eater is holding the sandwich on the palm of his hand."
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Siren
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:40 pm Post

Hugh wrote:I learnt that when making a hole in a conker with a pair of compasses (do American or European children enjoy playing with conkers?), it is better not to hold said conker in the palm of one's hand...

Eeeeewwwwwwweeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!! That hurts just thinking about it! I found a lovely shiny conker, fresh out of its shell, on my walk home from work today, which is so beautiful that I have put it on the mantelpiece. They really are gorgeous when they're all shiny like that ("fresh firecoal", if I remember my Gerald Manley Hopkins correctly). But not they're not half so pretty when they've been soaked in vinegar and baked in the oven. :wink: (Does that even work? We used to try all sorts of things to harden the chestnuts, but everyone said that was the best. I could never get the hang of conkers, myself.)

Coincidentally, someone told me when I got to work this morning that putting a chestnut in each corner of a room keeps away spiders (a French trick, apparently). That same person was reading the Times newspaper in Costa Coffee later this morning, and saw that self-same advice, which seems rather synchonicitous or zeitgeisty or something. I can't imagine how it would work -- my spiders seem to climb in through the windows.
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