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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stretching my mind

You may recall that in a burst of determination I signed up for 6 short courses through my local OLLI program (Osher Lifelong Learning). I have a tendency to talk myself out of doing things that require a commitment of time or substantial money. Well these classes are inexpensive so it is just time and I don't have to go if I don't like them. Each is one hour a week for 7 weeks held in (extremely) air conditioned comfort with intelligent and interesting classmates.

They started this week and 5 of the 6 are very interesting.

Life and times during the Revolutionary War - complete with show and tell objects! The instructor is cheerful, deeply knowledgeable, enthusiastic and used to talking to school children with short attention spans! No recitation of battles, politics or strategy. We are talking why the uniforms looked like they did, flogging with the Cat-of-9-Tails, sashes used as stretchers and so on. Interesting.

History of music part 2. Again a cheerful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructor. I really loved that he picked unusual performance versions to demonstrate different music. You haven't lived until you have heard baroque music played on the accordion.

Current trends in neuroscience - again complete with show and tell objects! Of course we are going to cover neurodegeneration, memory, etc. but the young doctoral student instructor is going to bring the medical school's set of teaching brains to class next week for us to look at and touch so we can really get a sense of neuroanatomy before proceeding. She was afraid we might not want to see them but of course we were enthusiastic.

Art and politics in the middle ages. What can I say - another great instructor and visuals.

Atheism. I was concerned about what kind of questions might be asked here in the Bible belt but they are interesting, thoughtful and wide ranging. Another winner.

I won't name the sixth class because I left at the first break. The instructor talked as though reading from a script, restricted questions to set times and was inflexible. I hope the group sticks with her but I prefer the free wheeling discussions and engaging tones of the other classes. So I have 5 more weeks of interesting classes to look forward to even though I'll miss the 6th week due to vacation.

The one surprise to me is how used I have gotten to not doing anything meaningful outside of the house every day. Getting up, dressing smartly, and heading out to classes three days a week is great.

10 comments:

  1. They all sound interesting.....I know what you mean about getting dressed up and going out of the house. I need to do that more often.

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    1. I hope you find more things you really want to get dressed up and go out for Marilyn. It is energizing.

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  3. I know exactly what you mean. I would like to do some things but don't feel I can commit to a period of time. No reason for this...
    I also agree that it is easy to get used to not doing something meaningful every day. Time for some changes!

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    1. The commitment part is hard for me as I have such a high sense of obligation to follow through once I sign up for something! No reason for this as these are certainly voluntary and there is no consequence other than money spent.

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  5. Agree, they all sound interesting. I've been thinking of taking a class at my community college ... you may inspire me to finally and actually do it!

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    1. What type of class are you interested in taking Tom? So many choices at a community college.

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  6. Good on you ! And an interesting insight into your views on teaching; I try to keep to an engaging tone too ... You made me laugh when you mentioned baroque music played on the accordeon, I just cannot imagine what the result could be !! xx

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  7. They all sound wonderful; and kudos to the instructors for doing what they love and spreading their enthusiasm!

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