Saturday, 16 April 2011

Two Matches With Potential and Plenty of Students Who Have It Too

Just a short post today. I'm about to watch the fa cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City. I'm really hoping it's a good game of football with both sides trying to attack rather than just trying to sneak a 1-0 win. However i suspect it'll be a nervous game, both sides will have at the back of their minds that once they're through this game they'll be clear favourites for the final considering that they'll be playing either Bolton or Stoke, and without meaning any offence to either team, you have to suspect the FA cup trophy will be returning to Manchester this season.

After that i'm off to a friends house to watch the 'El Classico' match. For those that don't know that's Real Madrid v Barcelona and it, almost more than any other game, has so much potential to be a great game. Mourinho v Pep Guardiola has to be considered a clash of two of the true great managers currently working in world football. Mourinho is renowned for making teams hard to beat, a master of strategies and game plans while Guardiola's Barcelona play the most sumptuous football you're likely to watch. There are also a selection of the world's greatest players lining up for either team; Messi, Ronaldo, Ozil, Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Cassilas, Villa, Puyol, Kaka, Sergio Ramos. It's an impressive selection of talent and i'm hoping for at least some of them to have great games tonight so as to help the match fulfil it's undeniable potential.

In other news i watched the final episode of 'Jamie's Dream School' last night and i'm still not entirely sure what to make of it as a series. At points it was really entertaining and interesting as it actually challenged some of the pre-conceptions of what young adults lacking in GCSE's might be like, questioning what was going wrong and what could be changed.

However at other points it felt like a vanity project for Jamie Oliver and several other of the celebrity teachers; they almost seem to be revelling in the charitable nature of what they're doing more than whether it actually benefits the students. Now maybe i'm being harsh, and i suspect at least as far as Jamie Oliver was concerned the cause was a noble one and he genuinely wanted to help, but almost regardless of the intentions, that was the impression i got from several moments in each episode.

As the key figures in the project were eager to point out repeatedly, 'Dream School' bore little direct relevance to education in the UK, they had a budget, class size and time scale most schools can't even begin to dream of. However one key lesson that can be taken from the experiment is that inspired, passionate and happy teachers tend to produce much more successful students. Efforts need to be made to provide environments and institutions which allow teachers to convey their passion for subjects to pupils rather than being over-stretched and over-stressed.

In terms of my day so far i went for my first run since coming back to Sheffield for the holidays this morning. One of the things i love about where i live here is how quickly i can be out in the countryside and that particularly benefits me when it comes to going for runs. The weather was great this morning and i was running out through the valley that leads out towards a group of reservoirs and i was struck by just how picturesque the area is, a thought that was emphasised once i left the road i'd been running along and went onto public footpaths. It was wonderfully peaceful and i'm definitely going to run that same route again. It was one of the first times i've been running in months and i'm feeling it now; i'm seriously out of shape compared to how i was towards the end of last summer, but now i'm back and have runs like today's as an option hopefully i'll be able to work on my fitness and get back to the kind of condition i want to be in.

I've been toying with the idea of putting some of my short stories on my blog for people to see, they're all a little rough around the edges but i'd be intrigued to see what people make of them.

Finishing this post is a song by Regina Spektor called 'On the Radio' and i chose it because it appeared in my head out of nowhere while i was out running and it stayed there for most of the rest of the day.

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