2010-11-19

Pros and cons of reteaching the same courses

There seems to be a fundamental difference between lectures in academic and pedagogic settings. In the former (e.g., in academic conferences) you seldom repeat the same lectures, at least not in the same language, while in the latter repetion is the rule. There are pros and cons in reteaching the same courses every year or at any other interval.

Full-time faculty members at Israeli universities are required to teach four courses a week. My ideal is to "scrap and (re)build" each year each course I am supposed to reteach. But it goes without saying that this ideal is not so realistic. In order to scrap and (re)build all the four courses every year I have to spend an enormous ammount of time. You can find such free time either if you sleep less than three hours a day or if you have at least 30 hours a day.

The biggest advantage of reteaching the same courses is that you can reuse the same written materials which are already prepared. But this is the most problematic part in "recycling" courses. On the one hand, you are familiar with the materials you are supposed to (re)teach. But on the other, you become too familiar with them (and are liable to lose intellectual enthusiasm about them). This is the worst con of this padagogic "recycling".

2010-11-05

Plea for a stricter law against noises

I used to suffer a lot from noises in Japan. Unfortunately, my suffering has not been easened in Israel. There is a fundamental difference between the types of noises in these two countries: the typical noises in Japan are public, while those in Israel are by individuals. But there is something common between the two countries: there is virtually no law against noises, and we victims must continue to suffer, while noise makers remain protected and unpunished.

If I were a legislator, I would enact a stricter law against noises, though it may not be easy to enforce it as they are made mostly by individuals. Of course, a law is the last resort, and I am sorry that it seems required to protect victims of egocentric citizens few of whom are even aware that their egocentric behaviors are causing intolerable pain to those around them.

Egocentric noise makers in Israel include, for example, drivers who honk incessantly and impatiently, bus drivers who play their favorate music loudly in their buses, people who speak on the mobile phone loudly in public transportations, and neighbors who play the music instrument or run around in their apartments. Noisy neighbors are the worst of all, as the suffering they cause us is more constant. Unfortunately, I have been fighting against such egocentric neighbors all the time; I have no luck with neighbors.

One thing I do not understand is that so many people in this country seem so tolerant of noises. I am more and more inclined to think that noise is the default condition for them. Life without noises is a luxury few people can attain in Israel.