Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Editorial - Rejoice in the Sound of Silence: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Editorial - Rejoice in the Sound of Silence: Opinion

Article excerpt

Paul Simon may well be America's greatest living storyteller, but he's useless when it comes to numeracy. In his song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, rather than the 50 ways promised (and eagerly anticipated by the world's adulterers), Simon lazily delivers only five: slip out the back; make a new plan; don't be coy; hop on the bus; and drop off the key.

As much as I would like to spend the rest of this column taking Simon to task for this error (is it any wonder the US struggles in Pisa when its cultural icons come unstuck in this way?), I know, being a fan of his work, that it's unlikely he'll be reading: he doesn't much approve of education. "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school," he once sang, "it's a wonder I can think at all."

It may have seemed like "crap" back then, Paul, but paying attention could have saved you from looking very silly now. You may be able to think, but a little more attention would have ensured that you could count, too.

Rest assured that when it comes to our own numerical offering of 35 ways to keep a class quiet (see pages 34-36), all are present and correct. Not only that but we have harvested the best tips from around the world to make sure that the strategies on offer are superior to the advice in Simon's song (I fail to see, for example, how getting on a bus would indicate to your lover that the affair was over, unless it had "Make your marriage work" on the destination board and they happened to be watching). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.