My family and I are just back from a week at the beach. Content from winning the Port Fairy boogie boarding championship,* I’ll soon get back to bashing the Australian curriculum and to other topics. First, a quick one, on some old books.
As is typical, the beach house where we stayed contained an odd assortment of games and DVDs and books. Oddest of the books was a selection from “The Marshall Cavendish Learning System”. These books are from the late 60s and rang the vaguest of bells, but I have no idea what the “learning system” was, if anything other than marketing, nor for whom the books were intended. The books, with no distinguishable authors, were published by the UK company Marshall Cavendish, which is now a Singaporean entity, or part of a Thai brewery, or something. God knows.
What is notable is that the books are good.
The “learning system” seemed to have consisted of six categories of books, with twelve books in each category. There were eleven of these books in the beach house, and I browsed a number of them; they were all interesting and well-written, serviceable and economical; in sixty or so pages, each book presented genuinely deep ideas in an intelligent manner. There was no flamboyance or fluff.
There were two mathematics books in the Physical Science category, one on pure mathematics and one on applied. Both were good, not always clear and not totally free from error, but the books intelligently introduced a selection of well-chosen topics.
The clear purpose of all the books was to educate rather than to entertain. Thus, and although the books are of course very dated, they seem fundamentally better than any modern equivalent. As I indicated, the books are good.
*) Imaginary victories are just as valid.