Thursday, 18 February 2010

Listen and learn

A lot of my time at secondary modern school was taken up with not listening to what the teachers were telling me, but daydreaming about about pop stars, boys, fashions, make up, and where I was going to meet my mates. I was one of those pupils who hid at the back of the class and hoped I wouldn't be picked on by the teacher. I was never going to be an academic, and couldn't wait to walk out of those gates for the last time. My learning came to a halt when I was fifteen.

Now I have a new teacher, Radio 4. It's like having a lesson in my own living room when I tune in, I can be getting on with my crafting and still learn something new as I sew, knit, and crochet. The programmes cover such a wide variety of subjects, I think of it as food for the brain, so I am trying to make sure I get enough nutrition in that department. Use it or lose it is what they say.

I start off by listening in to the Today programme, a magazine of world news. Sometimes it gets a bit too heavy with political matters or world affairs, but overall it is pretty balanced.

A few of my favourites are:-

From Our Own Correspondent, introduced by Kate Adie. These are stories from behind the headlines from BBC correspondents, often with an unusual slant on the subject.

You and Yours, a consumer programme on every day from 12 o clock. Lots of usefull information here about consumer matters.

Costing the Earth. This is about what consumerism is doing to the planet, global warming, over polulation, and what we should be doing about it. A little bit of nature, a little bit of science.

Material World is along similar lines as Costing the Earth. Again very thought provoking.

The Bottom Line. Evan Davis presents this business programme. I am interested in all aspects of business.

Desert Island Discs. I sometimes listen to this depending on who is the castaway.

Last Word. This is an obituary programme about people who have passed away in the last week. I find other people's lives fascinating.

Case Notes. Mark Porter explores medical matters. Well we all need to know how our bodies work.

Taking a Stand. Fascinating programme about how people have made a decision which has had a profound effect on their lives. The resilience of some people who have the strength to pull through is astounding.

File on 4. An indepth investicative programme on a variety of issues.

In Touch presented by Peter White. An informative programme on blindness, interesting even if you are not blind.

Beyond Belief. A look at religion from a different angle.

The Food Programme. It tells about what is going on behind the scenes of food production and consumption. Something we all should be taking note of.

Excess Baggage. Adventures, frustrations, and joys of travel, with a lot of humour

Blimey, I could go on, that's rather a long list there isn't it. I bet there are some people who never think of listening to Radio 4, they are missing out on such a lot of learning. Right, back to the classroom, oops, I mean my living room.


  1. Writing this with my home educating mum hat on ;)

    I think Radio 4 is fantastic and often have it on in the background when the kids are working on something. They never cease to surprise me with how much they seem to absorb without appearing to be listening - they suddenly drop into a conversation something that they heard on the radio!

  2. I so agree with you about Radio 4 and all your programme choices.

  3. I don`t think your learning stopped at the age of 15, as you put it. I think you started to learn life from then on in. Let`s face it, you are doing fantastically now. I admire your gatsy approach to living. And what you put out on your blogs is very educational to many. Maybe you have found your calling in being the teacher now. Having said that, I agree with your use of radio. I listen to the radio while I`m at work and it`s very good for learning many new things.

  4. "A History of the World in 100 Objects" is also worth catching too.

  5. I used to listen to the radio four evening play on a Friday night while I did the ironing (many moons ago)... it was tons better than watching the tv and trying to iron at the same time. I also had radio four on when I was making soap in the workshop but since then it has kind of fallen by the wayside... thank you for reminding me of what a great radio station it is. :-) I believe my daughter listens to it online in Spain too!

  6. Yes, I sometimes listen to the afternoon plays. I have heard some of the 100 Objects series as well, but not all of them.

  7. i love 'book at bedtime' and 'poetry please' - I love the comedy 'just a minute' and 'woman's hour' i often catch up with the archers on sunday morning - i prefer radio to tv

  8. I hate Just a Minute, (except Julian Clary) everyone keeps cheating. But I love The News Quiz with Sandy Toksvig.