Column - Learning - a lifelong lessonYears ago – too many years ago! – I used to sit in college classrooms and think to myself, “Gee, this lecture is so interesting. What a shame we have to be tested on it.”
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
Years ago – too many years ago! – I used to sit in college classrooms and think to myself, “Gee, this lecture is so interesting. What a shame we have to be tested on it.”
The necessity to get a top grade tarnished the fascination of so much learning. I used to wish I could attend classes just to listen, to soak up knowledge.
Well, after all these years, my wish came true, sort of. Months ago, I received in the mail a magazine called The Great Courses, published by The Teaching Company. I’d never heard of it, but I spent more than an hour perusing that magazine, salivating as I read riveting descriptions of each course.
The Teaching Company offers a wide series of audio and/or visual lectures by distinguished professors on just about every subject under the sun. Each course provides anywhere from 12 to 40-plus lectures, all on tape or CD.
While reading that magazine, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to order one of each — that is, except for the math courses, which would put me instantly to sleep.
So I ordered two courses: one on Shakespeare’s works, the other on the history of the English language. Days later, the nicely packaged CDs arrived. For weeks, it was riveting to hear these brilliant professors expound on those topics. It was so pleasant to listen while leaning back in my chair, feet up, eating popcorn; or while bathing; or while putzing around the house, doing chores.
Recently, I ordered Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature, a series of 32 lectures by Prof. Arnold Weinstein of Brown University. I ordered that particular series because its topics are my all-time favorite novels, such as Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Moby Dick, To the Lighthouse and Wuthering Heights. It is so intriguing to hear Weinstein’s insightful takes on those powerful books. And, of course, his comments sent me right back to re-reading those books – and others – yet again. Listening to Weinstein’s lectures is like taking a journey of rediscovery back to my lifelong love of literature.
Now, granted, literature may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But The Teaching Company offers an amazing variety of courses for virtually any taste: The Foundations of Western Civilization, Quantum Mechanics, How the Earth Works, Museum Masterpieces, The Symphonies of Beethoven, The History of the Supreme Court, Biblical Wisdom Literature, Introduction to Judaism and The Great Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt. Those are just a mere sampling of courses.
We keep hearing that learning is a lifelong process, from cradle to grave. And that is so true. What I love about The Great Courses is they make that so possible – constant learning. It’s also a pleasure to share the tapes/CDs with others, the way you would loan them books.
I highly recommend more people check out these courses.
To find out more, visit the website www.TEACH12.com.