Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Posting while drunk, huh? Often I am. While sober, I don't have much to say for myself. I often find, when reading back what I've written, that the spelling is impeccable, the grammar is ok, and the overall coherence is sometimes questionable.

It's rare that I unpublish anything I've blogged, although I quite often don't publish something I've written, or I fail to finish something I've started to write. Reading it back sober the next morning, I am no longer happy with it and it languishes unfinished, and eventually gets forgotten about. Going through my post list, I find many unpublished drafts, often trying to say the same things time after time, but always failing to do so in a way that I am happy with.

But usually, if I've actually hit the "publish" button, it stands, as a record of what and where I am. If it's crap, well, that's ok. It's as much part of me as the polished stuff, and why blog if not to try to project something of yourself?

I did though, unpublish  my most recent post, which was written while I was drunk, and mainly concerned a teaching method I'm pleased with, and which, on sober reading, was particularly incoherent.

While on a lesson, the other day, the word "bricolletage" popped into my head.

"Bricolletage" I said to my pupil.

"What?" he replied?

"I don't know. The word just popped into my head."

We googled it and drew a blank. Google suggested some place names, and the word "Bricolage", which I think is what I really meant to think. What I'd thought of was a portmanteau of "Bricolage" and "Decolletage"

Male pupil, by the way.

I know what decolletage means. I didn't consciously know what bricolage means.

Here's what it means, according to the internet...


[bree-kuh-lahzh, brik-uh-]
noun, plural bricolages [bree-kuh-lah-zhiz, ‐lahzh] (Show IPA), bricolage.
a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.
(in literature) a piece created from diverse resources.
(in art) a piece of makeshift handiwork.
the use of multiple, diverse research methods.
 So for this to pop into my head was a happy accident. Bricolage plays a big part in what I do.
The pieces I draw from are often little set pieces that I've developed over time, but I'm forever incorporating new methods, and developing and modifying old ones. Sometimes things don't work, and I discard or change them. Sometimes things work with a particular pupil, but not with another. It's almost always ok to break the fourth wall, and to share what I'm doing with my pupil, not as a driving technique, but as what I'm trying to achieve as a teacher.
It's an approach that has taken me a long way beyond the basics that I was taught, although those core skills also have to be in there. 

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