Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Rods of Destiny

Look, I know I've been keeping very quiet about this for several years now, but I feel the time is ripe for an outing - and I don't mean a day-trip to Margate. You see, it happened quite by chance, after I dropped a few of them on the floor when I was working at the London School of English many years back, and since then I've been hooked on it. I mean, I made a prediction at the time, and it came true!

So what am I on ... about? Why, the rods, of course, the rods! I've been predicting the future with the aid of my trusty cuisenaire rods for a good ten years now, and I have to 'fess up that I'm a convinced (but perhaps not convincing) Cuisenairomancer. And that's nothing to do with shagging in the kitchen, by the way.

In fact, although the noble art of Cuisenairomancy is not recognised by the NHS (or anybody else), I firmly believe that every teacher who has a few of these magic rods in his/her box of tricks possesses the ability to divine the future. Let me give you an example or two, and see if you're with me or not, eh?

Firstly, it's important to use just seven long rods, and take them out of the bag one by one, as you softly intone a Nepalese mantra. The pale colours should emerge first - yellow, light green - leading up to the darker ones, such as dark red, blue, and black. Place them gently and randomly on the desk in front of you, then stand up and turn round twice.

Are all the rods in the same place? They should be! Have you fallen over? If so, you're probably pissed or still hung over, and the whole exercise will be futile. Go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

Now, take all of the rods in your left hand and throw them gently into the air. Remember to stop singing the mantra and keep your mouth closed as you do this, otherwise the consequences could be fatal. As the rods lie resting on the floor, recite the names of Liverpool's greatest goalscorers. Close your eyes and inhale deeply for one minute exactly.

Now, the position the rods have assumed upon landing on the floor is the most important thing in the art of Cuisenairomancy, so pay careful attention to the following details. Get this wrong and you might be assigning yourself a place in hell, or end up committing yourself to a British Council contract in North Korea for two years.

Closely study the patterns that the rods have made on the floor. Two dark rods pointing away from you mean that you will have to work hard for anything useful in your life - but as an EFL teacher you probably know that already. If you can decipher the shape of the number four made by any of the rods, that means trouble at the workplace - so you might want to go and pick a fight with the DoS, just to gain the advantage of surprise.

However, the most important sign is an unbroken circle or square (OK, perhaps even a triangle). If the rods make such a shape or pattern on the floor, you can make a prediction - which will definitely come true! This is what happened to me that fateful day at the LSE back in 1999, and I correctly predicted that I would get the sack by the end of the week. Amazing!

To date I have also predicted England beating Germany 5-1 away, the winners of the past three Grand Nationals, and Alex Case getting married. Of course, there have been a few 'near-misses', too, notably my prediction that I would be chosen to represent the Science Fiction Loony Party in the last UK elections. Unfortunately, I was arrested for thieving a couple of Robert Rankin books instead, and was doing a small spot of porridge at the time the rest of the nation were choosing their political masters. But the odd bum prediction should be seen as casting no shadow over the entire science of Cuisenairomancy, I believe.

Of course, it takes a good while to understand every secret message behind the manifold permutations of the seven magic rods, but have no fear; my book "Cuisenairomancy for Teflers" will be appearing soon, and the discerning EFL teacher can add these rare and exotic skills to his/her ever-expanding range of off-the-wall teaching techniques and quirky classroom tricks.

As for my forthcoming predictions, let me see ... Yes, Scott Thornbury will marry Pete Sharma, and Brighton and Hove Albion will avoid relegation. There will also be a severe earthquake in Harrogate during next month's IATEFL conference, and every Tefl guru you can name will be swept out to sea in the ensuing tsunami.

Don't believe me? Just come back here in a year's time, and we'll see who's got it right or not, mate!

PS: If you don't have any rods at hand, frozen chipolatas might just do the trick instead.


vilges suola said...

Now, the cuisenary rodders are things of deepest joy, as pointed out by Caleb Gattegnole with the dangly ogden and the total physical repose and the reverend Curran, one arrangey for the Present Perfy, two more for the Simply Continual, and huffalo-dowder for the three and sixpenny conditional. Every conscientious teacher can and should trittly-how in the early mordy and follolop the rodders at the foreigners, any time of the month or half past throom in the afterlubrious, here's a joy for the contactimode of the inner whatsit. Oh yes indeed. This encapsulodes my thinky on the rodders, the silent way, suggestopedial, community language learny and all the rest of the garbage patch and Mario Rinvolucrious. Goodleybyeload.

Clarence Rhode said...

Just tried it - I see Paul Lowe is up for the Booker Prize next year, and the decathlon gold medal in the Olympics after that.

Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...

You should include a ***warning*** at the top of the post for those of us with C. Roditus.

An allergy severe enough to hack off the standby teacher, who thought they had a nice three hour run of sitting on their arse and instead has to take over for the fainting form reliving the excruciating memory of not just the whole class looking blank, but the rod operator ending up in such a confused state that there was no face saving exit strategy.

Loathsome things. Having watched my small son be tortured with them in primary maths, don't think they are much cop even in their natural habitat.

Another one to add to my Top Ten TEFL Tirades.

PS Ask them what the winning numbers for SuperEnoLotto are going to be this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I've always been convinced that Cuisenaire rods were just another instrument of terror used by the TEFL snobs to make other teachers feel bad about themselves, a bit like the so-called 'language lab.'

The main thing about cuisenaire
rods is that they are very fiddly, very easy to lose and rather expensive, thus resulting in endless teacher anxiety about whether their class has
returned them all to the box.

But they do make very good projectiles for directing at students who wander 'off-target' during a lesson - just like board markers, in fact, but an upmarket version of them.

Lizzie Love said...

This all sounds fascinating. You Teflers are a wonderfully eccentric bunch! I'm going to google Cuisenaire rods right now!

nmjag said...

that disgusting puff is talking shit again. Why do they think endless innuendos pass for humour?

Paul Owe said...

I don't belong. I don't even begin to belong. Get yer fat lawyers onto this, and hand back yer gongs, ladzzzz!
I have the mark of genius upon me.
20 miles to do a private lesson. pure genius.

vilges suola said...

nmjag, if I am the 'disgusting puff'you allude to, you shit-headed cunt, let me point out that there's no innuendo there, it's just pure nonsense, like The Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Total Physical Response and the rest of the 'humanistic' rubbish.

Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...


Can you stick The Natural Way up at the top of that list.

Bloody school (AUA I think) sold my ex FIL that one in his attempts to get me to speak Thai. Bad enough being on the whiteboard end of trumped up, overstated, evidence free, emperor's new clothes methodology. Being on the student side is about 1000 times worse.

And Mr. Hit The Keyboard Randomly To Find User Name Cos Have So Many in My Sock Puppet Collection That Limited Imagination All Dried Up.......

A little cloze exercise for you.

_______ off.

Anonymous said...

as an innovater of langauge acquisition methdology, I do accept that some learners like those above have no hope of learning language. It's a wonder that they acquired they're first language any way.

Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...

"It's a wonder that they acquired they're first language any way."

Dear Mr. Pot yelling black at the rest of the kitchen, I think you mean their, not they're.

If you are referring to me, I learned both Thai and Italian as second languages just fine, once free of "innovaters" (sic).

Anonymous said...

Dear Kitchen,

I am not only person thinks that you PhD need to understand. Until time, you are learning with no real thesis question.

Oh the waist. Oh the masses...

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Oh dear, I see that this post about 'the rods' has attracted an unexpectedly rare quality of weird and quirky comments. Well done, chaps!

BTW, I would hold back on the nasty comments about our Lathaphobic friend, as he's built like the proverbial prick shithouse. Oops, a Freudian slip, I guess... But the advice remains, matey.

janey said...

You are the only puff so obviously, it is you. I am a human being unlike you who have inappropriate fetishistic compulsions. Is a shit headed cunt one of your weird fantasies - eew.
You are so up your own ass you can't even recognise your own innuendos - oh dear

Nasty non human. You should all be shot. Aren't you embarrassed to be such a ridiculous pervert? A human being would but not you you filth wallower

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes - the dreaded 'filth wallowers'. Y'know, there used to be a good number of them on this blog, and they were, in general, of the courteous and enlightened type of dung-heap inhabitant.

But things have gotten a lot worse over the years, Janey, and I'm afraid that this blog is now attracting the rather baser elements of the filth wallowing community. I can't think why, not at all...

vilges suola said...

Janey darling, I accept that you might possibly be a human being, albeit a silly, stunted and sad example of one. Since you appear to be about fifteen, I hold out hope that you might become something finer in time.

Sandy, I don't ordinarily approve of censorship, but for Christ's sake, need these daft, illiterate, know-nothing twinks be allowed to pester the grown-ups?

vilges suola said...

Or are they all your own creations?

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Not my creations, mate - mine are much more sophisticated, as I'm sure you're aware(!)

I'm a bit reluctant to pull comments, but I'll bear your words and feelings in mind in future. After all, I wouldn't want anybody to feel offended on this blog, would I?!

Except the cunts who deserve it, of course...

bilge scuola said...

Thus spake the fascist. As Churchill said the new fascists will be the anti-fascists. Well they are here amongst us human beings now. “But I believe in free speech I hear you cry, but only if you agree with me”.
Poor old bugger, if he finds it offensive, he can turn away but no – it must be banned.
Not being a frequenter of paedophile homo websites I have no reason to say they should be banned, but the new liberal fascists will not rest until all real people have been wiped out.
You heard it here first. If you are homosexual you are officially more mature than human beings. Really? I would have thought unresolved inappropriate sexual focus was the epitome of lack of wisdom.

vilges suola said...

I am offended only by moronic arguments such as'the new liberal fascists will not rest until all real people have been wiped out' not by ideas I disagree with. Nothing unresolved about my sexual focus, mate: I like men. If you think that's inappropriate it's your unresolved problem, not mine.

Anonymous said...

Vilges, if you feel like fighting them, go for it, but I'd suggest you get on with your life rather than waste your time bothering with the half-witted, ignorant shite in the comments on this blog.

The last time I visited this site it was amusing, but I'm going to unsubscribe, it's just dull and many comments are unreasonably obnoxious.

I'm not gay, but for fuck's sake. Are these comments from real people? Are they people in the efl teaching community? I thought teflers were some of the most liberal around, I suppose I was wrong. I feel like I've stumbled upon a Daily Mail blog.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Fair comment, and I must say this is the first time I've had any openly anti-gay and hostile remarks on this blog. I think in future (i.e., as from now) I'll have to tell certain people to hold off on the reactionary stuff - or else.

Look, if you really want to insult a true weirdo, just hop over to the Windsor Swindler blog, where you can throw brickbats at Paul Lowe all day long. He's well used to that sort of treatment now, I can assure you, and won't take offence. Well, not too much.

vilges suola said...

I don't mind 'reactionary' if it's intelligently expressed. It's the brainlessness we needn't put up with.

William Frederickson said...

Clarence Rhodes said earlier:

'I see Paul Lowe is up for...and the decathlon medal in the 2012 Olympics afterr that.'

Clarence,you aren't dispeptic...dishcle...fugging hell...dyslexic are you? Did you misread 'defecation' as 'decathlon?'I for one wouldn't put it past the Olympics governing body to include defecation as a spectator sport...I mean ,the buggers included beach volleyball played by nubile girlies almost in their bare skuddies recently! Are there a lot of Germans on the Olympics board of judges or summat?And do the competitors have to bring their own glass-toppedcoffee tables or is Coca-Cola sponsoring this new event?