Wednesday, 22 August 2012

- and Some Fell on Stony Ground

Many years ago, when I was following my Postgraduate Certificate in Education to qualify as a teacher, my tutor for the English part of the course was a gentleman - and I use this word advisedly, for a gentleman he certainly was - called Gilbert Bennett. Mr. Bennett had retired a year or two previously , but responded to an SOS call from the University to shepherd us through the first half or so of the course. Some of us on the course could be quite bolshie at times, and there were times when it would become fairly obvious that we, wet behind the ears and full of ourselves as some of us were, quite clearly disagreed with some of his ideas about teaching. On such occasions he would look at us more in sorrow than in anger, shake his head, look down to his shoes, and whisper the words, "And some fell on stony ground.". I think, thiss evening, I can appreciate exactly where he was coming from.

We´ve just said adios amoebas to the other participants in La Gran Tarde del Concurso. How did it go ? Well - OK , I thought immediately afterwards. Only now, well, I´m not so sure. The use of multiple choice questions was highly sensible . As for the smut, well I thought I´d misjudged it until I first asked how many moons circle Uranus, and followed it up by asking what the best thing to do with Lord Hereford´s Knob is - the best of the choices being to sit on top of it and admire the view, being as it is a mountain about 7 km from Hay on Wye.

However, and it pains me to admit this, but the fact is that the most successful part of the quiz was nothing really to do with me. I hadn´t done a handout, but Mary came up with a list of 20 famous people, and all the teams had to take it in turns to say whether the named celebrity was still alive, or had passed away. A little ghoulish, perhaps, but it kind of followed on from a conversation in the local cafe yesterday where one of the people who was coming to the quiz asked me, apropos of nothing, whether Geoff Capes is still alive. Mary didn´t put the former World´s Strongest Man into the list, but the ones she did seemed to go down really well.

As I´m sitting here, writing this, it seems that the post mortem has begun. I´ve just been told that the questions were far too hard ( that´s why they were multiple choice , d´oh !) Hmm . well, I´m not being funny, but the boys scored 47 out of 60 and the girls got 48 out of 60. Hardly pathetic scores, wouldn´t you say ? Apparently both teams would have been in the mid 50s had they not thrown away correct answers. You can tell that they aren´t experienced quizzers, can´t you ? Because , as we all know , that´s what quizzing is actually like ! You do get bloomin´ frustrated sometimes when the correct answer is on the table, but it doesn´t go down on the paper. As I´ve just been trying to explain, only on a very few occasions have i had every question right in a pub quiz - and on these rare occasions it was actually a rather boring evening.

What was a little sad was the fact that only two of them bothered to say thank you for doing the quiz. Don´t get me wrong, I wasn´t expecting a standing ovation, but it would have been nice if the others had shown maybe just a tiny bit of recognition that I did spend a couple of hours putting the quiz together in order to give them an evening´s entertainment - even if they maybe didn´t really enjoy it that much. Still, it´s all proof that quizzing isn´t for everyone, I suppose.


Watergrass Jon said...

Yep, punters can be an ungrateful lot! On the subject of multiple choices, I cut my quiz setting teeth on doing chatroom quizzes a long time ago, and one of the types of question we used (as well as the "dead or alive" question) was "American, British, Canadian" where a celebrity was named and everyone had to say A, B or C as to where they were born. Just an idea.

Londinius said...


Like it a lot. You could do it as a continental thing even. Hmmm - I think I can feel a handout for the rugby club coming on . . ..