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Why I Write “The Best…” Lists — And Their Future

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With the number of my “The Best…” lists approaching 600, I thought it might be useful to share why I write them and what I have in mind for them over the next twelve months.

Coincidentally, The New York Times recently ran an essay on this very topic — titled “The Joy Of Lists”.” In it, Arthur Krystal writes:

“….there is something reassuring about a list, a precision and formality that makes us think we’ve got a handle on things. Isn’t every list in reality a ceremonial flourish against amnesia and chaos?”

In many ways, that says it all for — my “The Best…” lists are how I combat my own amnesia and the chaos of the Information Age. I have developed my short critieria — accessible to English Language Learners; I can learn how to use it within one minute; and it’s useful to my own teaching and learning — and just won’t include anything on the lists that I don’t believe “make the cut.”

I’ve got to say that when I began writing the lists three-and-a-half years ago I never expected them to reach the quantity they have now. And that number presents some challenges. I work hard at regularly revising and updating all of them, and during the next twelve months will approach those revisions in a more systematic way.

Even though I think these lists help in refining the chaos of the Web for me (and for other teachers), their quantity can even get overwhelming for me sometimes. So, during the next year, I’m going to start writing a new series of lists that highlight my choices for “The Best Of The Best” in various broader categories.

And, of course, I’ll be creating new topics as current events dictate, and as my own teaching needs arise.

I hope these “The Best…” lists are as helpful to you as they are to me…..

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Larry – I always find your lists helpful. Thanks for sharing them!

  2. Please, do keep this blog open. I love your lists and everything you share here and in twitter. You know I’m a devoted fan of everything under your label.

    I wanted to share here the wikispace I’m currently working on. It is devoted to students of EFL enrolled in a post-compulsory Vocational & Training School. I’m a pioneer in the field, unfortunately, since English, nor any other modern language, has never been taught in Spain before in Middle and Superior Vocational Studies withg the exception of a few modules in Tourism and the like.

    The sad thing is that I haven’t still met anyone teaching in any other vocational school like mine. I know we are very few EFL teachers, and still fewer the number of those who have willingly chosen this path.
    Enough whining already!

    Have a very Happy New Year!

  3. Lists are great! Especially when they lead to action…

  4. I find all your posts great, and the lists are especially useful to me because they remind me of things you’ve mentioned earlier. Thanks so much for the enormous help you are to me and to the blogosphere, Larry!

  5. I’m a middle school media specialist who finds your accessible sites perfect for kids working independently at lunch and after school. Please don’t ever stop making them!

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