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…..