Mike in Finland

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sampola discussion topic for Tuesday 25 September

This is the discussion topic for the class on 25 September.

Decision Making

1.         What kind of decision maker are you?  
                        Good:  Bad:  Average
Would you say you are decisive or indecisive?
Why?  Give some examples to illustrate.
Is being decisive the same thing as being a good decision maker?
Can you be indecisive and a good decision maker?

2.         Do you usually make decisions quickly, or deliberate for a long time?
Does it always depend on how important the decision is?
Can you think of a big decision you took very quickly or a small decision that you thought about for ages?
Describe your decision making process indifferent situations, e.g. buying a flat or house, buying a car, deciding which restaurant to eat at, deciding what to study, buying a new sofa, buying a new fridge, deciding where to go for a holiday.
Do you have a system or process for making decisions?
What steps do you go through to ensure that your decision is the right one?
Do you remember being in an emergency situation when you had to make a decision immediately?
What happened?

3.         Have you heard of the phenomenon of bad decision making (aka sunk cost fallacy)? Here are some examples:
You are half-way to a shop when you realize that at this time it is closed, but you keep going anyway
After 10 or 15 minutes of a film you realise that you don’t like it, but you keep watching to the end
Ditto a book
You keep paying to repair a very old car that is sure to cost more money than it’s worth
Continuing to watch videos on FB even though you know they are not worth it
Do you ever do any of the above, or something similar?
What other examples of this kind of reasoning can you think of?

4.         Do you know anyone who is very indecisive, or slow to make decisions?
Do you use any methods to help them arrive at a decision?
Have you ever been in a position when you had to wait for someone else’s decision before you could move ahead with an action, e.g. at work or organizing an event or travel?
What was the outcome?
What can you do if you ask for a written decision from someone, e.g. by email, and you know from experience that they may not reply?


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Read the poems with the poet at Sampola

Read the poems with the poet is a new, short course that will take place in Sampola 4 times on Tuesdays at 19.30-21.00. The course will start on 30.01 and finish on 20.02. In the 4 classes we will read and discuss poems from my collection, Midas Touch, in English. I can supply copies of the book at 8€. It's also available on Kindle, which is a bit cheaper.

Here is the blurb from Sampola's spring term brochure:

In 4 classes we will read poems from 'Midas Touch', a short collection published by the class teacher, Mike Horwood. About 4 or 5 poems will be selected a week in advance to give students time to read and think about the poems. In the class students can compare their readings of each poem, describe what the poem says to them and how they responded to it. There will be the chance to ask the poet any questions about the poems and to hear what he was trying to do in writing the poem.

To join the course you can register via internet at Sampola's website starting from 12 o'clock, midday on 4 December, or by phone and in person at the office counter, starting from 2 January.

There are a couple of poems from the collection at the top of the right bar on this blogpage.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Discussion topic for Sampola class on Tuesday 12 December

General Information:

There is no class on 05.12.   The final class will be on 12.12.   

The topic for the next class on Tuesday 12 December is:

The list of ways to save money at Christmas which I forgot to copy on the paper copies I handed out in the last class can be found at the end of this post.

Christmas and New Year

1.         What plans do you have for the Christmas and New Year period?
Will you be travelling anywhere for a day out or a longer period?
Will you be going to see any shows?
Will you be entertaining at home?

2.         What preparations will you do before Christmas?
What menu will you have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Have you planned any other special meals during the festive season?
Who does the cooking in your home?
Have you bought any/all of your Christmas presents yet?
Who among your family and friends is the most difficult person to think of a present for?

3.         Have you already had a Little Christmas party?
Was it a workplace party, or some other group?
Where was the party?
Was there a programme?

4.         Is it possible to reduce the cost of Christmas by shopping around?
Try to think of ways of saving some money on Christmas items, and then compare your ideas with the list from The Guardian (see below).
Which ones were on your list?
Which do you think are a good way to save money?
Have you found any good deals this year or earlier?

5.         Is there any trend in Finland towards alcohol-free drinks?
Has the idea of non-alcoholic drinks been promoted recently?
Have you heard of mindful drinking, Club Soda, or Jussi Tolvi?
Is there a good and interesting range of alcohol-free drinks
Is there such a thing as a non-alcoholic drinks festival?

6.         Do you have any special plans for New Year’s Eve?
Do you usually have fireworks at midnight?

7.         What is your weather forecast for Christmas and New Year?
Will it be a white Christmas in Tampere?
What about other parts of Finland?

The Guardian’s list of ways to spend less at Christmas.

Full details at:

1.         Avoid unsuccessful presents, e.g. vouchers for hot air balloon trips or exercising equipment.

2.         Shop around for good offers on alcohol.

3.         Shop around for a good price for a Christmas tree.

4.         Buy presents online for good savings.

5.         Use the internet to find cheap tickets for Christmas shows.

6.         Compare prices for car hire.

7.         Book train and bus tickets in advance.

8.         Don’t use a London airport if you’re flying somewhere.

9.         Only buy items that include the right to return and get a refund or exchange.

10.       Agree with extended family members on a system of selective present giving for adults in the extended family – there are apps that can organize who is the buyer for each adult family member.