24/09/2014 - The fun of working with large numbers.

we are in the large hall I have the microphone and I am like a TV presenter who walks between people in the audience asking questions and opinions and more and more students take the initiative and want to answer, the microphone and me going up and down makes it sort of funny and students are relaxing.

much enjoyment in watching Rosling introducing Gapminder (the best stats), where students at the beginning complain that "it is too fast" and I say "good, it is great practice, remember you don't need to be able to answer all questions and we are working together, the important thing is to try and try our best etc. etc." so as per schedule we break the clip in 3 parts and 5 questions are given before each part and they get better and better, and it is my "good, very good" or "very good starting point let's try work on it who can help" and so on, and that pushes them and the two hours seem to fly.

so the experiment seems to be working, and although it is early to say it seems to be possible to work with around 200 students, involving them constantly, there is no teaching but a lot of learning through working together, and it is possible to interact even with those sitting in the last rows (who at the beginning raise concerns about not being able to get the microphone!) it seems possible it just requires a lot of work & walk!

but life is not always "landing on a bed of roses" (quoting a Maths Camp student) and so at the end, when we are 5 minutes overtime and we are concluding some of the students give me the time warning (which I had requested), I say "OK let's finish this quickly - Do you have a class?" - hesitation and then a number of students answering "yes" and I ask "fine, at what time?", "at 4" (which means in 10 minutes time). we conclude and I start packing and then one student from the first row say "we don't have any class", so I grab the microphone again and ask to everyone not to move, a few words but it is enough to pass the message, this is not serious, do you need to do that, it would have been okay to say you are tired and it is time to go, this is about respecting each other, I am trying my best to be good to you, to serve you, but if you don't appreciate this and don't show respect why should I do this, such a waste of an opportunity etc. etc.Watching TED talks

and I let them go. not a disillusionment, after all it is about expectations and I don't have any (truly, this is an experiment) apart from seeing some of them finding this good, which is to be seen

but while I am packing I hear more than a voice saying "sorry Madam", from those who did not give the misleading information but also from the others, and this which I did not expect is the best feeling

then a couple of girls come up to the stage they greet and their voice tremble, it is clear they want to say something but none of the two takes the initiative first then they seem to gain courage and one starts "we want to say that we really like the way you teach us, we are getting everything you teach, we are learning, we admire that you left your country to come here and no matter where you will go we will always remember you, be blessed" it is a lot to take in but they go on and further apologise for what has happened and they "hope that I will not be hurt by this" so I feel I should reassure them "don't worry I know these things happen they don't pull me down it is okay"

of course they don't pull me down. if then you have moments like this, how could this pull you down!

today 25 more students asked to join our folder.


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