Thursday, October 11, 2012
October 11, 2012
I was out of bed by six in the morning, and it was pitch black outside. I had to check the clock on the microwave oven to make sure it wasn’t midnight. After my coffee, I sat down to write the minutes from the meeting we held yesterday to submitted to Gulnora for her review and approval before it goes to everybody else. I also located the documents I got last year from the organizers of the NELTA conference in Nepal so we could use those as a guideline for designing ours. I emailed those to Anna for her perusal prior to our meeting on Monday.
I then turned my attention to finding a piece of text the teachers could read and use to model the Bloom’s taxonomy actions that would constitute the bulk of our session today. I settled for a four page biography of Helen Keller and emailed it to Bazilat asking her copy it back-to-back for the attendees. I put the finishing touches on the PowerPoint presentation I had started on Tuesday.
The weather was perfect for a long walk and it took me some twenty minutes to get to the KNU campus. Students were spilling out of the classroom where they had had a Chinese class and their instructor tried to initiate a conversation with me in Russian, but of course, that was a no go. He said he had forgotten his English and I told me him I only knew five words in Russian.
Asel, one of Gulnara’s assistant, came with the laptop and projector and got everything set up for me. Bazilat came in a few minutes later and brought the photocopies but not double sided as I had requested so as to save paper. We started out with the name game and then a series of questions for each group as to the steps they took while preparing their lessons. Few of them could articulate what they thought about when putting together their lesson plan, much less use action words to describe what the students would do to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.
One teacher didn’t know the meaning of the word “variable” despite several illustrations and examples and the apparent fact that the term was very similar to its Russian counterpart. I was mentioning the need to take all variables into account when planning their lessons so as to insure that they’d reach all students and were aware of factors that could hinder comprehension.
After reviewing the different levels of the Bloom’s pyramid, I had then read a portion of the text on Helen Keller and had to rush to get them to give specific example from each column of what they would have their students do to show they had understood what they had read. There is one very eager teacher that sits at the front and answers every question I pose without giving other participants a chance to participate. I need to have a talk with her.
Gulnara came into the classroom for a little bit and then disappeared again. She left her purse and another bag in the room and then asked me to wait for her when the session was over. She returned with her little girl who had just gotten out of school. She was disappointed that only thirteen teachers showed up today, three new ones included, and was at a loss as to how she could motivate more of them to come. I advised her not to fret since she was not in a position to offer any monetary incentives to the teachers beyond the certificate that the embassy would issue at the end.
Gulnara said that she only expects another twenty teachers to show up for the general association meeting on Saturday out of some 200 members they have on the roster. I’m even wondering if this meeting is worth attending at all especially since it is supposed to last for two hours. Yikes!
I was expecting Nurkys, my new Russian teacher, to show up a six o’clock and so I hurried to prepare dinner: pickled fish from the Korean vendor, polenta and my version of Tajikistan tossed salad. I had delicious repast, but the teacher didn’t show up and I didn’t bother to call her. Instead, I sat down to watch a film I had been meaning to see for the longest time: The Ugly American with Marlon Brando sporting a mustache. I would like to get hold of the book on which the movie was based as the dialogue was intriguing and witty.