Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 18, 2012

A light snow fell all day long while the sky remained leaden. Temperatures went from a -6 to just 1 degree by the late afternoon. I felt sluggish and unenthusiastic about going to the Arabaev University to present my session on motivating students as it was going to be pretty much a straight-forward lecture devoid of any interactive activities except for a survey for the teachers to complete
I made muesli for breakfast while catching up with the news and later on brought out another piece of flat bread from the freezer to heat it up and have it with cheese for lunch. I haven’t been grocery shopping for days now and the pickings were slim to say the least. The last bowl of lentil soup was in the fridge waiting for me to have it for dinner, but beyond that, I had no idea what I’d be cooking.

The ongoing racket from the fifth floor started early and at one point I was so fed up with it that I picked up my Russian/English dictionary and walked up to the tenant’s door knocking loudly on it. The TV could be heard and then feet shuffling around, but no one came to answer it. I knocked even louder then and a middle age woman answered by only partially opening the door. I mimed the fact that there was a lot of noise coming from her unit into mine, and she pointed to her feet, encased in a pair of felt slipper, to indicate she was trying to make as little noise as possible. I couldn’t tell if any construction was going. That had been a futile action on my part.

Asel, from the Kyrgyz National University, called to say she wanted to have her class observation tomorrow at 8:00, which I’d hate to have to do, but then it’d dovetail nicely into my Russian lesson, so I left it at that.
The ride to the university was a nightmare as riders had apparently been waiting for quite some time under the frigid temperatures and persistent snow and insisted on packing in as tightly as they could manage when their particular marshrutka came by. You really have to turn into a contortionist to be able to get off these vehicles on such day even when you’re standing practically next to the door.

Twelve teachers showed up for the season, a lot if you ask me for the weather was simply beastly. We had the usual technical glitches with the laptop translating my PowerPoint into Russian without being asked, but we finally moved into asking the teachers for their definition of motivation and what they did to motivate students. I’ve already noticed that many of these teachers are reluctant to write down anything, whether for lack of confidence or otherwise, and only want to discuss the issue verbally in spite of my asking for a list of talking points. As a result, what could have been a lively discussion with opposing or supporting viewpoints turns into a short list that everyone claims to agree with.

I provided the student survey they could use to find out that their students prefer to learn and the teacher’s immediacy scale to determine how approachable their students found them and then moved on to the points listed in the lecture. Yes, it might have been a bit boring, but none of the teachers offered any comments or had questions regarding the recommendations being made in it except to say that their culture dictated that the teach in a different manner and that it’d take a lot of effort to try and change it.

I turned right around and returned to my flat where I needed to work on the presentation for Thursday. I watched Piers Morgan interviewing yet another moron spouting the idea that more guns in the United States would make its citizens safer. The look of disgust on Pier’s face was all that was needed to show this slime ball that he needed to get off the air with his diatribe.

I found it curious that only one person, Gulnara from Lingua, had mentioned the shooting to me at all. When the Aurora massacre happened, I was living in Tajikistan, numerous people came up to me to express their condolences for the loss of life. I’m unable to tell whether this means that people here don’t follow international news or that they couldn’t care less what happens in the country most of them express a wish to go for either study or work.

For my daily fix of movies, I got to watch “Silver Streak”, a film I had never heard of, but that given the pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor immediately told it’d be worthwhile. It’s too bad I had to wait until the middle for the movie to finally see Pryor pop up. A most delightful comedy, indeed.

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