Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Getting there


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

There i sat in the staffroom clipping together excel graph explanation worksheets and talking to a colleague, who has a brilliant system: he's teaching a research class, and each week the students respond by email to a topic students brainstormed at the beginning of term. They send in either trivia quiz questions/discussion questions/ offer to do a presentation or bring in some AV materials, he synthesises it all in a worksheet and bingo the students run the class! Phenomenal! And then in comes this young gentleman, a colleague, I thought....

It took me a moment to realize it was one of my students come early to make prints of their group handout: in his perfect business attire, he looked so much like another one of us lecturers! It turns out all my students bar two had come in the full business attire! and all looked so professional, impressive! Not only that, it's raining again, so it shows they are taking the course really seriously, I am touched.

The trains are late, said one of the students, after I had landed in the classroom and dashed off again to make prints for a late group and reappeared. Okkk, i said, let me give you the optional homework, and handed out a wee article on how Halloween is boosting the US economy with sales of home decorations courtesy of the Yomiuri and a colleague. No extra marks for reading this, I replied, after a query from one of the students, just keep reading and put new words in your vocab sheet next week. (Sometimes the way some students think everything has to be related to the marks surprises me, as a student and even now, I personally enjoy the input of having reading material to glance at and read or not, simply for interest...)
Then I handed out the excel worksheets and said our next presentation will involve a survey, and make sure you know how to make graphs with excel in order to make visuals for the survey.

Then I asked students to sit with their groups, I took a table at the back to get an overview of visuals, voice projection and team aura, and handed out five worksheets to different teams for marking. I also quickly ran through how to use the marking sheet again, running back to the fronat and telling students to write the name of the presentation at the top, their name, and the names of the presentation team, and to mark the relevant rubric box with a color pen, doing it myself with my highlight pen so they get the idea, then add up the marks...We don't have a sheet, piped up some groups...you don't need it, I said, again, (thinking...they're not listening...all wrapped up with last minute preparations...) five people only per presentation will be marking, but there are eight presentations, so you will all be marking at least once for one presentation today. I'm kind of not quite sure whether i was speaking english or japanese at this point, then I sat down again and had to jump up again as the handout didn't come, and some other people wanted more handouts too....after much huffing and puffing it turns out the group near the window had just dumped a load of handouts and got on with their own pre-presentation conferencing....confusion, hither and thither, me jumping like a rabbit trying to sort out handouts for everyone...

  1. at 9:41-45 we finally got to begin the first presentation: Leveraged Buyouts
  2. 9:52-56 Annual General Meetings
  3. 10:03-10:08 Bonds
  4. 10-14-10:20 Exchange Rates
  5. Short Break
  6. 10:30-35 Bonds
  7. 10:39-45 Annual General Meetings
  8. 10:46-52 Exchange Rates

Inbetween presentations 1, 2 and 3 I was running around blindly trying to get people to hand in their rubric ratings sheets, add up the scores or write their names, getting quite upset as people would not respond, asking people to put up their hand if they were marking this next presentation to reconfirm numbers, with minimal response,,,and one team only had four markers in the end, so I need to tighten up my system of handing out the five new prints to groups, and collecting the old marked ones, students are so distracted by their own presentations, (an afterthought now:maybe get the first group of presentors to help me??? ) towards the end they got the hang of the marking more, as they saw their friends doing it, although they all mostly forgot to write in titles of presentation, so I had to ask them to take back the sheet and write it in again, or I lost track of which one it is they are rating.

One of the ladies was rating attire according to looks....fortunately as i collected it I noticed, this group all had business suits, i said, oh, you mean it's not my preference in men, she said, no, i said, it's what they're wearing, your personal preference is irrelevant at this point...read the rubric, it says "attire"....she happily added on the extra marks for the team. In fact all teams today made sure they got the full six points for attire, and the handouts, barring one team which had none, were all quite good, ranging from okay to superb.


We also lost time inbetween as i read out the collected marks to the teams which had just presented: seems I mark more severely than students, still wondering how to weight my judgement, will think it out at home in peace.

Towards the end i said, ok, who's next, up for grabs, first come first served, and the last two groups moved into place smoothly, the mark sheets also came to me smoothly, the only person who had no time to finish the second last rubric was me as i tried to keep track of the incoming mark sheets! I need a secretary....here in the quiet of home i think it all went really well, only the last group to present had no time and will do it next week. I apologized, since two of them were in full regalia, but one sweetly said they had other commitments to go to in formal attire today anyway...a white lie? whatever, felt really reassuring.

Only one of my guys just marked the whole rubric full marks, which since this was towards the end we were rushed for time, i had not the peace of mind to question...I guess the team will benefit, having five judges plus me means it will balance out, even so...an unaddressed issue there...

in fact, he and two others were asking me about the marks system for the course ( five marks out of a hundred, four presentations and four vocab sheets plus the summer assignment) as we all left and i was packing up, but i was distracted by having to put away all the summer assignments and handouts and mark scores in my bag so i didn't think to get into any nitty gritty with him over his attitude. i sense a wish to somehow swim by without doing any work....just sit there and dream the time away, I'm here so i pass the course, right? sort of attitude, but maybe i'm getting it wrong...will look at the summer assignment.

I have a feeling of great satisfaction, what is still lacking is data synthesis for handouts and delivery skills, the emphasis and highlighting of words, not just reading a body of words you studied but the listener has no clue about, but on the other hand there were moments of magic, dynamic personality and enthusiasm here, phenomenal confident posture and great eye contact there, a whiff of incorporating dialogue and great teamwork here, some really well researched content and ideas there, a handout to emulate popped up, introductions to admire flourished intermittently, great use of whiteboard was in evidence briefly....fantastic learning opportunities for the students as they shared their efforts. I hope they feel that way about the day too, there was much to be gleaned.

Now I really can no longer avoid marking the summer assignments, nor checking over vocab sheets, and calculating and copying the first marks for the presentations into my student files. This will be a busy week, but I feel like my mountain is sitting here now, can't get any bigger, now I have a clear week from tomorrow to begin to attack it, like a dung beetle rolling around giant balls in my horns, get my back into the labor and roll it all into place.