23 October 2011

That taught them!

Two more sessions and it’s the end of the teaching course. And one of these I’ll miss this time, and I’ll have to compensate for that by doing the equivalent session in the January course, and until then it’s not over, but still, the end is nigh.

In the meantime I got to give my own presentation. I chose mine exploration. And more specifically: the use of mine exploration in the Southwest to individual and society. And a colleague I showed this presentation to already pointed out I might have chosen the subject just to show off with spectacular pictures. I admit that’s part of the story! More practical and justifiable reasons contributed too. Honestly.

Anyway. I delivered. One of the things I did, as it was a teaching course, was ask the audience if they could come up with some reasons why mine exploration had any use. And they did! I thought they would say things such as that it keeps you fit, and that it’s adventurous, but the room thought more practical. Especially two African gentlemen who thought more of exploiting any ore we might still come across… I’m not sure if this is a sign of them being less decadent and leisure-minded as us western Europeans, and more inclined to tap into commercial possibilities, but it might be. And perhaps they haven’t been numbed by western European over-regulating! As if we have the mineral rights of any ore we come across. Let alone any H&S issues involved if these mines would become someone’s workspace again… I thought it was interesting to see that unexpected angle from which to see the topic.

One of the pictures I used in my presentation

I went on, finished my talk, and later got the feedback sheets. Absolutely everyone mentioned I had been talking too fast! I had been. Everyone who’s ever heard me give a presentation will recognise that. But many said I can tell a tale with riveting enthusiasm. This tale, at least. I hope I can muster as much if I’m talking about sea level, or foraminifera, or something else more scientific. All in all it was a good exercise: as it went well it boosted my confidence, and I got useful criticism!

In the meantime we have also discussed things such as marking; there’s a lot to say about that if you delve in somewhat deeper! And plagiarism. And lots more. And we’re working on a presentation on Cognitive Information Processing we have to deliver on the last day. They keep us busy. But it’s worth it!

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