Friday, October 30, 2009

The tadpole has blossomed

Completed a marathon week of consults with the kids. Never talked so much in all my life. Every consult, whether small group or lone student seems to go by so quickly. Before I know it, the next consult has arrived and awaits my attention. This goes on pretty much the whole day, with a break for some lunch in between.

I'm actually having fun 'cos as I go over questions I keep unearthing new ideas while I practice sharing them with the kids in terms they can understand. It's great when they do, but when they don't, it's an opportunity to try harder and come up with some kind of explanation, even an analogy, that does work.

Like this one consult who wrote a generally decent enough essay including a point on how international cooperation is increasing in the area of environmental conservation. Then he promptly followed up with an example: the failure of the Kyoto Protocol in getting the USA to ratify the agreement. O_o I asked him why he produced this piece of evidence, he said it was an example he recalled from his revision notes. Every claim must have an example and this was an example, was it not?

Indeed, it was an example. But it's like a defence attorney asserting that the defendant did not commit the murder, and here's the bloody dagger with his fingerprints all over the handle to prove it.

That's the danger of blindly applying formula, doing things because one must because it is integral to the formula, rather than for a reason and a purpose towards developing a logical argument. I believe he got my point, and hopefully he won't make the same mistake again.

Anyway, I didn't mean to relate that story. What I did want to say is that after a week of near non-stop talk for hours on end, the tadpole from last week has blossomed into a full-blown bullfrog in my throat. Henceforth I shall be known as the Hoarse Whisperer. I'm taking a vow of silence to last me through the weekend. Maybe the rest will restore my golden honeyed tones once again, allowing me to survive one last (packed) week of consults before (finally) the Finals.

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