Friday, 13 October 2017

Lesson one take three

The low energy building class is now in its third year, and the make up of the students was much more like one of my regular classes. There were over thirty students, up from seventeen last year and nine the previous year. I think there is only one foreign student this year, where half the class or more has been exchange students in the past.

Around half of the students are architects, again. There are a few from the Faculty of Textile Technology, a biologist, an economist, and others studying education, humanities and American Cinema.

There are also a couple of members of the public taking the class. In the first year I also had two of these students, although they stopped coming after a few weeks. I'm not sure how much this was an indictment of my class or wether they just got too busy in their lives, and could write off the very low fees that the university charges. Anyway, I hope they will stay this year. One of them works for a large supplier of building parts, so I hope to have some time to discuss business with him.

In the first week's online quiz, I asked them what language they wanted to speak, and what language they wanted me to speak. The majority want me to mostly speak in English, and they want to speak some English and some Japanese. Nobody wants to only speak English, and only one person wants me to only speak Japanese. This gives me a mandate to speak some Japanese in class, and also an incentive to add some Japanese to my slides.

The first lesson followed the same plan as before. I gave them a few simple mathematics problems to make sure they will not be too overwhelmed in the rest of the class. They were just designed to check they can manipulate formulae.

I also threw in a different kind of question: How many pencils are in this room?

They were working in groups, but not allowed to talk to other groups. Answers ranged from 12 to 60. The middle answer—30—was remarkably close to the actual number—31. This was an opportunity to introduce guesstimation, and emphasise that usually we need to find answers based on limited information.