Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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29/9/13: bats in Tunguu caves

Life at work extremely busy at the moment, a little about that at the end of this post.  Meanwhile, trip to Zanzibar - and also Iringa - good for a few posts yet, even if the holiday does feel like a distant memory...

Whilst in Zanzibar took a day out with Yusuf, a great taxi driver and tour guide, looking to say some of the not-so-usual tourist sites.  One of the places we went to was Tunguu Caves. You could be very close and not see the entrance to them, they get used for ascetic religious observance by a number of different groupings.  Very strange experience going down there, meeting the roots of trees:

Also the stalagmites and stalactites (spelling?) were jolly interesting:

Also in the caves are huge numbers of bats.  In some places there is very little headroom, sharing a space with bats flying in all directions is a bit interesting!  Difficult to take pictures of them, I took some video which is too big to upload here, if you're interested I'll find a way of cutting it and putting it on a subsequent post.  Anyway, here are some pictures:

Really you have to be there!  So, a jolly interesting excursion some way off the normal tourist routes.

Very pleased to say that I'm currently teaching on 'Mathematics Education II'.  As I say to the students, this doesn't feel like work, it's pure enjoyment - hopefully for them as well as for me!  The danger here is that, if I'm not careful, the teaching can feel like a distraction from handling applications, preparing documents for scrutiny by assorted bodies, etc. etc.

Last Wednesday I was addressing a particular point in algebra, and set them what appears to be a very simple question which I know from experience - and is well written up in the research literature - that many experienced teachers get wrong.  So, initially things went very much as I expected.  Where we deviated from the norm is when one of the students said, 'Can you pause a moment so that we can reflect on this', and for quite some time they had a conversation amongst themselves - I couldn't hear every detail but I could hear enough to know that they were very much on task.  I can honestly say that I have never before dealt with any group of students at any level who have taken that level of responsibility for their own learning.  So, note to self: this may be enjoyment but it is also an important reason why I am here, and must not get lost in the middle of multitudinous admin responsibilities.

If you would like further details on the point in algebra I was addressing, do feel free to ask!  And do please leave comments, at the moment I only seem to be getting spam...

2 Comments to 29/9/13: bats in Tunguu caves:

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Jenny Spence on 14 October 2013 11:52
Yes please do elaborate on the algebra ...
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Geoff on 15 October 2013 05:21
I hope this is all right, I've replied by private email. Much as I'd love to give a detailed answer here, strongly suspect that most of the readership aren't interested - more's the pity! Thank you for getting in touch, Geoff

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