Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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Tanzania 2015

18/10/15: Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming, and the carol service too,
The choir of St James' Church is in desperate need of you.
Rehearsals start on Friday and we'd love to see you there,
If you've never really sung before or if you have a flair.
Thank you!

At the Cathedral we're starting to get ready for Christmas, with plans for a traditional carol service on Christmas Eve getting going.  I'm getting involved, both as an established member of the Organist team for the English service, and also, crucially, planning to be here this year rather than back in the UK as I have been the previous two.

11/10/15: let's fast forward 4000 years...

Let's fast forward 4000 years and meet Professor Zainassian.  Zainassian is a long established expert in the ancient and obsolete language 'English'.  He established his reputation as a young research student when he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to be part of a team which analysed a chance find of long forgotten 20th century novels.

In going through the novels Zainassian found a very puzzling phrase, 'spend a penny'.  What can this possibly mean?

4/10/15: maths as a life skill - what's important

Greetings from Dar es Salaam, writing this from my balcony with a pleasant breeze coming from the Indian Ocean.  Adapting back to life here, so driving once again, an automatic not a manual, indicators on the right of the steering wheel not the left, and able to make a small amount of use of the horn to mean, "I'm coming past and I don't know whether you've seen me, so here's a warning" which is in accordance with the UK highway code and actually very sensible.  I incline to the view that the horn in the UK is now used too infrequently and almost exclusively to tell other drivers off, thereby denying ourselves quite a useful safety tool.

27/9/15: what I'm noticing being back

Greetings from Eastbourne on the south coast of England where I've been away for the last week.  Even went swimming in the sea on one occasion, slightly different experience to the beach resorts near Dar es Salaam, 'bracing' I think is the word - or maybe 'freezing' would be better?

But it is interesting being mostly away for the last three years, and feeling a bit of a stranger in my own country. So, having grown up in South London and then lived for some years in North London as a teacher and PhD student, I feel I should be comfortable there.

13/9/15: not always so smooth running in the UK either

Greetings from Witney, Oxfordshire, at the beginning of  a 3 week leave period here.  So up at 1am. on Friday morning - 11pm Thursday evening in the UK - to go to Dar es Salaam airport, intermediate stop Istanbul and then on to Heathrow, finally arrving in Witney at about 8pm.  All travelling very smooth if somewhat exhausting, bags joined me without a problem.  Very good to be back for a bit time out, everything carefully left to minimise problems back at the office in my absence - I hope!

9/9/15: hurrah for Her Majesty!

Today is a very important day in British history, as Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch, taking over from Queen Victoria after 23 226 days, approximately 63 years and 7 months.  Over 63 years in one job is the most amazing achievement, my sincere congratulations to Her Majesty, may she have many more years in good heatlh still to come.

God save our Gracious Queen,
Long live our Noble Queen,
God save our Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,

6/9/15: definitely a digital immigrant

To be fair to myself, in many respects I'm a very skilled user of ICT.  I use a computer through the working day, I run classes on the use of ICT in the mathematics classroom, I can often solve problems faced by colleagues, eg. in switching from US to UK English spell checking in Microsoft Word - not as easy as it sounds!

And yet I quite often find myself reminded of my status as a digital immigrant.  A few years ago, when still working as an initial teacher trainer, we had an end of year celebration, as part of which the ICT group had organised an online real time questionnaire in which we were required to text our answers to various fun questions.

30/8/15: a great late birthday present






















































I have previously mentioned Stephen, who stayed with me for a while and is still living in Dar es Salaam.  Also I have previously mentioned bijajis, the 3 wheeled taxis imported from India which are very common here, effectively motorbikes with awnings.

Well, through Stephen and his girlfriend Afua I own a bijaji!  They are testing out a social entrepreneurial model whereby they get investors to buy bijajis which are then rented by trusted drivers, with the investment paid back over a year (possibly up to 2 years in future).

23/8/15: just briefly to say.....

Greetings from Dar es Salaam, after a long day travelling yesterday (Saturday), starting from Arua at 0845, to the local airport catching a small plane to Entebbe, long wait at Entebbe before catching the evening flight to Nairobi and then on to Dar es Salaam, finally arriving back in my flat at about 1.30am. this morning.  This time all travelling went smoothly, knowing in advance about the length of time things will take helps me considerably in getting in the right mental gear.  Have Kindle can travel!

16/8/15: will I NEVER learn?

Good news: I'm currently in Arua, North West Uganda, one of my very favourite places to be.  More good news: I'm here to teach a course on mathematics for primary teachers, one of my very favourite things to do.  As I tend to say, if I'm teaching maths, you don't need to pay me, that's just pure enjoyment.  You do need to pay me to write documents for the Tanzanian Commission for Universities, however!  And have two great two co-facilitators for the course, former students from the Masters programme, one of whom, Wamala, was kind enough to leave a comment on last week's blog post.
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