Educated & Entertained

I had my first microteaching skills seminar today as part of the Teaching in Higher Education course I’m taking. We had to give a 10 minute lecture on an academic topic in our respective fields and teach it to our classmates (who were all PhD students in various fields). We were then critiqued by our peers and evaluated by an expert on teaching skills, as well as video-taped for our own ‘viewing pleasure’ *ugh*. :P

These were the titles of the mini-lectures we had in my session:

Air-borne Contamination at the Birth of Microbiology
Emerging Semiconductor Materials: Colloidal Nanocrystals
Epistemological Presuppositions
Introduction to Galaxies
Stress and Health Problems

The sheer diversity was mind-boggling and oh-so FUN FUN FUN! What other classroom would put microbiology, electrical and electronic engineering, social psychology, philosophy, astronomy and health sciences together? :)

On the spur of the moment, I decided to accept the invitation of a classmate to watch the New Opera Showcase at the Faculty of Music as her friend was the composer of one of the contemporary operas. The showcase was the ‘grand finale’ of a course on composing for contemporary opera. It was a free concert and the performance hall was packed!

The operas were light and humorous in theme. My favourite opera was “Taking Out The Trash” which is about a Faculty of Music student who was so stressed that he decided to live in a trash can to his parents’ dismay and to operatic effects. There was also a story about a new kind of ATM – an automatic teller that would tell you things you would rather not know about your life – automatically. For romance, there was “The Lady Doth Protest Too Much” that captured the budding romance of two young people who took to political activism without knowing anything about politics in the hope of meeting someone. And there was “Not So Private Lives” which had 2 exes reconnecting after bumping into each other in a restaurant so trendy and minimalist that the menus had to be read while squinting and the main course was an empty plate.

The music, which was played by the Faculty of Music’s Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, was fantastic. The compositions were creative and energetically dramatic. The music in Taking Out The Trash was also very lyrical and beautiful (which made it my favourite although perhaps some of the other compositions were more ‘different’ and contemporary in style) And in terms of singing, some of the student performers could give broadway actresses a run for their money. Because the operas were so light, it felt like I was watching a musical, minus the dancing. There are some amazingly talented people in that faculty! :)

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