Silence and laughter

This morning my class wouldn’t answer my questions.

Any of them.

They just sat there. I waited.

After a short time I got up and took the chalk.
“If you dont’ want to talk”, I said, “neither do I.”
I wrote notes on the board for an hour and a half without even looking at them. Then I wrote up a classroom exercise: “Arrange these PC components into the order in which you think they should be tested, blah blah…”; put the chalk down conspicusously and sat in the corner in silence.

One lady came and wrote her answer up on the board and I clapped. The other ladies all joined in too. Then I wrote on top of her solution “Is this correct?” and sat down again. After some more waiting I wrote the following on the board:

“Does the class work when teacher does not speak?”
“Does the class work when the class does not speak?”
They said “no” to bothl so then I wrote “Whats missing?” and they answered “communication”. Then I asked them all to stand up and answer aloud my question “will you help me make the class work bu communicating?”.

Then, at last, we had a bit of a discussion. But even then it was difficult. This particular class are very hard to work with. They don’t laugh as much as some of the others. Laughter, I have decided, is good.

Bring it on.

The next class was better. a group who laugh the most (in my experience). They were in the lab and working on C programs when the power went off, as it so often does here. I gathered them round the whiteboard and we worked on some examples in the tiny model computer I have invented for them as part of my preparation for this class. They worked hard and, at the end, one of them **asked me** to give them an example to do by themselves for homework.

So I was cheered up by this second group though I still felt slightly guilty for treating the first one so harshly, and completely exhausted.

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