Thursday, July 12, 2007

URSA Conference Day 2

I had my first day of presentations today. The room that I had had a nice set-up, it was a small theater room. And while I may not have drawn in the crowd's, I hope that those there appreciated the fact that I had music playing as they came in.

Presentation 1 was an Introduction to the Outreach Program, and it is really difficult to make the information presented really interesting, but oh well. Out of the 5 people there, 3 of them happened to fall asleep during one point or another. Surprisingly enough the two people who were asleep left and came back for my second presentation....and didn't fall asleep at all.

Presentation 2 was about the Sunni Shia split in Islam, and it was a complete success! I took questions throughout and we even went over time in questions at the end. Some of the questions that I got caught me completely off guard, but it also showed that the teachers I was presenting too really had no idea...things like honor killings and veiling. Apparently I do come off as a convert, or the guy just had a really good guess. At the end a gentleman asked me if I had converted and if I was Sunni or Shia because he wanted to know if I was favoring one side or the other. I admit that I might have poked a little bit of fun at the continuous list of poisonings of the 12 Imams....but I have Shia friends who joke a bit about that as well. When I explained that I was Sufi and that either side didn't like me, that seemed to convince him of my objectivity. I definitely wasn't prepared for specific questions on Hizbollah, their Shia status, and their connection to Palestine....but I managed to hold my own. I think that as an advertisement for Outreach that the Sunni Shia presentation did more than the presentation that only illustrates what we do. Either that or I just need to jazz it up a bit.

Tomorrow should be better number wise. The conference is held between two buildings and the building that I was in today was not the main building....tomorrow I will be in the main building so more people will probably come.

The luncheon speaker was excellent, he talked about brain functions and how children of the current generation process information differently that their parents' generation. He also made mention of items like bloom's taxonomy that I had learned about in my it was nice to see that the graduate program that I am in is really on the cutting edge of research.

I hadn't seen too many teachers from this conference and the lunch time meeting gave me a chance to see people.....and you could tell that there were alot of teachers from rural schools, I haven't seen hair that big or female mullets so prominent since I lived in Texas in the 80's.

After lunch I just skipped the afternoon sessions and came back to the hotel....fell asleep for a while...and then woke up hungry and reluctant to brave the Bard's Food and Drink Establishment. I ordered an overpriced pizza instead, of which I have eaten one piece and decided that I was full. Oh gives me a reason to skip lunch tomorrow and drive back a couple of hours early. solves all ills.

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