Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Field work at "Ngee Ann Stream" (16 Mar 09)

A field trip can probably be the most challenging part of any course. Besides the immense amount of preparation, the execution can be fun and intense at the same time.

One big challenge is communication. We are no longer in a classroom where all the participants are nicely seated in neat rows with the projector and computer pointing to them where their attention should lie. No doubt, some teachers may beg to differ about gaining attention in the classroom but wait till you head out to the field where participants are all over the place doing things that may or may not be what you instructed. That is when all the "fun" begins. Of course, this is also when teaching is at its best if well executed.

How about this? You perform your recce with utmost care and plan to the tiniest detail... (as usual, there is a "but") but Murphy still insists on working his Law. Grasses have grown so much taller, making the trail seemingly disappear. Or some agency has decided to do some land clearing and coupled with the unpredictable weather (nothing new here) made the entire site into a mud playground. Suddenly, you have people playing "slip and slide" everywhere... you get the idea.

Nevertheless, this is also a mimicry of life itself when many things are unpredictable. Yet with a cool head and the right experience and knowledge, one can always get through with full marks (or perhaps a scratch or two).
Figures (L-R, T-B): Working by the "open-country urban" stream; moving along the same stream; moving along an "open-country rural" stream; taking a break after some grass and mud bashing; back in the "safe" confines of the lab to run a microbiological test on the water sample collected from the streams


cheryl said...

Hello Mr Kwok! Thnks for the ideas! If we win the competition sure treat u eat. Mac can? Lols.

KWOK CHEN KO said...

Yes, maybe 52 times of Mac :-)