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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Research 

This word has been the bane of my existence for a few weeks now. I am supervising 4 final year students which is proving to be insanity inducing. In fact all of the OT teachers are on the verge of insanity. It is hard enough for me to get my head around research at all without having to think about four different designs etc. etc. In fact this is probably the main difficulty. None of the teachers have a great deal of research experience so when it comes to supervising we have to learn it as we go along. This is one of the difficulties of having a course set up by poms, where, apparently, every degree is an honours degree. I think the Aussie system where you only get to do honours if you have been consistently successful through the course of your degree is a better one but this is the system we've got so I just have to live with it. I am also thinking about strategies for improving the standard of research as I think that most educational institutes that are respected world wide are respected not just for the quality of the students that they produce but also for the quality of research they participate in. This may sound unlike me, who at the end of uni had basically thought that any further study was for suckers but I guess with a few years behind me I can see that sometimes to justify what you do or to prove to others the effectiveness of what you do, you need to produce some high quality research which will be respected world wide.

One of the main difficulties of this is that the students are learning in their second language. This means that on top of checking methodology etc. it is important to check English. In my experience the quality of thought of the students is not so much of a problem as their ability to express this.

Anyway, enough of that boring stuff.

I'm glad I have lots of boring and frustrating work to do at the moment because it makes the light at the end of the tunnel, my trip home, seem that much brighter.

But it's not likie I'm not having any fun.

Last Sunday I invited the other OT teachers round for steak dinner and a couple of drinks. Now I'm sure you are all gasping and saying Bangladeshi's don't drink and that might be true for the ones who never have an opportunity but in my experience anyone who has the chance to does. It was a great little party and a good time was had by all.

This reinforced some of beliefs about the way that Muslim societies are presented in the western media. Basically America would like us to believe that all Muslims are fundamentalists and essentially terrorists just waiting for an opportunity to carry out some amazing attrocity towards the west. In reality most of the Muslims here are as apathetic about their faith as many people who would identify as Christian in the west. Most people just want to get on with their life, earn enough to look after their family and have a bit of fun occasionally. It's just easier to stereotype people as dangerous when this suits your own political agenda and justifies your own attrocities. Anyway enough philosophy for one day.

Am off to one of the Aussie volunteers birthday dinner tonight which shouls be fun, it will be the second performance of An International Band (AIB) probably also with reduced numbers but still a good chance to have a strum.

No to all in Canberra reading this, make sure you get out to the game on Friday and cheer the raiders home. It'd be great to down penrith this early in the season and also to get our home winning record back on track, it was losing home games that cost us in the end last season. So come on the raiders!!
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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Back in the fold... 

Well at long last my placement is finished and I no longer have to travel to Dhaka every day. This has by no means meant that I am not busy. I have 3 months worth of placements to mark on top of four research papers, 2 supplementary exams and a partirdge in a pear tree. Surprisingly this has seemed quite relaxed compared to previous months, and it's always better to have something to do than nothing to do.

Social life has also been busy. Made the mistake of joining the aussie club darts team which means another mid week trip to dhaka (what was i thinking??) but is actaully quite a good way to get around and meet some people who I wouldn't otherwise, so all in all not a bad thing to do.

So far the bands only offer of a follow up performance is to play at a friends birthday party but considering we haven't actually practiced again yet that is probably a reasonable follow up. Not sure if there'll be any beers involved as the girl who's birthday it is is a tea totaller... I guess at least one of the aussies here came to the right country!

Have also moved to a different flat which is upstairs and across the hall from where I used to live. It's pretty nice and the only problems so far are that I still don;t have a toilet seat, not cool for someone who likes to take a book in, and I don't have any curtains at this stage which means that late nights are often followed by early morning of trying to continue sleeping with your head covered by a pillow. Am getting better at this.

It is now only one month til I return to Australia which is probably the most exciting thing I've had to talk about in months. Am looking forward to catching up with everyone, getting out of the heat for a few weeks and having a bit of serious R&R, I think i have earned it after these last few months...

C'mon the raiders for tomorrow and how good are those brumbies?
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