Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Thursday, 15 June 2006

The Secret Lab

The last lab in Biology was a bit of fun. The students were strictly warned not to reveal what they were doing to any teachers, even the director.

We observed a particular mammalian species, Homo sapiens, and how they interact in conversational dyads, looking specifically at change in stance. Do they stand on the right leg, left leg, or balanced on both? Does this change at different times in the conversation, towards the beginning, middle, or end? Are there differences between how women and men stand in conversations? Differences depending on gender?

The students had to wander around the campus looking for 3 dyads, of any age, but they had to talk while standing for at least 45 seconds. So they walked around, notebook and stop watch in hand, secretly recording all they saw. It gave a chance to really practice observational skills, something like looking at lions behind a blind. And they came back with some good observations- of how this species uses nonverbal cues in conversation, and the differences between men and women. (Due to small sampling size, they found differences in stance by gender, but in truth, scientists find both genders stand about the same.) They also did a good job of explaining where they could have made errors in the data analysis and retrieval. They're learning!

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