Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

First conference presentation

I presented at the conference on Saturday as planned, without baby, as planned. We took the metro in. I got off at my stop and Jeremy and the kids continued on a few stops farther to do some errands. I gave Jeremy a bottle as his last line of defense against a starving Sterling and an unforeseen delay on the metro on his way back to me. Jeremy did end up trying it with Sterling but he was, to use Jeremy's word, "offended." Fortunately, we were reunited before things got desperate.

This was my first conference presentation. This conference is the real deal - the biggest one in my field in this region. My presentation was a tweaked version of some research I did for my MA (The Power of YouTube - about using YouTube videos in class), and it was lots of fun to present. I had a full house in my session (60ish people) and everyone was really good about participating when I asked them to. Because a major part of my 45-minute presentation was viewing excerpts from YouTube videos and evaluating their appropriateness for a particular (the attendees') teaching context.

So of course, I had to include a "bad" example - a video that might seem like a good idea but actually wasn't. Obviously I couldn't show a horrifically inappropriate video at the conference, so I had to choose something more subtle to make my point. I chose Saudis in Audis. Personally, I think that video is hilarious and I quote from it regularly. I think it's clever and smart and well produced. However, if I were to show that to students here, I would be taking a big risk. Some, perhaps most, would also find it funny, especially if their language skills were good enough to understand the level of satiric humor going on here. But there is a big chance that many students, especially Saudi ones, would take one look at the faux-dishdashes and keffiyahs and absolutely bristle.

Sure enough, when I showed it during my session, there were a lot of laughs while it played but when it was over, almost every person in there said there is no way they would ever show that in their classroom (mostly in the Arab world, or teaching Arabs in the UK or Australia). So it fulfilled its purpose of being a good example of a bad video for certain teaching contexts. (It's worth noting, however, that the one Saudi woman in the room said she thought it was hilarious.)

Anyway, the session went well and even though I looked forward to it for a long time, I am so glad it's over!

March 21st, outsourced

My friendly neighborhood grocery store