Thursday, March 5, 2009

Aspire visit & Student Reaction


This week has been one both of business and sadness. Joy received word that her youngest brother, Wally, had died on Tuesday morning after a long time of illness. Our distance away from the family made it hard for her although modern technology allowed her to make contact with his family and her other brothers it is difficult to share mutual grief over 12000 miles.
Back here in Doha we seem to have settled into the routine of 4.30am starts again and the offering of advice and challenging teachers and students to take advantage of the opportunities the education reforms are offering.

Outside Aspire Centre. A statue of the world supported by the hands of knowledge with New Zealand in the best space - visible!! (Unlike Australia, hidden by the giant hands.)

I was invited to go with one of the teachers when he took his Grade 10 class to visit the Aspire Centre and Villagio earlier this week
The Aspire Centre was built for the 2006 Asian Games and is said to be the biggest enclosed sporting facility in the world. I can quite believe it as there are a full sized athletics stadium with seating for 15000, a full sized Basketball Stadium with spectator seating, an Olympics sized Gymnasistics Arena with spectator seating, a full sized gymnastics performance hall with spectator seating, a full sized Soccer stadium with 15000 seating capacity and a full sized Olympic standard swimming pool and diving centre with spectator seating along with the administration facilities, press and other necessary resources in a fully air conditioned environment all under the one dome.

Views of the interior of Aspire Centre
The Stadium is the home of the Aspire Sports Academy which provides coaching and education for the students lucky enough to be selected.
Outside of the dome are the other facilities needed for athletes - training tracks, swimming pools and medical /physiotherapy rooms all standing in readiness for any international or regional games that could occur in the area.

Listening with intent
Our students were gob smacked... and simply couldn't cope with all that was on offere despite living within two minutes drive of the facility. It took some time to tie them down to listen to the director of the facility explain the place to them.
Once they had been shown around the dome their teacher decided to take them to Villagio the shopping mall modelled on Venice that sits beside the Aspire Centre.

The boys distracted by a shopping trolley
The boys, initially distracted by a shopping trolley as we walked across to the complex, didn't move too far from the food court & ice rink once we were inside. Here they, according to their teacher, had more than they could cope with - food, space and the sight of girls in their immediate vicinity.
The boys with their lute head to Villagio
Armed with their lute and drum and the safety of numbers they tried impressing a small group of girls by playing dance tunes, singing and dancing to them.
Needless to say their approaches were politely ignored by the girls.
We eventually got them back to school where they were persuaded to write stories or descriptions of what they did during their experience at Aspire & Villagio around the photo record their teacher had taken.
The boys dancing in Villagio as they try to impress some non Qatari girls.


Matt said...

Really interesting. I enjoyed the video as well - although the sound wasn't working for me.

The Curmudgeon said...

Sorry no sound facility on my camera.