After Hans Rosling’s lecture to TGS students and guests, TGS Teacher Marta Guevara wrote some of her reflections on the evening.
Yes, Hans Rosling is funny. But he talks about serious topics; I wondered how a group of young teenagers would respond to a view of the world presented via graphs and numbers. Would they get it? Would it be too distracting for them? Would they lose their concentration after a while?
The lecture was around one and a half hours long. I kept looking at the students for signs of weariness. A few shifts in seating positions, maybe a little head support from the classmate next to them, but they were all there present and awake. As the presentation came to an end, they got up and stretched with comments such as, “this was so interesting,” “it is one of the best talks I’ve heard,” and “I had no problems paying attention the whole time.” And the most frequent question, “we’re meeting him now, right?!”
As we all headed to the back room that was set up with tables, chairs, and some refreshments, the students anxiously waited. When Mr. Rosling walked into the room he was greeted with an applause (which came from the students’ own appreciation, not at our suggestion). And the questions began. Plenty of hands went up in the air. Brad tried to be fair and let everyone have a chance. They wanted to know about Dr. Rosling’s background, but also deeper questions such as what he thought were some of the biggest obstacles THEY would have to face in the future.
They listened attentively, asking more and more questions and taking in everything he said for a full hour. Knowing Dr. Rosling is a busy man, Brad finally said, “ok, no more questions” and thanked our guest. However, the minute he got up from his chair, Dr. Rosling found himself surrounded by a our students, wanting to continue talking with him. He is a tall man, and it was amusing to see him overtaken by this small crowd of young fans. He turned to look at me and said, “but I must go.” I answered, “they won’t let you leave. You’ll have to run.” And so he did! He sprinted towards the door.
There were quite a few sighs of disappointment from the students. However, the sighs quickly changed to huge smiles and statements like: “What a great evening!” “What a great man!” “I want to go to the website to see more!” Me? I was just proud. There is no other word to express how I felt. Our students had once more gone way beyond any expectation I had.
We started our way back home late that evening. With a lot to talk about and, more importantly, with a lot more new information to think about.