Monday, October 10, 2005

panoramic @ semakau


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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ed psych part deux

today's ed psych class was pretty interesting. we were to pick a level/stream with which we were to come up with rules and routines, and their relevant ways of being implemented.

so being the adventurous (not to mention foolish) us (me, jenny, her binary opposite, chouchou and josephine), we picked secondary three normal technical. that was when i realised that none of the above people other than me had any experience in teaching the normal tech. nevertheless, they believe in unison that i can be the students' lao da.

i believe due to my upbringing and my social circle of friends, compadres, brothers, sisters and so on, i believe that i have the ability to communicate with students of that calibre. i call this being street wise. i had a comparatively much easier time with the NT classes as compared to not only the new teachers but also some of the old.

so i digress.

the issue here is how to implement rules in the NT stream classes. if the rule is for them to sit their asses down during lessons, how do we implement this? i don't know whether we should be dishing out punishments too often. considering how notorious NT students are, i believe that if we set up these rules, we are simply bound to be dishing out punishments way too often since we have to keep to our word with the rule implementation.

my worry is also for fellow teachers whose entire life has been in a shielded environment. i saw a trainee teacher in the neighbourhood school i was in for the school experience whose entire life has been in the rafflesian family. it was clear that he has never dealt with pupils with such behaviour and the kids were simply making fun of him. best of all, he does not even realise that he was made fun of.

we all have to watch more dangerous minds.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

of psychotic superlambananas and yawning chickens

with only one hour of sleep last night, i was fighting a huge battle with myself the entire day just now just to stay awake. even when i am walking. serious.

oh well, i am glad though that at least the weekend is near which also means that the term break has arrived. i am going to try to sleep for 4 days straight in order to catch up with all the loss sleep. it is not going to be easy but i will try my best. 4 days.

i will briefly cover my thoughts on both mas's and yen peng's microteaching just now.

the strategy that mas selected in which she got us to answer revision questions before we get to sit reminds me of my history teacher in secondary 2. i feel that it has lots of good points in that students will be keen to do their revision before coming for mas's class because they know that they will not be able to sit unless they can answer some questions confidently.

in my history class then, mrs sundram got us to read our textbooks and relate to her the events one by one according to the seating arrangement. every student will give a bit of a certain historical event until she says stop and the next student will have to continue from where the last guy stopped. everyone read their history textbooks of course. anyone who have nothing to say when it comes to him would have to stand for at least half of the period.

here, it would be useful to note that this is when i totally gave up on history and never looked back. i did mention that this strategy was good but it gave me a negative outlook on the subject. instead of reading for interest, i was reading for fear that i would have to stand in class. not forgetting her deathly stare when you have nothing to say. so in the end, history reminds me of fearful times and even ridiculous days. yes, ridiculous because there were days that the class totally forgot to read the textbook (sometimes in advance) and to maintain her rule, almost half the class was standing. which was, yeas you guessed it, ridiculous!

but i did not think mas was doing it at such extremes. probably it will get students to think a little bit more before jumping into the next lesson. to use an analogy, it gets students to put on their swimming gear before jumping into the river.

the topic selected by mas, i realised, could be done in various creative ways. kudos to her for trying out the virtual field trip. it is all good because it gets students focused on the task at hand. they do not want to lose any sounds or images so everyone will have to fix their focus on to the screen.

two points though. firstly, it was going a little too fast. secondly, i felt that 10 boxes a tad too many for the students' attention span.

yen peng's lesson is a fresh topical change. instead of teaching content, map reading is more towards skills knowledge.

yen peng has the ability to create a presence in class. i simply feel that she was very much like a teacher. i attribute this to the experience she has had from her previous contract teaching assignment.

i was unsure though of the methods she employed. i was wondering during class just now whether it would be more feasible to teach about grid lines using powerpoint. whereby the grid lines can 'move' into the screen to probably show which is read first. with the lines changing colours (for example from left to right), she could show why the lines are called eastings.

i personally feel that map reading offers us many opportunities to infuse IT into our teaching. contour lines and relief could be explained rather well to the students if we have access to some technology that could turn a 3-D image so that it could be viewed from various angles. many students cannot draw contour lines of landform features simply because they cannot 'see' the landform from the top. i wonder whether there already exists such technology/software. it would be good to get our hands on it.

i would love to talk about raksha's lost purse. but i seriously have to start thinking about my individual assignement for educational psychology. zeewhy will soon be buzzing in my ear if she finds out that i have not done anything for it yet. =P

Saturday, September 03, 2005

if only i can use voodoo

this is an entry on my microteaching.i have been so busy with assignments that i have not found time even to write my own reflections. if only i could use black magic to think of what to write and voila it appears online in my blog.

firstly, i would like to thank the two binary opposites for their insights/personal views on my ideas.

the most obvious thing that i could say about my teaching was i was wondering why everyone was so well behaved. one reason could be that i told them to be a special class. but even then, i feel that that should not have stopped them from misbehaving. all in all, i feel half lucky and half bored. =)

i actually had some reservations to my lesson. i was contemplating between two groups or three. i was afraid that due to time shortage, three groups would be a rush. so i had to take a risk and went on with the large size of two. in a real classroom situation, i would have given them time to research and did the presentation solely on one entire lesson.

for the video, i was very apprehensive about it too since i felt that it was way too small. i was intending to use my friend's homevideo of the nile and then use iMovie to edit it with my voice narration. but hers was an analogue recording so by the time i digitize it, it would probably be too late. so i had to stick to that measly video you saw. fortunately, we have kenneth who saved my day.

i was rather happy that i was given that scenario with our friendly loanshark friend. without that, my microteaching would have been totally eventless. i am not too sure whether i handled it well but to me it was good enough that darren decided to back off.

i have been used to this 'stubborn-ness' when i was in the army. if you tell your men to do something, they'd often say 'aiyah later lah sergeant. why you so kancheong?'. there were others who do not give a damn about ranks and would just answer rudely to you. they are smart enough not to pick a fight with you but the way they answer will simply take you aback. i guess those times back then trained me well to handle problematic students plus instilled in me lots of patience to manage these kids.

i was a tad disappointed that the class did not take up the role fully. it would have been fun to really indulge in the role. well, at least that's what happened to my class in uni. and i guess i mentioned all the 'negative' remarks about the ethiopians was because i really wanted to put it into context and give them a hint about their conditions and state of living. maybe it was a little too unfair to them. shall watch what i say next time. =P

all in all, i was glad that it is over. this has definitely been a good learning experience. i learnt lots from all the mistakes i made. thank you zeewhy for spotting intently both my negative and positive points. it has been a hectic week with both maths and geog microteaching one day after another. that week is over. now another one is starting pretty soon.

damn it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

the home room and the principal and other short stories

during the period of my school experience, the school i was in adopted a home room system. i remembered kenneth saying that it was good although he stopped short of elaborating what benefits the system brings to a particular school.

well, so far i only know that the home room allows the teacher to prepare the class in advance and also allows him/her to set the class environment to his/her preference. i am quite sure there are other benefits. but i really can't think of any others.

definitely my experience with home room was bad. that's simply because the home room does not belong to me. so i still have to go through the process of setting up the lesson. alright, so that's not really a valid reason since i was a special case. but one definitely bad thing about home rooms is the fact that students take their time to go to the class. this is especially so for neighbourhood schools. i had to wait for 15, and sometimes even up to 20 minutes for them to reach the classroom when they have just finished PE.

you can throw that lesson plan out the window.

well, i suppose it should work better in better schools. but still, every school and every situation is different.

which reminds me of principals. i am so afraid to be sent back to that school mainly because of the principal. he was actually posted out of his last school because the teaching staff signed a petition to post him out.

scary isn't it? and the next school to get him must be most unfortunate. it was not long before i could see why the teachers did what they did.

he called for a staff meeting in the middle of the day. out of the blue. within a 10 minutes notice. not only that, he was to speak for 2 periods while the students were running havoc in the school. all teachers were in the meeting room and the school belonged to them. some teachers, like me, had that period for a break. and right after the meeting, we had to continue with lessons, foregoing our break to get even a drink. welfare does not seem to ever cross his mind i suppose.

he had made some decisions and during the meeeting, he announced it to the teachers. even as a newbie, that particular decision seemed queer to me.

i was wondering why nobody voiced out against it. i thought it was pretty weird that everyone was quiet. so i waited. and one teacher did voice out her disagreements to his decisions. and soon, other teachers followed suit. i thought to myself FINALLY!

and guess what? he stubbornly stuck to his decision. even when teachers were madly trying to show their point, he simply stood his ground. it was the entire teaching staff minus the newbies, against him. and he still saw his point as the right way to go. i could have seriously picked up a chopper and butchered him on the spot seeing how stubborn he was.

well, the point is, principals have the power to make decisions. do we teachers just remain quiet or do we come in to state our point of view on matters of school management? are we teachers trained enough to handle management issues in the school?

well, honestly i think we should be given a say to what happens in the school. and that is why i pray that prinicipals like him will just go 'poof'.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

lonelyyyyyy...i'm so lonelyyyyyyy

yes. if you had read jenny's blog before mine, you would have known that yesterday i was an ostracized little kid. nobody wanted me in their group and when i was sort of squeezed into the group consisting of josephine, yizhen and jenny, they continued to leave me out of their dialogue and discussion.

hurt was an understatement. i was traumatised! haha. yah right. i was actually pretty disturbed that wenhui did not reprimand the other 3 for their ostracizing acts of cruelty. so i realisd that i was halfway into this act, not sure when i was in and when i was out. but the 3 ladies were definitely in all the time, not mentioning that they were obviously having a time of their lives being cruel to me. yizhen found it so entertaining that she continued doing so after the lesson.

so teachers. what would YOU do when faced with such a scenario? honestly, you can't force someone to like another person in an instant. if you force someone into a 'natural social group' who clearly has reservations about that particular person, you are bound to have trouble in your hands. the child might feel so bad that it could turn out ugly. and it was YOUR activity that caused this antagonistic behaviour to be more pronounced.

my thoughts? i'm not really sure. but i think that i'd have to give a short sermon to the class on respecting individuals. i am very much a team player. as the captain in my floorball team, and even as an instructor when i was in the army, i meet many such scenarios. and i would be totally pissed if anyone does not give due respect to their team member. well, it usually works after i give them my point of view and get them to get stupidity out of their narrow minds.

but we have to face this fact of life. not everyone likes everyone else. what to do when they TOTALLY hate the guts of another lonelyyyyyy soul.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

co-curricular or extra?

different people take different stances on CCAs. i know many teachers or fellow NIE mates who see CCAs as something impeding their work. but to me CCA is very very important. the same way as i see it as a student.

i must admit that CCAs take up a lot of your time, especially when you have to come up with objectives, reports and paperwork that eats up the time you need for lesson plans. where do we draw the line?

i heard from someone in the school that i was posted for experience that to be a good teacher, you have to be excellent in three categories. academic, CCAs and something else that i forgot. haha. but my point is that we still have to excel in the way we handle our CCAs.

now, the problem arises when we get CCAs that we totally not in tuned with. like chess club for me. i would seriously die on the spot. serious.

the other question is how possible it is to start a CCA in your school? how feasible is it? and how will your principal take it? i think the most common issue would be the availability of budget. money talks. and gets you places. no doubt about that.

oh well. i was considering this because i am in the process of trying to start up a new game in singapore called tchoukball (pronounced chook-ball). i have shown it to some people in class like daphne. yesterday, i received an e-mail from the president fo the tchoukball federation in Switzerland who is helping me personally to set up a federation in singapore. he is sending a guy from taiwan to conduct a course in singapore. but he was hoping that the people who attends the course would be teachers. so that these teachers can start up the game in their individual schools.

i approached the CCA HOD during the sch experience and he said that it would be good for the national youth achievement award (nyaa). the students who are going for the award will have to learn a new skill, can be recreational, sports and few other categories. well, probably it'd be a good avenue to start off. and see where we go from there.

anyone has any thoughts on CCAs and related issues? oh, anyone interested to go for the course? it's a simple but extremely fun game. you get an official certificate once you finish the 3-day course. let me know!