giving an A …

we first came across the idea of “giving an A” from Benjamin Zander‘s Teachers’ Day Conference 2002 (i think) held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and i recall we were among 4000-5000 teachers seated in the session.

one day to teachers’ day, or 3 days past teachers’ day, depending on which school of thought you subscribing to. yesterday afternoon, the second/final f2f meeting of 12470 draws a conclusion to the course, and at the same time opens up a new beginning for the 10 CL teachers who have walked the learning journey together for the past 1 month (:

giving an A, is probably hard to achieve in a pseudo-student centric classroom set up cos the assessment system is still largely assessing in an efficiency-driven model based on statistical paradigm. however, giving an A can also be a teacher’s mindset. in retrospect, i may have given all the teacher participants an A right at the beginning, metaphorically. while it’s great that our workshop need not talk about assessment (excluding the SFT of cos), grades as such, i wonder if some teachers may have taken some time to adjust to the state of “i too have a voice, just like everyone else” in a course. there’s no right or wrong, just good, gooder, and how one contributes to the group’s effort to improve these two over time. adopting a constant grade mindset essentially frees up the brain cells worrying about grades (not that grade matters in this course), but allows one to focus his/her energy on contributing to his/herself, and fellow peers’ improvement.

as a teacher educator-cum-co-learner, giving fellow teachers an A (mindset) allows me to join the teachers in becoming better teachers, over time, for all participants and facilitator(s) alike (:

regardless of which day you celebrate teachers’ day (actual or psychological activity), may i wish all of us a Happy Teachers’ Day! 😀

学然后知不足, 教然后知困。 《礼记‧学记》

2nd reflection on course 12470-00001 facilitation


这一周我观察到只有三位老师有“动静”,所以便给其余的老师发了电邮问候一下情况。一位老师病了,一位老师家中出了点状况,其余的老师都正好碰上学校里一周特忙,绝对可以理解和体会。想到这里,应该探讨是否24小时较不适合在职教师的作息,或许48小时会精神压力没那么大? something to think about and tweak during the next round in october.

此时脑海里早已开始筹备下星期三我们见面时要聊的内容了。重点是回顾与总结这一个月来的经验。当然还是得谈谈 SDL、CoL、ICT的问题,毕竟是这门课的主要课题。希望老师们能接受没有“定案”的分享。最后一块就是延续这门课的交流部分,即第二门课Studio和CoP的事了。

希望接下来一周交流空间与反思园地的活动能持续直到我们再度见面为止 (:

reflection on course 12470-00001 facilitation

2 weeks have been put behind for my new Clinic course at SCCL, and today marks the end of the 2nd discussion forum posting (帖子B). my observations for the past 2 weeks are as follows:

1. the 10 teacher participants are highly motivated & on-task, and all of them have shared a lesson example as 帖子B and most of them had reviewed 2 peers’ shared lesson and posted questions and comments. **WELL DONE TEACHERS**

2. content of 帖子B is however missing in focus. while some teachers have highlighted 不满意的地方。But none of these are related to self-directed learning (SDL). it appears that teachers have no issue with carrying out SDL. is this true? why is this so?

3. the discussions were superficial. teachers only agree with each other, and there were no alternative views? why?

4a. i have sent out 2 brief emails (and cross-posted to the DF). for most teachers, i do not know if they have read my email and acted on it.

4b. in a related note, i also do not know how often the teachers were (re)visiting the online discussions. OPAL does not provide details of last login/visit timestamp of participants (which blackboard does).

5. there were multiple technical-related issues. in all, 9 feedback to OPAL helpdesk were sent.

in response to the above observations, i would carry out the following refinements:

for (2), i hypothesise that the instructions in the handout weren’t clear enough. to rewrite instructions in the handout to spell the 2 parts that are expected; hopefully this makes instructions clearer.

for (3), i hypothesise multiple causes. [1], the 1-week interaction cycle may not be long enough for teachers to have multiple answer-reply iterations to dwell deeper into the SDL topic. to overcome this, i will modify the existing plan and try out a 2-week cycle instead. [2], the 24-hours rule is not enforced throughout the entire interaction period; thus teachers may not have caught up with the momentum to have more extensive discussions. to overcome this, i will remove the 廿四小时行动, and extend the ‘game rule’ to be constantly abided throughout the 2-week. [3], teachers only agree with each other, and there were no alternative views. to overcome this, i could perhaps provide some scaffolds on the question types.

for (4a), i would add a line towards the end of the email requesting for read acknowledgement.
for (4b), this is an OPAL design issue, which is beyond my control. i could file another suggestion to OPAL team via OPAL helpdesk.

i hope the above refinements will help to bring discussions to a greater depth so that participants may reach a deeper understanding of the upcoming 协作学习 (collaborative learning, CoL) theme.

reflection photo

(acknowledgement: photo shared by realhardwork)