translation error phenomenon and the phenomenon behind

received this advertisement pamphlet by singtel selling 3G services in view of the impending 2G termination:

as a CL teacher, the choice of term in the blue bubble immediately caught my eyes – “赶忙”. in the same moment, i hypothesised it’s #ThankUGoogleTranslate problem. indeed, a quick check on Hurry, the term used in the EL bubble, yielded 赶忙 as the 3rd translation. anything in the top 3 must be good right? (:

posted the photo on fb, and we observed different reactions, with mostly sympathy of the error’s occurrence.

while such occurrence of error is not a first, nor will it be the last, i think we should look beyond the phenomenon itself, and ask WHY it occurs at all. the reasons could be many.

as a CL teacher (educator), my immediate question is how did these grown-ups learn CL when they were in schools? Were they taught to become a lifelong learner of CL, or were they taught to inherit the language (contents) from the teachers? to become a lifelong learner, it means that one is able to learn and to use the language when my teacher-guru is no longer around me. but, the over-reliance on Google Translate (or some other online translation tools) appears to suggest otherwise. it appears to me that these grown-ups are using Google Translate in place of the trust-me-all-guru who is no longer around. in short, they lack the know-how of learning the language in life beyond schools (and exams).

in terms of know-how, if a Science teacher is to teach students to think like a real-world scientist, what is a CL teacher teaching his/her students to think like? a writer, a poet, a linguist, or an exam-Acer/passer? the outcome goal is critical; with only the outcome goal clearly set can a teacher possibly design his/her lessons to enable students to learn to being and becoming the goal.

if you are a CL teacher reading this, what is your goal? what are you already doing to enable your students to learn, and to use the language lifelong? the transmission of large amount of knowledge has probably proven to be futile as the singtel pamphlet has revealed.


"当你思考科技与教学的关系时,无论是想选择某项科技、介入某个平台,只要你从学生学习的角度出发,怎么学如何学,或作’学习本位’(cf.教本位), 就不会差太远了。" (Tan, 2017)

to cite, if anyone is ever going to do that (:
Tan, Y. H. (2017). 当你思考科技与教学的关系时. Edublog.NET – A Singaporean Teacher’s Storeroom. Retrieved from

pre-12592 note

the next round of Studio 12592 is planned to start on 18/1 (Wed). this year, two of our fellow learners/comrades are taking leave from work to go overseas, effectively reducing the active group by 50%. the statistically significant reduction in number creates the possibility of not enough minimum number to get the course running. tried to get new learners on-board whilst fully appreciate the madness in school (esp. Jan and CNY’s round the corner; getting later dismissal times; not getting less CCAs). shall see if we have enough 有缘人 this time round (: #不是没有心学习 #challengeOfTeachers #challengeOfFacilitator

2017 New Year Fireworks at Marina Bay; creative take

update 10/1

my course is CANCELLED administratively cos at ‘deadline’ i have but only 1-2 registrations. traisi/ast side’s SOP stops accepting registration 2(?) weeks before a course starts. the school just re-opened for a 4-day week. if teachers have submitted their application, the ROs may not have had the chance to approved the application. and if communications’ needed in-between application and approval, this would have delayed the application process. have feedback to dean/curriculum to ask if the SOP can be reviewed for courses starting in early/mid-january.)

prior to operationalise

prior to operationalising some (new) pedagogy, teaching approach, methods, or (fill in the blank), something needs to be addressed. we just so happen to talk abt this over lunch yesterday in our 3-men gathering. and a while ago, this post was surfaced via su fen‘s fb feed “How to Design a Classroom Built on Inquiry, Openness and Trust“. 无巧不成书也。

as the word “How to” in the title suggests, the article primarily addresses the Operational aspects of things. but the experience from my recent work, coupled with past experiences, tells me that something probably needs to be addressed prior to operations — the Psychological aspect. to be specific, the Beliefs (of teachers; note: not students, yet). questions to be addressed would include:

what are your beliefs about Learning? what are your assumptions about how your students learn? what beliefs of learning are the target/new pedagogy/approach/method founded on? how does these match/clash with your current beliefs/assumptions? going a step further, how many or which of these are informed or guided by Learning Sciences?

w/o addressing Psychology/Beliefs, teachers can probably still psuedo-operationalise anything. and the end results would likely be akin to SDL = student completes assigned homework independently; CoL = working in groups. and when the boss doesn’t ‘demand’ it anymore, would the practice still stays, or we go back to square one? as a side note, we discussed abt the practice of ‘lesson study’ in school during lunch yesterday.

while belief(s) cannot be changed overnight, it needs to be addressed right at the beginning, and revisited very often. why? so that it becomes something teachers include in their review/reflection of their practice/operations. in doing so, we’ll likely see more successful shifts and hear more success stories. this is #myHypothesis w/o digging into the literature yet 😛

gears photoPhoto by el_rogos

a quick quote related to teachers’ PD

“(contrary to commonly held notions) change in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs is primarily a result, rather than a cause, of change in the learning outcomes of students. In the absence of evidence of positive change in students’ learning, it suggests that significant change in the attitudes and beliefs of teachers is unlikely.” (Guskey, 2002, p.386)

— chanced upon via tandfonline