facilitator’s log (12541 primary)

last friday, we held our first session of ICT for SDL and CoL Clinic for primary school teachers (TRAISI code: 12541, or 12541-00003). as the traisi code suggested, this is the 3rd round of primary clinic. the first round was facilitated by dear wu jing cher, and the second round was facilitated by me when wj left for her full-time studies.

this 3rd round of primary clinic returns me to a dual-facilitator role – to facilitate the learning of both teachers who signed up for the course, and the instructor of the course (Wen Yun who joined us to take up the position vacated by WJ). unlike the previous round of handholding, WY is expected to conduct this course without a chance to ‘witness’ nor much time to co-construct the (ideal) conceptions of the course.

as a reminder to self, this blended learning course is designed in attempt to work towards 2 ideals: 1. to find a new approach towards CL teachers’ PD (tying short-term courses, with a larger CoP in the long run); 2. to be a student-centered course situated within a social constructivist paradigm, where learning is facilitated through discourse (both f2f & online).

to facilitate our further conversation, in this log, i would like to capture some observations and thoughts. the ‘source’ of these ideas came from our conversations prior and after the f2f session, and observations during the f2f session).

  • “我是传统的师范毕业生。”
  • – this line came up i think at least 2 or 3 times during our conversations. i am not sure if WY realised she had emphasised this idea many times, but my guess is this is a reflection of an internal struggle with theoretical understanding, and existing practices in teaching. “传统” & “师范” connote a teacher-centered, teacher talk-dominated, learning = passive copying and listening type of teaching. the source of internal struggle probably came from (1) her deep understanding of CSCL principles based on her phd studies, (2) the ideal #2 of this course that demand (1) to be put into practice. this is perhaps a reflection of the saying ‘expoused beliefs is one thing; actual actions is another’.

  • “my beliefs about learning have changed, but i may have difficulty putting it into practice” (approximation, can’t recall exact words)
  • – yes, what i thought of when i heard this is “if action is powered by beliefs, actions thus reflect our beliefs”. if we are unable to do certain thing, is it that our beliefs have not changed to the extent we thought it would have changed? change in beliefs over time will be something useful to track (researcher’s talk) 😛

  • “我从来没有感觉上课那么没底儿。”
  • – what does “底” mean? my guess is fixed structure coupled with fixed load of contents to talk about and pushed into the black boxes of the participants? clinic has a course structure, so structure is not the issue. so we are left with the contents part. following the student-cantered ideal, we will be facilitating discussions and learning in ideas that participants would raise in the course of our interactions. this is really the most unsettling feeling that i get based on my personal experience. some qns that have ever passed through my mind include,

    “what if there’s things that i cannot answer?”;
    “what if participants think badly about this ‘teacher’ who doesn’t appear to know anything becos s/he doesn’t spoon-feed us the textbook defns, and provide us with loads of contents and resources?”;
    “what if there are important ‘learning’ to be taken away but the idea doesn’t surface from the participants at all?”

    for the 1st qn, i convinced myself that no one can truly know everything, but it’s important that we are willing to go and find out things that we don’t know, and know how to go abt finding out what that we needs to find out. and this is an important lesson about ‘learning’ that i want my participants to takeaway, if they takeaway; and i do this by modelling the behaviours (it’s OK to say i don’t know; i demonstrate how i go about finding out abt new things; i demonstrate that learning takes TIME, a forgotten or simply ignored fact in the production mode that we conduct teaching in schools (too little time, too many things to be taught and assessed. 填鸭填鸭再填鸭; stuff, stuff, stuff)

    for the 2nd qn, this is the greatest ‘risk’ that we have to take, especially if participants possess naive personal epistemology, and deeply entrenched in a content-cum-resource loaded expectation of ‘learning’. Victor mentioned he had his fair share of such experience, cos we all need to face the ‘reality’ of SFT. based on my experience so far, i just have to hold on to my beliefs and ideals, and trust that teachers will be able to see and appreciate it at the end of the day. if there are some starfish that i couldn’t move this time, it’s just not enough time i have to engage them. learning takes time; changing of beliefs take even more time i believe (and i think we can find literature to support this, which i haven’t really done so, yet.)

    for the 3rd qn, over the past 3 secondary clinic and 1 primary clinic that i have facilitated, i am not so worried about this anymore. cos if the issue is so important (for e.g., conception of ‘affordance’, TPACK), we will be able to make links to it one way or another. probably that’s why as teachers, we always say teaching is a science, but is also an art. weaving is the ‘art’ part.

below is a record of things that i caught my attention (incl. being shown, being said):

– defining what is ‘e-learning’, and relate it to MOOC
– “ICT=vitamin是相对主流的用法。”
– “这些原则(ref to the 4 interaction guidelines)你的学生也可以用。”
– “我们可以聚焦一些课题来讨论。” (this is not suggested by WY)

a few other notes:
– too little time is left to go through the details of the activities, and check for understanding that participants know what to do where to do when to do what
– there’s a rich repertoire of ideas surfaced by participants that i would use to build on. use them to raise questions to keep them thinking, no answers’ required there and then.

that’s all for now (:

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