restful weekend

often we wish each other “have a restful weekend”, but more often than not, we teachers know at the back of our mind the many things that’s waiting for us to catch up with. so, how can one (possibly) achieve a restful state? it’s all in the mind we believe #thinkaboutit

came to us during the chit-chat this morning, and here’s the summary:

“Restful(ness) is in the state of mind”

cite as (Tan & Nonis, 2020)

have a restful weekend if you are reading this (:

microsoft hup office 2020

it’s been almost a year since we last heard abt microsoft hup, or home user program in full. indeed, HUP is one of the main reasons how visitors from singapore landed in this storeroom (:

an email received this morning definitely sounds like good news for all MOE icon users who are almost certainly microsoft office 365 users:

email dated 18 Oct 2019 8:14AM

akan datang … but definitely good news for many, if not all (:

//update details’ out; check out email dated Oct 21, 9:02AM for the instructions to obtaining the free copies of Office 365 apps.

class size, learning, and teaching

was at a chat the other day and was prompted the question “people says class size matters. what do you think?” and my response created on-the-fly goes somewhat like this:

the term of ‘class size’ concerns two main ideas: 1. classroom management, and 2. learning. the two ideas are inter-related, but often the first idea may become the focus, especially in a classroom where lessons are transmissionist (i.e., the teacher talks and ‘download’ knowledge to students who are (assumed to be) listening, and learning (is assumed) to take place by (passive) listening with the occasional IRE discourse). in such a case, class size matters if there are many ‘disruptive’ students; but it probably doesnt matter if the students are all students who are non-disruptive to the lesson delivery, and of course, the IRE discourse.

what if learning is a participatory, interactive, and social phenomenon? such learning would often be carried out in group settings. given a class of 40, how many groups should a teacher allow students to form? from a classroom management perspective, the fewer the groups may appear to be easier for managing and control. 40 divided by 8 gives 5 groups, and a teacher needs to only manage 5 groups. however, literature on collaborative learning would advise groups of 3-4 for more effective learning in groups. that would mean 10 groups, doubling the 5 earlier. assuming a teacher has designed and put in place processes and scaffolds to guide effective group work, the teacher’s work does not end here. the teacher now becomes the facilitator of learning. facilitation, a word often used, is difficult in practice as it may require a teacher to analyse the current state of learning, prompt questions, probe students’ thinking, provide alternate perspectives, all actions on-the-fly to effectively customised what s/he is going to say when s/he appears at each group. would class size matter? given that curriculum time is fixed, the amount of meaningful facilitation for deeper learning a teacher can provide to students would be divided by the number of groups. smaller number of groups means more quality time for each group of students. this applies to facilitation of online discourse for learning too. so, does class size matter?

transmissionist or participatory, a teacher will provide assignments for students to complete. given a class of 40, let’s start with transmissionist way of learning – each student is required to submit a 3-min oral performance recorded and uploaded to the LMS, a teacher would need to spend at least 120 mins just to listen to each audio clip, without considering the amount of time needed to assess, think, and provide meaningful feedback to each student/recording. if the class is made up of 30 students, the difference would be 30 mins of listening time. the same computation can apply to written assignments too. if learning is participatory – each student is required to write an online post, and thereafter reply to at least 2 peers’ posts to learn through interaction. the number of posts a class of 30 students, versus a class of 40 students, could be significantly different. so, does class size matter?

classroom students photo

so in conclusion, does class size matter? your perspective (and conception) of learning would determine the answer.

记iMTL 进阶课 in-progress

yesterday was the second f2f lesson of our iMTL 进阶课 (wondering why the english course title uses ‘intermediate’?). the first f2f was exactly 1 month ago. in this course, the (old) title (which 露丝 and I din bother to change) included keywords ‘SDL’ and ‘CoL’. so, i had used the first hour of yesterday’s session to conduct a co-generative dialogue on 自主学习 (self-directed learning). and the following is the reification of our discourse:

14/8 discourse artefact – 自主学习 SDL;participants: 馨云、一凤、伟如、美娴、崇蕾、侯琳、玉侠、春容

towards the end of the conversation, i was pleasantly surprised that most, if not all, of the key ideas of SDL were surfaced without me needing to introduce them. sounds like a phenomenographic dialogue (if such thing exists; if not can cite Tan, 2019). realised this when i ran through the deck of slides adapted from a 12470 Clinic conducted some three years ago. was interested to see what the individually meaningful ideas that the teachers (馨云、一凤、伟如、美娴、崇蕾、侯琳、玉侠、春容) had created, i allowed them to complete a 2-qn survey via google form:

reflecting away, with qr code on the left, and the discourse artefact on the right in front

and here’s what they wrote:

q1. 我原来以为 … …q2. 我现在认识到 … …
Self directed learning 很容易达成学生需要确定学习目标和监督学习进展等
SDL就是E learning SDL 可以和很多东西有关。比如:老师的角色是什么、学生的学习效率如何
自主学习就是要让学生学习时有自主权,依据学生所需要或缺乏的那一块,提供更多的学习活动,辅助他们,让他们能够成功学习。的确如此。接触了一个新的概念solo taxonomy

looks like 满满的学习 to you? and it’s not through transmission (of knowledge).

looking forward to the next session on 14 Sep for more knowledge creation (: