self-declared art

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

libraries in transition

After reading my friend's blog on library services, I am blown away by the changes in store! I did not even know about these changes.
From Danlyne's blog:
I went for this seminar "Building Corporate Digital Libraries" @ Grand Hyatt Singapore Hotel yesterday and i think its so cool. I was reluctant at first cos' I felt out but in the end, I learnt alot.

Its like a humongous shopping mall where different librarians from Singapore, Malaysia & Australia came together and talked about the various web services they provide. Cos' I'm also part of the web team, I'm quite shocked at the different services provided! I mean, here I am blogging about my personal life, but do you know that libraries have blogs too? Libraries blog about book reviews and even their latest happenings! Ngee Ann Polytechnic is doing that! I think that's such a revolution! I mean, if you read and, you'll see them doing their "famous" podcasts over the internet. Do you know that Curtin University of Technology, Australia has podcasts too? My goodness... Libraries are really getting more and more different nowadays.

I think she is right. Podcasting and blogging are certainly changing the lib-scape of Singapore..and the world. No I did not know that the Curtin University of Technology, Australia has podcasts too! And the SMS a Librarian service? Wow! Service with style man. The library is no longer a place crammed with lots of offers so much more. I just need to bring my mobile phone and library card. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

blogging in style

Seems that it was only yesterday that I created a blog. Now, everyone has a blog. My lit class has caught on to the blogging craze. Best of all, some of them have been reading our blogs by way of some NIE geog link all this while! How fascinating. I guess we are not the first to write entries about our microteachings in our blogs, even the historians are doing it way before we even got started.

Even aunty evil-lyn has got a blog. ;) How interesting. Her very own online aunt agony site. I think I am going to miss these crazy and fun-loving bunch of people in my geog n lit classes. Such a happening bunch.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

oh no not another microteaching!

Barely recovered from one, now preparing for another. Evelyn and I were sitting down racking our brains for the whole noon/evening before we came up with some ideas for a Lit microteaching coming up really soon.. For the record, these are the end products of our meeting-
Someone is going to be tortured.
Gender roles are being switched.
Someone is going to be PERFECT in role.
Someone is going to be remembered for trying to act cuter and younger than her age.
Perhaps carrying a paperbag with two holes to school would be useful-to hide our faces.

Embarassment aside, it is really cool to work with Evelyn. Just looking at her history lesson plans gives me the wake up call. Superbly detailed and very organized. I think it takes alot of courage to work with someone whose expectations are not the same as my own. It makes me more open and receptive to others' ideas and input. I am going to miss my Lit class. Really people from all works of life, esp one who has a discount on coming to class according to Hermit. Haha. I hope the discount vouchers will expire.
Really hope we put on a great show/act whatever for the microteaching. So nervous...:<

Thursday, October 13, 2005

thoughts on my microteaching..

I think i super buang any angle, I think I had a weak start to the lesson, instructions not clear, language too cheem, info overload, vague pointing and what have you. Sighh..the class should have picked up my nervousness even before the lesson started. It just escalated as more dramatic things happened in class..seriously I am disappointed in my incompetence in conducting an effective lesson. So Wesley, take consolation in the fact that I had a more buang time than you lah. Ha.
Powerpoint slides..
As many of my classmates have pointed out, my slides were distracting and information was a little heavy going..Some have told me they had difficulty focusing on the slides and listening to me at the same time. When I taught the lesson in my one month stint, it turned out pretty okay in the sense that the students could follow through my lesson and the post activity of filling up worksheets prepared by my CT also made it possible to check on their understanding of their concepts..The feedback I got from my CT then was that I had spoken too slowly such that the students were looking perpetually bored in my lesson. I decided to go faster in today's class, but I think I rushed through the slides too quickly.
Using animations was something my CT was very particular about. Being the IT nut that I am, naturally I sought another friend's help. After the short comments in class today, I feel that the animations could be improved furhter. I think there were too many colours showing the processes of the rock cycle, making it confusing for the students..Weaker students would not be able to follow the lesson.
I was not aware that my choice of words were too cheem for the students. I think I can afford to pay more attention to dumping down my language so that everyone can understand what I am saying.
Classroom management
Oh well I guess going last for microteaching is the WORST trauma that any student teacher can face. I'm a living example. Firstly, the microteachings should get better with each passing week, so the onus was on me to perform.but perform, I did not. My level of alertness was clearly not there, as I was not aware that Ken had gone out of class, and Daphne was not at her seat the 2nd time..I only noticed that Lily and Daphne were missing when I saw Lily's empty chair much later in the lesson and then linked it to the "ghost in class" rumours flying about in the class..Actually I found it hard to be fierce with the two culprits hiding in the cabinet because snatching the rock from Daphne's hand in the cabinet caused my fingers to ache with the heavy weight of the rock. I never knew they hid rocks in the cabinet! The pain caused me to momentarily forget to scold the two trouble makers..
Special needs-autism
Chris's acting threw me off completely-I was not in the least prepared..Even though we are all going through a ourse on working with people with special needs in our ed psych class, I have little experience with autistic students. Perhaps not everyone is aware, my sister is intellectually disabled, she is diagnosed with the Cri-du-cat syndrome from birth. It is difficult interacting with my sister because her catlike cries vex me at times and I can go berserk listening to her. This is the main point of contact I have personally with people with special needs.
When confronted with Chris's outburst in class and hysterical behaviour, all that came to mind was the frustration I had when interacting with my sister at home. I think I did not handle the situation well when I bent down to ask if he was alright when he sat next to me on the floor. I was firm, and rather stern with him. Looking at him reminded me of my sister causing me to respond in a less than caring or compassionate way, which I admit I really need more help with. I am thankful for the chance to have this scenario though, in my lesson today because I think this is something that we all may face when we get posted out to schools next year. Would love to hear how my classmates would react in the situation.
Level of alertness
I give myself a rating of 2 out of 10..As mentioned earlier, I was half aware and half not aware of missing members..I think this is something I need to work on very badly because I have never encountered a situation where students suddenly go missing in class-perhaps I have been too lucky.
This is something I wanted to try out on the assumption that I was meeting the Sec 1 class for the first time..I won't use it all the time. Got the idea from my Lit tutor Ms Yee who does her own feedback with us apart from those by NIE to improve on her lessons. I think that i would still give out feedback forms in the real lesson, but not do it in every lesson.
Generally, I think my lesson had been ineffective in almost all the aspects mentioned above..My lesson had been at best, confusing and cluttered with information..My nervousness took over almost throughout the lesson. I am grateful for my one month experience for its almost perfect (read:disciplined and well-behaved)student population-very safe and secure for a freaked out beginner like me. What I think I can do now is to think of how to better manage the class and ensure more effective teaching strategies. As for the extremely rushed pace of the lesson, I think that I have failed in my time management too.

Friday, September 30, 2005

d & d micro teaching

Daffy's lesson on pollution was so interesting. I think the idea of using Captain Planet as a starter to the topic was creative. Alot of hard work and preparation must have gone into the lesson. :) Perhaps Daffy had problems putting herself into the role of a teacher completely, as she went about giggling and bursting into laughter now and then. The ever-friendly teacher at work. :p

Generally, I felt that her lesson went quite well, except for the few students in class who made the lesson more lively with cheeky answers and arrogant airs such as the divide between the Chinese queens and the English queens. Shujun and I were obviously not getting anywhere in the discussion as the other two in our group were busy writing Chinese words all over the worksheets. Yenpeng also called us potatoes. (!) Actually, this kind of situation is quite real, as it was the case in my sec school, where almost everyone was more comfy with conversations in English. I think we all have to think of how to ease such tensions that may arise in our future classrooms.

Daren was a little nervous at the start of the lesson. His rock specimens were cute and took some time to prepare for. After looking at his lesson plan, I think that he should have tried out the game he had in mind, as I would like to see how a game on weathering may be like. :) I think that it was also thoughtful of Daren to list down the references in his slide so that the students could read more on their own. Good job. :)

As I went round the class and zoomed in on everyone, it was obvious that Ken was trying to get attention by playing with his phone and closing his eyes. Liyan was passing around some msg about the cup on the table which Daren did not notice until some time into the lesson. Rezal's intrusion into the classroom was hilarious, but I think Daren had done a good job in pacifying his request. However, now that security is so tight in schools, I doubt that any parent will gain entry to the class so easily. Overall, I think that both if them had managed to pacify the troubles that came up in class, so the lesson could go on. I really need to prepare and work on my micro-teaching! Really great to learn from the so many examples in class. :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

fed up

I need to let off steam. I am angry at how things have turned out in my GESL group. Relations and trust have soured because my leader is so result-oriented that he actually forgets to care about our feelings. For example, he puts down sub committees within the group if they do not perform to his standard, and he does it publicly. The group communicates through the Yahoo group links, and it is so depressing to see comments such as "don't let the team down" and "it is evident some of the groups have really worked hard". You mean others are slacking off?
It upsets me because he did not even consider the problems that a certain subcommittee faced before he passed such comments. I felt upset when the leader of the subcommittee spoke up by reminding everyone that the Yahoo platform was not to put others down, but to exchange and keep the rest updated about events. I can imagine how his team must be feeling. Even my group, the programmes group, had not been performing exactly up to his standard until recently when my programmes leader managed to secure a venue for our upcoming event that the leader then let our group pass.
I am so upset. It is as if I am nothing to my leader except a subordinate. Any interaction or correspondence is strictly that of a superior giving orders to his staff. Are we all not here as equals???The last time I checked, we all entered NIE as trainee teachers. This has made me feel very down indeed. I will update on the PTM when I have cooled down properly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

all the world's a stage-i play my part

Ms Yee always reminds us of Shakespeare's very famous line, "All the world's a stage", especially now that she is teaching us how to conduct lessons on drama in class. Speaking of which, I love speech and drama classes, which I attended since primary school. Had stopped at Grade 3, and if I had not come into teaching, I might have continued with the course. :)
I've just read through Kenneth's longest email, and I'm feeling troubled. I guess it's because we've all forgotten our place as professionals and did not behave in a professional manner with regards to the fieldtrip to Semakau. We all got carried away. Last month, I bumped into my TPP instructor, a retired principal. I was just so relieved that I dressed presentably. She saw me sitting in my boyfrined's car and actually came over to say hi. When I take the bus home from Tanah Merah Station, some of the AHS students either smile at me or stare. I'm just so glad my dress code did not give them reason to talk. Even a simple issue like dress sense has become so important to me ever since I joined this profession. I don't know if my geog mates feel the way I do.
I'm also troubled because of the recent turn of events in geog class. Like Liyan and Ken, I look forward to the class every week because there are so many things that we learn from our peers and tutor. I agree with Ken that everyone should have the chance to pour out their grievances and then move on from there. Unless we snap out of the past we will never move on. This reminds me of Moses who led his people out of Egypt. He had a past to deal with too, his abandonment of the royal status and his crime of killing an Egyptian. I think if God had not dealt with his past, he would not have moved on to fulfil his calling and potential of delivering God's people out of Egypt.
This one week break is coming to an end..Perhaps it's a good time to ponder over the things we have learnt at NIE. It's not fair to dismiss everything we learn here as irrelevant or trivial or whatever. I'll just put a little reminder that Kenneth said to me previously, that our minds are like parachutes. We just have to keep an open mind, and that includes having a good attitude, not a loser/grasshopper attitude in the things we attempt to do or learn.