Sunday, January 31, 2010

Revving up their engines...and mine!

Week 4 has been more of a tiring yet grueling week for me, but thank goodness the heavens must have heard my laments and did allow me some breathing space to tie up some loose ends. The students were amazing, in fact I was surprised that they are actually able to manage their timing and work well, at least for a great majority of them. What really makes me so proud of them was their tenacity to be good, or at least to show a great degree of pride in their works, especially in their sketches! This is especially so since I am of the view that in order to be good communicators, sketching skills are just ONE of the pre-requisite skills that they must be taught, and at least be decently good at, in order to level up on their communicating competencies.

I still think that there is still a gap in how they can communicate their ideas better and hopefully with my help, and their great desire to learn, I would be able to scaffold their learning, and they in turn be able to be deeply engaged in learning to how then make their online portfolios that much more interesting. Well I sure hope that this great experiment that I am currently exploring would be a tremendous success...this whole idea and notion of an online portfolio! It is something new, definitely, but I am very happy to say that I have indeed a great amount of support from my colleagues, something that I truly appreciate!

But as in all things that are new, I do hope that this endeavour would also allow me to fail successfully, (not that I am wishing for it) if there were any shortcomings that I might not have been able to pre-empt. My dream would be to get them to know how to 'choose their nets and then be able to fish'...a metaphor to perhaps give, or rather empower, my students to be able to decide on what to put in into their portfolios. I do hope their reflections and works so far are just a start. Perhaps the photography and other media-related lessons in the very near future would help to enrich them and their portfolios even more. I am definitely excited about all these, but as in all exciting endeavours, a great amount of preparation time is also required to make it a fruitful and a positively-exciting experience, for both the learners and the teacher. And with that in mind, do step aside and allow me to put my foot on the accelerator pedal. I'll be revving up the engine just one notch higher!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marking their benches...part 2

Things were just picking up steam the last week or so. Work, be it the teaching or the administrative components, are piling up, and well, I guess these are the things that I would need to do. But on a more reflective note, it has been another week of interesting turn of events, for me and my students. It was after all, still a benchmarking phase for me, of the students.

The last week had me enjoying some of my students' presentations and benchmarking their research and analytical skills. Presentation on the 2nd week of lessons...well YES! Why not? But hey, I'm not expecting the Steve Job's style of presentation with visually appealing graphics and a snappy accompanying song to boot. Just a simple one that gives me an idea on how much they know and have researched on, on the given theme, and how comfortable they are presenting in front of the class.

All I can say is that, a great majority are able to present and perhaps standards are decent when you see that they are still 12-year-olds after all! Reading from the slides are still the normal modus operandi for a great majority of them, and cartoonish graphics and multiple font uses and transitions are very much the order of the day when it comes to making their presentations more visually appealing. But hey, I think it was a joy to see them doing all those things, and even more for some of them! Sometimes I do find myself having to stop myself from looking at them from an adult's point of view, and then starting to critically see their presentation from those eyes! What is the underlying theme that they are presenting? Were they comfortable with their slides? Do they enjoy doing the research, the presentation slides, and finally presenting them? I sure hope they did, as much as I enjoyed watching them! But on a more serious and happier note, at least I know I would not be out of job in the immediate future, knowing that there are still areas of improvements that they can make in their own presentation and communication skills.

Research...I think one of the flaws that teachers usually make is to assume what the students already know, or even what they don't know. Interestingly I have made my fair share of such flaws on these 2 fronts too! Firstly assuming that they know what RESEARCH is all no..assuming that they know HOW to present their research! I think my charges DO know what research is all about, but the manner and method of presenting these research information is totally another thing altogether. Perhaps it is this fluidity in becoming a teacher to a bunch of young adults who are soooo willing to learn is what I find great joy in! And that is why it is never ever a boring job! Well, now that I know where the I don't think I want to call it a 'PROBLEM', let's call it shortcomings instead. It does lessen the negative connotations doesn't it. Ok now that I know where the shortcomings are, perhaps it is good for me then to refocus my attention into the other aspects of presentation then...the presentation of their research information, versus research itself.

Hmmm...such is the interesting story of a teacher in week 3 of school! Until my next post...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Marking their benches...

It has been a tiring yet fulfilling week for me this week, with the 1st week of lesson sapping my entire 5-day week, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Add to that the lesson preparations, liasing with vendors, administrative tasks, and other 1001 things to do, and I think I do deserve at least a Masters in the Jack-of-all-trades Institute! But hey this is not a complaint, in fact I am sensing that it has actually spurred me on to do even more, to give my best shot in whatever things that I am doing.

And it was also the perfect chance for me to try out ideas, ideas that have been fermenting so long in my heads, that it almost exploded when school reopens. But I think that I just have to pace myself, lest I burn myself out to fast, too soon.

First week of lessons have been interesting. Have been full of benchmarking, especially in my specific areas of Art, Design, Media and Technology (ADMT). I think the students are really enjoying the 'Sketching' lessons that I have prepared for them, but I think I can do even better.

The next phase or week of lessons would also be consisting of benchmarking lessons too. This time round, I would love to look at their ability to Present and Communicate their ideas as well as their ability to be Creative. Hmmm, a tall order...nah I don't think so. In fact I do think that these students have a reservoir of untapped potential that is just waiting to explode!

Ah well, I guess the weekend is a good respite from all the work. A good time for me to recuperate, reflect and prepare for my next few lessons. Ahh, how I wish I would just be able to prepare lessons and have a personal assistant to do all the other admin. tasks. :(

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