Saturday, September 20, 2014

The power of potential

My pioneer batch of students taking Design Studies (DS) as their Applied Subject (AS) for their O levels have just finished with their final component, which is their oral presentations, a few weeks ago. Though i can't reveal much in terms of their projects, nor how they fare generally at this juncture, what I want to reflect on is this thing called potential.

I remembered that certain sense of apprehension when i first had a talk on how the curriculum was supposed to look like when discussions were started way back in 2009. The idea was to offer a new subject area that will be almost mutually exclusive in terms of its content compared with current offerings like Art and Design and Technology (D&T). It must be significantly different enough to justify it as a new subject, and rigorous enough for it to be managed by 15 to 16-year olds.

The challenge was real as such content has never been 'brought down' to the upper secondary school level, nor watered-down to deem it to be of a lesser rigour than other subject offerings at the same level. The challenge for me was also real, in the context of how can a subject area that has an artsy- and design-slant 'survive' in an environment that is seemingly more STEM-centric, within the institution that I was teaching.

The journey was not without its challenges. How can the department prepare the students for this new subject, and how can the students be able to level up to the rigours of this new subject? On another note, how can resources be deployed effectively and optimally, without any adverse impact on others?

I'm happy to say that this past 2 years have started to bear fruit! Seeing how the students have managed to work on their projects, and the quality of their deliverables, gives me that rare sense of satisfaction towards something that have slowly developed to something that is more...concrete! That finally some things, if not all, starts to make more sense....that the subject matter finally have begun to produce students that can showcase their true potential towards something that is more STEAM-, than STEM-centric (the 'A' here refers to Art, or artistic elements).

What is ahead for the subject area? There's still lots more work to be done, and ironed out. Getting good students to want to take up this subject is one of them; ensuring that the mindset who undertakes this journey with me is correct, is another. the journey is still long and arduous, but it is one that would be good for all in the end.

A welfie during my final session with the pioneer/graduating batch of DS/AS

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