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by lemuel — I WAS sent to a Singapore school for a week in August 2006 to train for IGCSE Art and Design. This attachment/training in GreenRidge Secondary School, a leading school in Singapore well known for its excellence in Art education, was made possible with the generosity and help from PSB School Head Consultant Mr. Tan Kian Hock, the Principal Mdm Alice Heng and staff of GreenRidge, in particularly the HOD for Mathematics Steven Koh for home hospitality and the Art HOD Lee Tze Chuin and Art teacher Mr. Yeo Hock Ann. With their help, I came to understand the whole IGCSE exam process, especially its importance to the subject that I am passionate about. Here are some photos that I took with day-to-day run down of what transpired during my training.
17 AUGUST (Thursday)— Mr. Steven Koh, (HOD FOR Maths—my host) and I came in early 6:30 a.m .to get things started. First thing I noticed was the school’s impressive foyer and this very interesting art-display of beans and spices that formed different patterns, on view right at the lobby (see photo above). It made quite an impression on me that this school’s art program was something special.
SAME goes with their Pearl Garden. It had a red bridge, well manicured plants and rocks of all sizes and bright coloured fishes swimming in a pond with clear water. Clear too was the instruction for all students to line up in front of the school around 7:15 am for the morning assembly. It was quite organized, especially the way all form teachers moved around (see photo above) to check the attendance right after the singing of the Singapore national anthem.
AFTER the morning routine, it was back to the classrooms for the students and I got a quick tour of the whole campus, courtesy of Mr. Lee Sze Chuin and Mr. Yeo Hock Aun (two of the best Art teachers I know). I saw the teachers’ lounge with a big screen TV, a full supply of coffee and crackers and newspapers in English, Malay and Chinese. But the one I’ll never forget were the Art Rooms. It kind of reminded me of my art school days when we had a very similar set up. It was a large room with lots of art stuff, complete with student-made graffiti in the four corners of the room.
10:45 am . Same Day— The students had a Common Exam that Thursday up until recess, so I spent my time in the teachers’ lounge and had conversations with the staff who were all so very nice to me, especially Mdm. Lily Lee, who was the first one whom I got to talk to. Then around 10:45 I went to Mr. Sze Chuin’s Art class for Section 2T1. His lesson was all about Unity as a principle of Art. He made the students draw a portrait a la- Giuseppe Arcimboldo, using plants as designs. The results were quite interesting.
11:50 am . Same Day— I went to my second scheduled class observation; this time with Mr. Yeo’s combined classes of 3E and 3A. The lesson was color blending. I got to do some hands on demonstration by assisting some students on how to do it. I knew all about the lesson because I’ve recently done a similar activity with my Secondary Class.
13:30 pm. Same Day— It was my lucky day indeed for in the afternoon, the Sec 4 was scheduled to submit their ‘N’ Level Art Exam Papers. The school rented a big van to move all the large artworks to the examinations branch of the Ministry Of Education which was about a 20-minute drive from GSS. It was quite a sight seeing students from different schools bringing in their best work for marking; sizing up each others work and getting excited if they see an interesting one. The works ranged from traditional painting to Batik designs, from 3D works (seen here being carried by two people) to large scale sculptures carried by six students. (To be continued…)
by lemuel — BULLETIN BOARDS for some teachers are always a challenge.
A lot of us in the profession think that decorating one would involve a lot of artistic talent.
Well, it doesn’t.
With a bit of creativity mixed with a good sense of resourcefulness, a “non-artistic teacher” can always outdo any teacher from the Art Department.
Here’s one concept you might like: The SLAM BOARD.
Just make one of those slam book pages with questions like “What’s your favorite… food?… colour?… movies?… books? …etc. and print it out.
Ask every student in your class to fill it up.
Make sure to remind them not to write any answers that may “get them into trouble” later.
Tell them straight that it would be displayed in the school and would be read by a lot of people.
So ask them to give smart answers.
To make things interesting, request all their other teachers to fill up a slam book page, too, for display—for the sake of fairness and fun.
Cut out BIG colourful letters to catch the attention of every passerby and stick it right on top of everybody’s slam book page which should be arranged in a free flowing manner (see photo).
We just made a SLAM BOARD a couple of weeks ago and it has been the talk of the whole school since.
The best part was, everyone in my class (including their teachers) suddenly bonded after finding out that there are a lot of things each of them have in common.
The SLAM BOARD didn’t only promote unity and “class pride” but it also increased my students’ confidence about who they are.
Now, there isn’t a day that I don’t see somebody reading our SLAM BOARD.
The best part is they always look at it with a smile on their faces. (LJI)
“WHEN teachers talk, talk, talk—students sleep, sleep, sleep.”
That’s Chris Biffle, talking about “student engagement”.
He believes that students should participate in the learning process and they should not be just an audience staring at the teacher. I fully agree.
I stumbled about Chris (I don’t know the guy, I’m just a big fan) and Power Teaching in YouTube and I was astounded at how lively a class becomes when Power Teaching is applied.
I want to be a part of it. And you can be a part of it, too.
For starters here’s the Six Power Teaching technique:
1. Class-Yes: To check student attentiveness and readiness to listen, the teacher says: “Class…” and the students answer “Yes…” while mimicking the exact manner it was said by the teacher.
2. Micro-Lecture: The teacher then explains the lessons for the day in “chunks” (micro details in 30 seconds) that can be easily/quickly understood by the students.
3. Hands and Eyes: “Hands” mean the students should place their hands on the table and “Eyes” on the teacher. This is to be used when the teacher is about to make a very important point in the lesson that the students should pay extra attention to.
4. Teach-Okay: After a Micro-Lecture the teacher will then ask every student to find a partner (“neighbor”) to explain again the important points of the lecture. But before this starts, the teacher will say “Teach!” in the most creative way possible (with different variations of clapping mostly). Then the students will answer “Okay!” mimicking the manner the teacher has said “Teach!” (including the clapping pattern).
5. Comprehension Check: While the class is doing Teach-Okay, the teacher will move around the classroom to listen to the explanations being made by each student to their partners and make the necessary intervention if the information being relayed is incorrect or unclear.
6. The Scoreboard: Is a teacher monitoring visual on the board whether the class is doing well in the lesson or not or whether the teacher is happy with the way the students are participating. The class either gets a “smiley face” drawing or a “tick mark” if they’re good and a “frown face” or an “X” mark for doing the opposite.
This video is a quick demonstration of Six Power Teaching strategies.
It seems easy even a child can do it– click this proof.
If you want to know the other concepts of Power Teaching go to http://www.powerteachers.net/ or contact Chris @ CBiffle@AOL.com
Do away with sleepy classrooms and let’s bring this new energy to our schools.
posted by LEMUEL
I ATTENDED a two-day seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia with five experts scheduled to speak about different topics on education. After two days I realised I didn’t really learn anything new from them. But this bookmark I got from one speaker with a quote from Haim Ginott totally changed my perspective about my job.
Getting this piece of souvenir made the seminar all worth it.
“I have come to a frightening conclusion
I am the decisive element that creates the climate
It is my personal approach that creates the climate
It is my daily mood that makes the weather
“As a teacher, I possess tremendous power
To make a child’s life miserable or joyous
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration
I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal
“In all situations, it is my precious response that decides
Whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated
and a child humanized or de-humanized.”
(I’m now planning to make an enlarged copy and put it up in the teachers lounge. Pretty good reminder of our power, ‘aint it?)
IN the old, old days people just sit under a tree to study and it wasn’t taken as a humiliating experience by students or their teachers.
It was rejuvenating and liberating at the same time.
Nowadays, teachers grumble about dilapidated windows and crumbling school walls. We whine about sweating in the heat of a classroom without air-conditioning or freezing in one with a broken down heater.
We complain as often as we wonder about how to motivate students to participate in our class activities… when the answer is simple:
Bring them outside the classroom.
It transforms learning from a dictated process into a dialogue between student and teacher.
A class held under a big tree gives each person shelter from the sun and a chance to participate in an environment-based-teacher-guided exchange of ideas.
Take a walk with your students; show and tell them.
Look for a garden. Find a tree. Go to the playground. Ever notice why P.E. and recess are the most popular in every school schedule?
If you can’t bring them outside the school building, then bring them to another room.
Collaborate with other teachers and bring them to their classrooms for an exchange.
Ask permission to bring them to the library, the art room, the science room, the music room, the school theatre– even if you’re not the type who’d be seen in any of those places.
If you’re daring enough—the principal’s office is one of the most interesting rooms to go to.
At the end of the day, I’m sure every student goes home feeling a little more interested in your class with a great tan to beat.
SOME teachers complain a lot about disobedient students.
Disobedient, meaning, kids who do not follow instructions in an activity, kids who do not turn in assignments on time and especially kids who do not follow certain school rules.
But opinions about disobedience vary as every teacher has different ways of handling such problems and yes a student may disobey a teacher but it doesn’t mean he disobeys all his teachers.
Why are there teachers who never experience disobedience inside the classroom?
The answer is consistency.
In a classroom activity, a student could be mistaken as disobeying an instruction if the teacher was not clear on how the activity should be done in the first place.
A student who has consistently failed to submit his homework may need to be disciplined not in school but at home.
And a child who often disobeys school rules may need serious counseling to find out why it is becoming a habit.
The actual problems sometime lie with teachers whose habit is to complain first before taking any action.
If an activity-based lesson has a consistent procedure that students can follow as part of a routine, disobedience could be lessened.
If a teacher has consistent communication with parents regarding homework, non-submission would never happen.
If teachers implement a consistent policy on disciplinary actions for students who disobey school rules, there would be less behavioral problems.
Teachers who are organized, approachable and discipline the students in a fair manner are teachers whom students respect and obey. They say what they expect from their students and the students know what to expect from them.
You will never hear a good teacher complain about student behavior and you will also never hear students complain about their teaching.