Power Teaching Workshop

          by Lemuel Iglesias — INSPIRED by CHRIS BIFFLE’s YouTube Videos and his Power Teaching Handbook @ http://wholebrainteaching.com/ (see other post below), I conducted a POWER TEACHING SEMINAR at Merlion International School in Surabaya, Indonesia on July 2009. It was attended by teachers from Pre-School to Secondary School.
          This part shows all the basic Power Teaching Techniques developed by Chris and his group: Class-YES, Teach-OK, Mirror, Scoreboard and Micro-Lecture.
          It’s totally unrehearsed and spontaneous. The result was impressive even if it was the audience’s first time to try it. Whole Brain Teaching / Power Teaching really works. Music: “Cavatina” by Stanley Myers, performed by John Williams, copyright Cube Records, 1979.
For comments, send it to lemueldap@yahoo.com
          To watch other portions of the workshop in HD– click THIS.

IGCSE Training for Art and Design

by Lemuel Iglesias — 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. I was trying to imagine me and my students probably doing the same thing next year.

18 AUGUST 2006 (Friday), 7:50 am — It was another day for the Common Test. We spent our time looking around the school and taking photographs of student works which was everywhere in the campus. We stopped by in the library to see their art book collection. They do have some good titles. We liked the one called “Painting without Paint” and read it till our next observation schedule.

11:15 am . Same Day– I WENT to see Mr. Yeo to discuss the Sec 5 Coursework. He explained to me the whole process and showed some samples (see photo) that have yet to be finished. I helped myself to some great student works from the previous exams and took several shots for me to take back to my Sec 3 students (they’ll be taking the same exams next year).

14:10 pm. Same Day– A QUICK tour of some of the artsy spots was part of the itinerary they made for me. So right after school, Mr. Lee was kind enough to accompany me to the SingaporeArt Museum , where they were showing works from the so called “First Generation Artists”. It was a great show. I got a taste of the local art history and it was all for free. Then we headed for Bras Basah for some bargain art books to take back.

21 AUGUST 2006 (Monday), 9:05 am — FIRST on my schedule was another observation in Mr. Lee’s 2E2 art class. They were having the same lessons as the other Secondary classes so I was kind of familiar with the whole procedure. Took some shots and asked questions regarding how Mr. Lee marks the art works and how he prepares for his lessons.

10:45 am . Same Day—THEY provided me with some time to take more photos of student art works and read the supporting papers previously submitted for markings. I got so see the ones who got high marks and took note on how they did it—with a lot of detail and effort, of course. Photo shows a project in ceramics and a supporting document for an exam paper that got an A.

17:45 am . Same Day—WE had another cultural tour of the city, this time in the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Arts site. They have a lot of galleries showing the works of mostly foreign and some local artists. After that, Mr. Lee took us to The Esplanade, which was awe inspiring during night fall. We saw some installations inside and a free piano performance right at the main lobby.

22 AUGUST 2006 (Tuesday), 7:15 am. —THE last day of my attachment and the busiest one. I handed a gift to GreenridgeSecondary School on behalf of the PSBSingaporeSchool during the morning assembly. It was a beautiful Ramayana artwork from Indonesia . The students showed their appreciation by applauding the whole ceremony. I even mumbled my version of a speech thanking everyone for their hospitality. The gift was gladly received by Mr. Mohammed, GSS HOD for Science.

10:45 am . Same Day—I HAD my first demo with Mr. Yeo’s 1E4 class. I showed them how to create a simple acrylic seascape using the wash technique and stippling. I think they liked it because I got some applause right after. They kind of liked the idea of seeing a painting done right in front of them from start to finish. Just imagine how quick and accurate that lesson should be.

12:25 pm. Same Day—DID an encore of the same lesson in Mr. Lee’s 4A1 and 2 classes. These students were quite mature and understandably skillful so I asked them to do their own version of the seascape I did using the techniques I’ve shown them. Expectedly, we got impressive outputs. Remember they were the same guys who are fresh out of their ‘N’ Level Art exams last week.

15:20 pm. Same Day—THE most challenging part of the whole GSS attachment was the workshop I gave to a number of Art Teachers from their school cluster. I planned for us to have a painting session with a still life as our topic but we ended up talking about our lives as Art Teachers. We basically shared our methods on how to teach art and ways on how to motivate students to exert more effort in studying a subject which should be presented effortlessly.

THEN we stumbled on the topic of Magazine Illustration, which was my forte. So I showed them how I used to do it professionally. Finally, I asked them to draw their own interpretation of the same topic—“drunkenness” and you can see the result on the left side of the page.

IN CONCLUSION, having experienced this attachment to GreenridgeSecondary School is like being illuminated with new knowledge to impart and fulfill, which is to guarantee that the students from my school, the PSBSingaporeSchool , would get the same kind of quality art education GSS is providing. So I thank everyone responsible for this great learning experience: The inspiring principal of GSS, Mdm. Alice Heng, whose advice I took into my heart; the super-active HOD for Art, Mr. Lee Sze Chuin who really lived up to the name “master” of the ‘N’ Level Art Exams (as I played the part of the “apprentice”).

SPECIAL thanks also go to Mr. Steven Koh, the nicest Math teacher I’ve met in GSS, who accommodated me during my whole stay and gave me important “life lessons’ as a teacher; the very patient and artistic Mr. Yeo Hock Aun. I saw his drawings and paintings, and I was really impressed. He answered all my ‘O’ Level Art Exams inquiry quite clearly.

OF course , I thank all the students and faculty who were all so kind to me during my training. I got to know a lot of them and learned a thing or two about Singapore from them as well.

FINALLY the leaders of PSB Singapore School, who have trusted me with this honour: Mr. CAPATI, Mr. TAN, Mr. LEONG, Mr. TEH and Mr. SINGH, thank you from the bottom of my heart. ( LEMUEL J. IGLESIAS, 28 August 2006 )

Creative Solutions: THE SLAM BOARD

slamboard2_edited-1 copy

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.


If you’re a Kindergarten teacher click this link. If you’re a College instructor click this link.

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.


Everybody’s happy.