My Geog Blog

Thursday, September 23, 2004

My presentation

Hi guys, know what? I just got my computer last nite n as I was basking in happiness, I decided to write my thots & comments in my blog. Guez what...after typin' till 4am in e mornin'...feelin' proud of myself & having a great sense of achievement, all efforts went dwn e drain almost immediately as I clicked on the 'publish post' button. I went to slp and now I'm going to try again. I WILL NOT GIVE UP UNTIL I GET THIS BLOG THING RIGHT!! By God's grace I'm able to refresh myself & have newfounded energy 2 redo this thing......
So here goes.....

What I'm going 2 try 2 do here is 2 do a recap of selected incidents & at e same time, mke sm personal comments. Also, had a short chat w Angeline n Kelvin n they gave me sm constructive criticisms so I'm gng 2 include them here.

First & foremost, I do have to mke one thing clear> Whn I saed that my presentat'n was disastrous, I didn't exactly mean 4 it 2 sound tt bad. What I actualli meant was I couldn't believe things didn't go as smoothly as I'd planned. You know how u put in effort 2 do planning n whn things spiral out of control, u juz cnt believe how tt happened!

Okie, guez tt's abt enuff of self-justificat'n...I'm gng on 2 e mre serious stuff nw.

Recap of e lesson:

a. The 3 diff. types of settlement patterns were drawn on e whiteboard & students had 2 label
them accordingly.

b. Worksheets were handed out & students had 2 read e descript'ns & identify e settlements

c. The what, why and where of settlement patterns to be discussed.

1. Were e activities too simple?

Perhaps many of you thot tt e activities were too simple. Perhaps not. But 4 those of you who did have this thot cross your mind, I made e activities this way. Did contemplate incorporating e first 2 activities into one worksheet. But I didn't. Simply because I didn't wt e students 2 b in their groups concentrating on one activity 4 too long. What I had in mind was 2 first kp e students' focus on me (e teacher) & what I was telling them. Then I kinda gave thm free reign whn they were in their groups later on. I kpt e activity really short because it was more of one 2 kp thm away fr boredom rather thn 2 simply enrich thm. Of coz, I mentioned as well tt I wanted 2 give e students both a visual and descriptive experience in identifying settlement patterns. So in my own words, it was supposed 2 b short, sweet & serving e purpose of facilitating learning.

2. How exactly were the activities supposed 2 tie in w the OHP transparency?

Like I mentioned, e lesson was a disaster simply coz it didn’t turn out as planned. What I had planned to do was 2 flash e transparency on e OHP bt w e answers covered up. Then each group was 2 b assigned a settlement pattern n e group members had 2 talk abt e what, why and where of each settlement pattern. This was set up w e goal of having a more bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. That is 2 do away w spoonfeeding & instead, have students contruct their own information from e hints given. I admit, by e time I finally managed 2 get Sukhairan 2 stick his bum firmly on his seat, all I wanted 2 do was to finish e lesson. Hence, e action of simply plonking e transparency on e OHP. we have the pictures on e whiteboard n e descript'ns in e worksheet. What I was trying to do whn I drew up e 'what, why & where' transparency was 2 help students learn in a more efficient way. Having consulted my geog. CTs, I came 2 e conclus'n tt 'Settlement' was a very minor topic n cn actually b taught in 2, at most 3 lessons apparently. So keeping in mind tt this was a relatively short n easy topic, I wanted 2 give e students a clear, mess free, content-based lesson. In other words, minimal creativity in e lesson, students fully understand and rem. e lesson, get it over n done w & move on e bigger topics. Creativity, then, will be left 2 topics tt require mre complexed thot processes. I mean…how simple can you possibly make w a straightforward topic? (This only applies whn we’re talking abt teaching an express class)

So what exactly do I mean '2 help students learn in a mre efficient way'?

I read fr. smwhere tt many students dun do well NOT coz they haf nt internalised e facts/content/informat'n tt's needed 2 do well in exams. Rather, they have great difficulty in retrieving thm fr. their memory. What I did here w e OHP thn was 2 help students rem. e thot process rather thn e content itself. For smone w a memory of a rabbit, this method helped me tremendously throughout my studies.

You see, it was supposed to be a two-way process:-

By categorising the different settlement patterns and putting them in the format of what, why and where, students will be able 2 elicit information simply by thinking of > WHAT, WHY & WHERE! By learning this skill, memory work is also reduced. Students are also encouraged to go through the thought process w each attempt 2, retrieve e necessary information. Also, when they have internalised all information, they are able 2 form images of e settlement patterns just by having the description alone. Personally think tt 2 tackle e topic of settlements, it takes both hands to clap. In this case, one hand is images while e other is description. So there we have it, a ‘2-way process’ objective.

3. Attitude in class

Angeline actually mentioned tt I seemed fierce & kinda ‘cold’ in e way I conducted e class. Kelvin also came up 2 me after class & told me tt perhaps we were dealing w e same issue: e feeling of wanting 2 explode whn e lesson spirals out of hand & remains out of our control.

Just wanted 2 clear up e air. I was neither angry nor irritated w e class. What happened was tt I was suffering fr a huge mental block while conducting e lesson & w Sukhairan (on e pretext of a attent’n-deficit student) bein’ increasingly disruptive in class, I was growing increasing impatient n frustrated w myself. At e same time, I was tryin’ 2 think of a on-e-spot solut’n 2 settle Sukhairan dwn n get across what I was tryin’ 2 sae 2 e class. So e frustrat’n stemmed fr my inability rather thn my ‘students’ act’ns.

Like I mentioned, I have a problem of doing role-play while having my peers as my audience. It feels…unnatural. To have 2 pretend 2 b smone u’re not in front of people you have for classmates (people you do know well 2 a certain degree) is not my forte. As e lesson progressed, I was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable, hence e nervousness, and in e end resulted in me breaking out in giggles. I honestly think I’m an oxymoron. I am fierce, yet I’m not.

Okie guys…I think I really shld stop here 4 now. Brain has stopped working so I’d beta stop before I start talking like a REAL oxymoron. Will continue 2morrow. Cheers people.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

1st Geog.Class in Chung Cheng High (Main)

Hey guys...hope you are all having an enjoyable & worthwhile time in school. Can't exactly say the same for myself esp. when this keyboard is not working properly and the spacebar requires an enormous energy fr. mydelicate fingers. *sheesh* And juz whn I finally found a computer to type my entry in here....I'm bombarded by students in the com. lab. Will have to finish this up later....or more like when I find another com. Err....whose idea was it 2 haf blogger more complains. Trying my best yeah? Will have 2 write smthing gd in here later I guez 2 mke up for the delay in my entries.....k...tata. :(

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Sukhairan's Presentation

Just wted 2 comment a lil' on Sukhairan's presentat'n. *Btw guys, I do hope u cn read my short-hand. Do let me noe whn it becms a chore readin' my postin's yeah? Anyway, here goes my thoughts...

*S = Sukhairan

First & foremost, gotta sae tt I'd learnt quite a bit fr. S's presentat'n yesterdae. Juz a few things still floatin' in my mind...

1. As commented by K, S turned clapping & banging hands on table 'a work of art'. Hmm...
agreeable. However, K also mentioned tt it might juz turn out 2 b continuous clappin' &
banging of tables if it ain't effective..possible. Wted 2 pt out smthin' else > Guez these
act'ns r only workable whn both clappin's & bangin's r loud.

So this leads 2 another concern > Besides e +ve effects, it wld b apt 2 think abt hw it
affects students whn such act'ns r carried out.

True tt these gestures ll instill shock & fear in students leadin' 2 e discontinuat'n of e -ve
behavior. However, it is highly likely tt if these act'ns doesn't go dwn well w sm students,
these act'ns ll b tken personally and *sigh* once agn becms another possible power struggle ./.
teacher & students.

Yes....agree tt it does personally ll access e situat'n b4 usin' any claps & bangs in

2. Regardin' my efforts in retortin' S & tryin' my best 2 trample on his ego durin' e presentat'n.
*Sorry Sukhairan...didn't do it on purpose. The idea juz popped up in my mind & I executed e
idea rite there n thn.

In case you guys didn't know...such incidents do happen even in good schs. I noe e likelihood
of such cases happenin' in neighbourhood schs is so high tt it's prob. tken 2 b e norm. Used 2 b
fr. scgs n of coz...whn e rankin' system was still in use, it was e top 10 sec. sch...esp. whn it's
an all-girls sch...what cld possibly go wrong? WRONG. Everythin' & anythin's possible.
The very incident tt happened 2 S happened in one of e top ten all-girls sch.

Perhaps we shldn't stereotype schs. Guez all humans detest or even fear uncertainties so
there's this need 2 have prior knowledge of e unknown. By stereotyping, we're seekin' comfort
by mking assumpt'ns based on past experiences. Am nt saying it's wrong 2 seek
surety. However, wted 2 point out tt as teachers...especially in our current system & tryin' 2
deal w students's prob. better bein' versatile. It doesn't really matter 2 me
whether I do get in2 a 'gd/bad' sch. I juz pray tt I'll b able 2 handle all e situat'ns tt's gonna b
literally thrown 'in my face'. *shuts eyes & crosses fingers*

Honestly speaking...if I'd bn in S's shoes...I'd fell flat on my face & juz died. My self-esteem
wld prob. 've vanished fr. e face-of-e-earth while my hands r desperately tryin' 2 dig a hole
in e grd 4 my head 2 find a hiding plc. An Ostrich wld b a most apt. descript'n of myself 'd I bn
subjected 2 such humiliat'n. But in re-enactin' tt was a wake-up call 2 myself as
well. As e sayin' man's meat is another man's poison. In my was 'my meat'
as e words were spewed out of my mouth but 'my poison' on realisat'n tt I cld b in S's shoes.
We cnt tke it personally....we juz cnt otherwise all our well-intented act'ns r deemed useless.

I think I'll haf no choice bt 2 b mre thick-skinned. *wince* easier said thn done...

3. Okay...last thing I wanted 2 add in here. We haf bn dealin' w teaching methodologies yeah?
Was wonderin' what else cn we do 2 mke geog mre interestin' 4 our students. Yes...S's
used e right methodology for his lesson...usin' inputs fr. students & creatin' a lesson out of
e inputs given by thm. He also encouraged his students through a step-by-step logical
thinking process in his teaching.

It was all gd until I started thinking what if students aren't cooperative? You throw e ball
in2 their court & they simply throw it bk in ur face. Worse still....they cnt b bothered w
even pickin' e ball up. This cld lead 2 a lesson draggin' on w/o much constructive discuss'n.
Cn e lesson go on thn?

Sheesh....brain's nt workin'....I need rest! But b4 tt, ll 've 2 finish my PED 514 group discuss'n essay. Shall ponder upon what has bn written above. You guyz feel free 2 add any comments yeah? Niteyz.

This thing works!!

Finally...I see something in my Geogblog. Though this has nuthin' 2 do w geog. *happyz* Okay...will post something constructive up tonight or something. *Big Grinz*

Testing New Blog...

Hi guys...sorry for not having any postings in here for viewing. Apologise for being such a technology-idiot. Thankfully for Felicia & Angeline (they saved my life), 've managed to set up a new one since the old one is impossible to gain proper access. If this works....*crosses fingers*...I really owe them since they 've saved me from possible future lectures. *winks*