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
accordingly.

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.

Okie...so 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.

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