Saturday, 9 June 2007
Einsteins working to save the world
The T-shirt says it all "Albert Einstein". Yes, these guys (and gals) are a serious bunch (in a good way) of over-achievers. They don't aim to pass. Their aim is Band 4 (top marks). And they don't like to be assessed. Nor do they like to assess their peers.
Ever tried "teaching" a group of 28 over-achievers? Almost everyone with a Ph.D.? Each with their own opinion? Everyone aiming to become a professor, eventually? Well, that's one of the things I do, sometimes 2 or 3 times a year. It saps my energy but keeps me on my toes. And it invigorates me, knowing that there is (still) a lot of love and dedication amongst my younger colleagues to become better teachers. Sometimes we crush out and I don't know what hit me. The "students" become edgy and you can see unhappy faces everywhere. They are not getting what they want. They probably think we (me, especially) are some idiots without a clue of what we are doing ... even though we have laid out what we thought was a perfect lesson plan. But we learn, and we keep learning. This time around they seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed their one full day with me and my partner-in-crime (Wan Fauzy). Overheard at the end of the workshop was one of the lady lecturers saying to the Training Unit supervisor that she enjoyed herself and wished that half of all the sessions for the entire workshop series should follow the day's format. A lot of activities instead of listening to lectures and talk after talk. OK, it seems to work this time. Then for the next workshop we (or I) will come up with what we think is a fantastic idea ... and it bombs. That's what makes teaching exciting isn't it? It's just so unpredictable.
So, how are they going to save the world? Their group project requires them to create an online course using an open source e-learning software (Moodle) integrating Sustainable Development, constructivism and critical thinking. Tough job, we know but its all about the learning ... not about the product. We find that there's always alot of interest and energy going into the projects. But our weak link is the follow-up. Most of the lecturers will go back with great ideas and they hit a stumbling block at the School level. Lack of support, lack of interest, no funds, no priority ... I gotta do something about that. Meanwhile, if you are interested to see some of their work, visit RCE Penang@USM website.
Posted by Lik Meng at 23:37