Thursday, 17 April 2008

1 + 2 = 5

It's the end of the semester and end of the academic year, again. Time flies.

Usually, at this time, we gather the students from our M.Sc. Planning Studio together for a chit-chat. OK, for a reflective session so that we understand better what the students went through in their learning journey. It is also very much for the students to reflect and internalise their learning. Call it viva if you like. Or last chance to get that 4.0. We not only sing praises of each other but also try to poke some holes in places we seldom venture.

When I got the studio, fashionably late, I noticed immediately that they were all dressed with white tops (well, almost all). Ah, that should have been a clue. Without exception everyone of the learners were effusive about the great experience that they have had over the last 2 semester working as a TEAM. So, we talked about teamwork and groupwork, and how they are different. We talked about many things including professionalism and corruption. But mostly we ended up talking about teamwork.

So I threw them a curve ball and talked about Gestalt's Theory. About the "whole is more than the sum of its parts". And I asked them to give me a specific example to demonstrate how the product (the studio report) reflected this "theory". We tried very hard. We struggled. And the students acknowledged that this was more difficult that the exam questions. Yes, team work is about sharing, about collaboration, about picking each other up, about many things. But mostly, it should be about "1+2 not equal to 3". It's got to be more than that. But what is that? We didn't give up but decided that it was time for the mee udang (prawn noodles) promised at the beginning of the academic year. So we went to Gertak Sanggul. Pretty pricey with three big prawns and a tiny portion of yellow noodles for RM15 per plate. Tastes different from the one at Sg Dua on the Mainland but it was OK. It seems the secret ingredient is blended bake beans (Hassim told us).

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