Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ability to observe: Science.

Today, J.Locke, our Science & Technology lecturer, made us do an activity where he gave us laminated photos of different parts of the university grounds. In our groups, we had to discuss and figure out where these "snippets" of the uni grounds it was.

Verdict: We get a FAIL grade if we we were ever called to the court as a crime scene witness.
The objective of the exercise was to test our own observation skills of the uni that we went to for the past
(fill in the blanks) weeks we had been there for.

He noted , "do you guys go around the uni with your head facing the ground, or you do you students not even notice anything at all???". Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

It is a good activity that I would recommend to teachers to ive their children to develop their observation skills.

Another hands-on activity that he asked us to do was to take this plastic tray which contained 2 batteries strewn all over the box, an empty torch light, a paper umbrella (like those that decorate your cocktails and pina colada drinks), transparent opaque sheets, coloured picks.

What do you think he wanted us to do with it? The topic he had in mind was "light & shadow".

I'll let you figure out that yourself.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Teaching science through cooking.

Sometimes we think our cooking sucks, but have we ever thought to step back to wonder about the reasons why the cooking may have sucked?

Well, I was pondering over this coz I totally failed to cook my water convolvulus dish yesterday. If you are wondering what that is, it just another word for "kangkung". If we apply the concept of science to cooking, a lot of us would be much better cooks. Indeed, cooking is not just a matter of just cutting, slicing, shredding, boiling or mincing food . I was just watching Iron Chef on tv earlier tonight. The theme of the show today was apples and chocolates (for Valentine's Day).

Two patteseries had to prepare dishes within the span of one hour to prepare as many dishes possible, and as
I watched, I realised that the chefs had to think of the best possible way to use and to incorporate their knowledge of the

1) properties of the food itself (apples and chocolates),

2) the kind of cooking instruments they had,

3) the amount of help they had (other staff).

There may be people who sniff at the importance of incorporating cooking as a subject in school. Yet, cooking
is one of the ways we can incorporate a lesson on

1) math:
-estimating how much of the ingredients is needed,
-estimating how much to cook for each person in the
household or friends or for the people we want to cook for)
-how much time to cook the ingredients we have put together
to the time we can eat it,
-how much time is needed to cook using the KIND of
instrument we have
- problem solving

2) science:
- time here is related to how long it takes to cook in
regard to the properties of the food,
- how properties of a food affect the different ways it can cook and used, i.e., chocolate cooked over heat makes its into liquid, which can be molded into a differnt shape for a dessert.


-what does one type of ingredient cook well with, for eg, what are the properties of self raising flour,
or plain flour, and what are they being used to make,

-what are the citrusy food and non citrusy foods and can they be put together when cooking?
- some foods neutralise the taste of meats, i.e, ginger in cooking meat crabs,
- the different kinds of wines that goes with diffrent kinds of meat, or that complements the food, white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat.

- what are the water soluble and non water soluble vege, i.e, kangkung is a water soluble vege and whithers one or two days straight away after being plucked, wherease harder vege like chinese cabbage and cauliflower has a longer life span and can kept for later

- what are the different ways the same food can be cooked (sauteed, pureed, boiled, fried, into a sorbet)
-how much of heat to use when fry or cooking the food, so that it turns out the way we want it?

3) social:
- feeling pride on a good job done
- sharing food
- fellowship over food
- learning to cook from watching other good cooks than making your own mistakes and wasting food! (as they say, it's better to watch and learn from someone else than waste time on your own!)

Meetings, Bloody Meetings & Conflict Management.

Anyway, today my Early Childhood Professional class watched a video during Early Childhood Professional on "Meetings, Bloody Meetings (British) starring John Cleese, and Conflict Management (Australian).

John Cleese is a good actor, and the production was well directed. As I watched it, it helped me to reflect and think about my own perspective on how meetings were chaired, and I realised that a lot of "so called" leaders were very bad at chairing meetings, as that was brought home to me tonight.

It definitely brought back a lot of food for thought. The art and technique of being able to chair meetings reflect a lot on oneself as a leader and how it reflects the image of the company and the organisation.

The question is, many of us do not realise it as we have not been exposed to what is good strategies and techniques of chairing meetings, and even if we were, we did not realise why it was the way it is.

These are some of the things we hve to do when planning for meetings.

1) PLAN: WHAT is the meeting for?
- Have an agenda.
-Make sure everyone is clear of the intentions.
-The agenda allows and is a brief for others to work from.
- Planning allows Leaders to KISS the meeting. (KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE) without wasting precious work time.

2) INFORM: Make it clear to everyone what is to be discussed, why, What you want from the discussion. ANTICIPATE.

3) PREPARE: Allocate time and make connections between the list on the agenda.

- State proposition, state argument and evidence.

4) STRUCTURE & CONTROL: Take the evidence before the interpretation.

5) SUMMARISE & RECORD: Record straight away decisions made during the discussion.

The other was Conflict Resolution.

This is even relevant in an Early Childhood Setting, where teachers and principals have to deal with irate parents who may feel that the school may have neglected their responsiblity or feel that their child is not learning in school.

It talked about how we have to disengage ourselves from a stressfult situation and TAKE ONE STEP BACK so that we can SEE THINGS A LITTLE BIT MORE CLEARER than what we think it is.

Many a times, we use the avoid/flight strategy in avoiding conflict, instead of accepting conflict as part of life, and when that happens, the conflict situation becomes worst, and instead of solving the problem it aggravates the problem to become even bigger.

Most importantly, DO NOT REACT to an accusation or a situation, but listen to the other party's perspective or what they may have to say, i.e the IRATE PARENT.
The teacher should then emphatise with the parent.(agree. agree. agree). Customer is always the BOSS (LOL).

In the short term, we blame others and this creates a whole lot of stress....and snowballs into something bigger. By stepping back and looking at the facts, and emphatising with others, it helps to diffuse the situation (event though that MAY BE a very difficult thing to do!!)

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