Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And the benefits of Chinese medium schooling is?

Another reason why you should think twice about sending your children to typical chinese schools in Malaysia....

Kenny Sia: Chung Hua Middle School

Even thinking about it gives me the shudders!

May 2006: Under 8's Day

Under 8's Day is a special day each year for over the past 100 years (or more!) where the community comes together to have a day just put together for the children aged 8 and below to come and enjoy activities put up by the institution. This year, it was held in early May.

This year, I took part at the Under 8's Day which was held at my uni in Toowoomba, Queensland, and had the opportunity to observe what they did for this day. Activities such as easel painting, fence painting, chalk drawing on pavements and on the floor, big parachutes, paper boxes city building, noise makers and body gym, bubble blowing, mystery science wagons are part of the activities prepared. Free sausage sizzle was sponsored, but...nah. I was too busy helping out with pumping & blowing of balloons to have any.

I saw my lecturer, Jason Locke working with popcorn popping with the children, and played with slime in the science wagon. I mostly helped out with the easel painting, giving out the balloons, and even got my face painted!

It is not possible for me to include pictures of children, or individuals, due to reasons of copyright and privacy.
necklaces on tree

Stringed Paper Cups hanging on the tree.

me. tree. muah!
The ever obliging model. :-) Face painted with a butterfly!

writing on walkway
Children's writing on walkway.

film canisters....make paint job.
Ideas for painting. Use film canisters! Used for normal easel painting.

egg carton paint
Ideas for painting. Use egg cartons. RECYCLE! Used for face painting.

Pack away time...!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Field Trip at Amaroo Environmental Centre, Kleinton.

Environmental education is learning how to care for the Earth, other people and ourselves. (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993).

Among the many activities, field work has been described as an integral part of the environment education programs. Direct experience in the social environment is important if students are to take a leading role and to gain an aesthetic perspective environment (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993)

Today, the day of my field trip to Amaroo finally arrived.....

In the morning, my coursemate, Robyn picked me up from the bus stand in front of the residential area where I am currently staying now. I had to drag myself out of the bed....the winter was freezing cold, and conducive enough in tempting me to sleep in!

Well, fortunately she picked me up, else she'd have ended up alone at the Environmental Centre by herself! *lol* There about 6 people who had signed to go, but only the 2 of us turned up!

Basically Amaroo is just a place where the children can go for field trips. As can be attested, field work can be a ready extension of classroom work (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993)

There are four centres for different programs, ranging from pre-school to up to high school. These range from Cooby Dam, Leslie Dam, and Ravensbourne National Park. Each facility has different programs arranged and designed for the needs of the different age levels, depending on what the schools want.

The bathrooms were built on a separate building, with different ones set up for boys, girls and adults (females and males). Facilities for the physically challenged were built together in the main building.

The schedule of the centre is fully packed through out the year, and pre-planned for the entire year, with a few free days, in case of change of weather, such as rainy days. Children from special schools also come for field trips. As it is, the centre is allowed to charge a levy for children who come for the field trip.

The groups that came today were in Pre-school and Grade 2 level. The children came wearing hats and name tags. They were not wearing uniforms though. They lined up in 2s, and all of them had a partner that they queued with. They sat on the benches around the campfire place, as the guide explained to them what they were going to do for the day.

The Preschoolers were to go for a bush walk around the facility, whilst the 2nd Graders were off to make dampers. (Dampers is a sort of bread). They were going to cook the dampers in these iron pots over the camp fire instead of putting it into the oven, like those good old days campfire! *Exciting!*

Then the guides started a fire on the campfire site, and asked the children questions on what they thought could be happening with the fire. We followed the pre-schoolers around for the field for a bush walk for about an hour...*Whew, who'd have thought a bush walk could be TIRING!*

I heard and learnt about names of different bush animals whose name I had never heard of. It was my first time I heard of ant-lions. I even saw cactuses, termite nests......

At 10, we left during morning tea and headed back to the university for a tute later at noon.

My concern was that according to the guide, even children at Toowoomba do not really spend much time outdoors these days. What with new innovations and technological gadgets available these days, it's like the children had not had much time out in the open....

Now, what does that say about children these days?

Department of Education QLD (1993), P-12 Environmental Education Curriculum Guide, Publishing Services, Australia.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Teachers as Actors.

Taken from:
Tauber, T. Robert, & Mester, Sargent Cathy (1994) Acting Lessons for Teachers: Using Performance Skills in the Classroom, Praeger Publishers: USA

Things that a teacher should look at before presenting to a classroom:

1) Teacher showing ENTHUSIASM for teaching.

2) Hanning (1984) states "teachers have to develop a "teacher-self" when they start out".
To do that, they need to have the right tools in their toolbox, or props, being:

It is important that teacher master their subject matter because, " You may be able to fool some some of the people all the time, & all of the people some of the time".

3) Animation: Body
Summary: Use body animation to emphasize/ articulate a point that the teacher is trying to make.
-Teachers can use eye contact with a student whose interest in wavering.
-p.37, Typically, listeners typically put more faith in a speaker's nonverbal message than the verbal.
- teachers should not begin to walk (other than to write on the board) while a student is talking (Fisch 1991), being that the problem is that other listeners in the room will be attracted to the person in motion instead of to the person speaking.(Upstaging), including coin jingling, & pacing. That will not annoy not just the student who is trying to speak, but all of his/her friends in the room as well.

4) Animation: Voice
"It is not enough to know what to say, but it is necessary to know how to say it."Aristotle.

It is not how loud a person speaks, but how firmly the teacher speaks.
-Anderson (1977) states that a reasonably strong voice is thought to be confident, self-assured, and in control, being useful to the beginning teacher.

- Rate: p.46, teacher pause time, and "teacher wait time" allows the teacher to control the mood of the class. (Tobin, 1986), teacher speaking at a moderate pace (Grobe et al. 1973).

Expressive Voice --> Speaker Credibility --> Listener Comprehension.

p.48, Voices can contribute to the ability to maintain discipline, as it is a barometer of emotions.

5) Classroom: Space

"People like to be close enough to obtain warmth & comradeship, but far enough away to avoid pricking one another" -Sommer.

p. 60, in the theater, directors CONSCIOUSLY apply principles of proxemics (the study of interpersonal space) to determine the best placement for each of the characters within a space, to help the audience to understand the playwright's point in the scene.

The effective teacher should place themselves in such a way to:
a) establish the desired relationship btw teacher & students
b) provide emphasis for the most important ideas of the lesson;
c) maintain the students' attention.

p.55, Having a student in the teacher's direct line of sight would influence their responsiveness,affected by the classroom seating arrangements, which the teacher could be able to block their position within the confines of the scenery in order to enhance student attention, which can be done prior to the class, by carefully taking into thought the nature & substance of the material to be presented & both the limitations & creative possibilities afforded by the classroom space.

- p.58, If the teacher notes that the students seem reluctant to share ideas, a change in space relationship may be need, where a moving to sit at eye level with students may initiate a change in the power relationship.

6) Humour:

A safe way of incorporating humour, is using "curriculum cartoons" that talks something about the subject being studied (think about Fogarty during Early Childhood Professional lectures), which may help students learn the revelance of concepts, "facilitate the learning of definitions & symbols, & promoting insights into difficult concepts" p.69. (Powell & Anderson 1985, p.87)

7) Role-Playing:
Wearing the appropriate attire so that you as the teacher can feel & "get into character".
Role playing also allows the teacher by pretending to be another character, the teacher (p.80) "has created a situation in which students seem to feel freer to challenge & question ideas presented (Duncombe & Heikkinen, 1988). However, it should be a strategy to be used somewhat rarely for special emphasis & impact.

-The teacher must be well prepared, choosing and researching an appropriate character to portray, deciding whether to imitate the character (in full costume, props & staging) or suggest the character, and know what kind of dialogue to construct.

8) Props
an example of a prop, p.93, Reading from a book adds a dimension of reality; reading from one's notes is a step further removed from reality.

- Always test run your props, and carefully think about the ways to present it, as it can "make or break the lesson" p.93.

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