Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teachers Mass Lecture - Teachers for Tomorrow: Enduring Mission, Evolving Role

Attended the Teachers' Mass Lecture held at Singapore Expo on Wednesday (26 August 2009). Look forward to the lecture as these lectures presented in the recent years are highly relevant to the context (it's about change... changing environment, changing learners, changing role of the teachers). Of course, there's always some 'big bang' to look out for, each year. For instance, the announcement of the Grow Package, etc. This year's no difference. It's the launch of the vision of the Teaching fraternity.

extracted from MOE's homepage:
MOE’s Director-General of Education, Ms Ho Peng, launched the Vision for the Teaching Service at the Teachers’ Mass Lecture. Drafted by teachers, for teachers, the Vision aims to keep teachers focused on what they want to accomplish in the years ahead to move the fraternity to a higher level of professional excellence.
It says...
Singapore Teachers—Lead. Care. Inspire.”
“By word and deed, through the care we give, we touch the lives of our students. We make a difference—leading and inspiring our students to believe in themselves and to be the best they can be.
As individuals and as a community of professionals, we seek continually to deepen our expertise. Respectful of fellow educators, we collaborate to build a strong fraternity, taking pride in our work and profession.
We forge trusting partnerships with families and the community for the growth and well-being of each student.
We Lead, Care, Inspire,For the Future of the Nation Passes through Our Hands.”
Wow... it has succinctly summarised what we are here for...

Well, what are the takeaways from the session?
I think, the key message is, "Teachers, you matter!" The way the students are going to be, are what you are (partly) and what you have to offer. So, indirectly, is about teacher competence, too! One of the new strategies (approach?) is the setting up of PLCs (Professional Learning Communities). Indeed, I'm just wondering... how different is it, compared to COPs (Communities of Practice)? Is it just a change of name? Yes, I believe so... as there's already some deepseated perceptions of COPs... of course, I believe, learning from past experiences, the purpose PLCs have and the form it takes would have sharpened and implementation should have much more well thought-through... (learning from previous experiences!)

Another thing I picked up... About the "Bus" analogy... which Sir Michael spoke about (if I remember correctly), the attitude towards prioritising and participating in change in a timely manner.
  • When opportunity knocks at our door, and we know that it's just the beginning, do we choose to come on board (someone once described, "bite the bullet and go") and participate even at the early stage? Or we want to wait for the next opportunity that arises, which by then, it could be something that's non-negotiable?
  • Sometimes, because timing is not right, we would just give it a miss and wait till we are ready. However, how often are we ready? By the time we are ready, will the bus come? or it may come late when everybody would then be on the bus.
  • Another question is, do we, indirectly, shortchange our students of what they deserve and would have enjoyed the fruits of implementation because we decided not to take the risk?
Another interesting but important point:
What went wrong (in the classroom) when there's no change after the 'said' reform?
This is the most fearful outcome (after any review)! In other words, all effort put in does not yield results reflective of the intent of change! So, what would have gone wrong? It could happen at any point of the chain. Of course, if we talk about change of assessment mode, changes could be made at the classroom level (informal assessment, formative assessment). However, when it comes to summative, because the mode is determined by the highest examination board, there goes the varied ways of assessing learning outcomes... students simply have to be trained to answer questions the way they appear in the pen-and-paper exams!

Ringing the bell again... What are the "future planet occupants" like? What's the skill set they should be equipped with? Indeed, nearer to us are our students! So, are we ready to equip them with the right set of skills? Are we competent enough to teach(?), to role model(?). Is our existing system evolving and changing, and thus creating the kind of environment that's conducive to develop the desireable dispositions and outlooks (of our students)?

A Formula for all of us:
Ethical Underpinnings (Knowledge + Thoughts + Leadership)
E ( K + T + L )


Indeed, tweeted along the way... throughout the lecture... (read from bottom-up)

~~~~~~~~~~lecture by Sir Michael Barber

  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML It's the quality of tg force that matters. Class size matters? The appropriate kind of strategies to make a difference here.
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML the wisdom of dealing with change.
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML What went wrong (in the classrm) when there's no change after the 'said' reform?
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Is it ok to miss the bus because we know there's one on the way?
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Sustainable economic growth & priority to edn. - survival & thrive
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Wow! The unknown unknowns!
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML system level - Quality of the Tg force - Tr prepn & PD (leading to excellent classrm practice)
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML learning, learning & overlearning (fluency). Learning strategies, objectives, intent
  • OOICY: #TDML what's so different the Equation from the FIVE MINDS?
  • OOICY: #TDML Ethical underpining>>>
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Citizenship Edn. Child learning to lead. E: Ethical Underpinning
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML hands), Leadership (capability to lead - given opportunities - practise in sch, at home, etc
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML who r these 'turnaround' agents? Educate every child well... E(K+T+L) - Knowledge, Thinking/Thot (alone or in teams; think with our
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML face the poss being conquered if not alert & sensitive to changes?
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML while there's development & progresses, degree of impact & influences draw both benefits & concerns... Hv we conquered? or...
  • OOICY: #TDML are earthlings ready for the 2050s? the overcrowded planet!
  • OOICY: #TDML accounting the progress of technology by Sir Michael Barber.
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Technological & Scientific developments.
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Lecture by Sir Michael Barber begins... starting fr space creature about mankind development...

~~~~~~~~~~Address by Ms Ho Ping

  • OOICY: #TDML LEAD the learners, Lead the learning.
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Leading Learning - Teacher leaders. Learning Communities - PLCs
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Our vision: S'pore Trs Lead, Care, Inspire
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML 5 Dimensions: intellectual, Physical, Aethetics, Social, Moral
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML words: CARE, INSPIRE, PROFESSIONALS
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML Emerging Teacher Leadership - untapped attributes of trs... where r we heading towands
  • lohkwaiyin: #TDML TLLM - innovation, evoln - research, pedagogies, capacity building...
    lohkwaiyin: #TDML milestones - TSLN top down to ground up, inspectors to mentors, sharing...


~~~~~Follow-up discussion @ SST on 2 Sep PD Session:
  • Key concepts:
  • Ethics [macro]
  • Leadership
  • Thinking
  • Knowledge
  • Change [macro]
  • Education

  • Generalisations: (are complete statements - should be something that's arguable)
  • Ethics underpin change
  • Leadership is the critical vehicle for change (provocative?)
  • Alternatively (more complex): Ethical leadership is the critical vehicle for better changes
  • Curriculum should constantly be reviewed and change as the world evolves(?)
  • Education that focuses on skills rather than content prepare students for the better workforce.

  • Supporting Evidence:
  • Advancement of technology in railway
  • Opportunities to change but there are countries lagging behind
  • After big bang, Physics can only explain 5% of the world

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