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Posts Tagged ‘moe

 
This is my plain vanilla reflection on the MOE Workplan Seninar 2013 yesterday.

Here is what always happens. It rains, there is a traffic jam, and it is held at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

There is often something surprising or juicy, almost like the late Steve Jobs’ “one more thing”.

Not so much this year. It was mostly about developing what has been established over the last two years. Perfectly acceptable.

There were more videos to illustrate the messages this year. I think this was a subconscious recognition that video is the new text. Videos tell more in a few minutes than a session can do in a few hours. I wonder if other stakeholders will be able to watch the videos on a larger platform like YouTube.

I was glad to hear a special segment about ICT-enabled learning. Not just enhanced or optional, but enabled.

The announcement says that the platform will be ready in 2016.

As far as I am concerned, it is already available. It is just not sanctioned, filtered, or curated officially. It is called the Internet.

The best thing about that resource is that everybody creates, curates, and critiques. Using and shaping those resources means we do not live in a vacuum. We teach and learn in context.

I did not think there were announcements that would cause any seismic shifts. There was no need because the shift started two years ago.

If the keynote was likened to an ice cream stall, it had variants of vanilla. Some folks like vanilla. If you look for it, you might find a poll or two that show it is the most popular flavour of ice cream.

Vanilla is a valid flavour. Most of us might like vanilla. As long as there are no nuts.

I messed around with Storify’s iPad app right after the morning session of the MOE WPS to get my perspective of the story out.

Back in the office, I tried the export-to-WordPress tool at the main Storify website. This is what it looks like.

It does a very good job of keeping tweets intact and including my footnotes. Even a comment and likes are included. Too bad the URLs were not automatically created as hyperlinks.

I wish ‘live’ tweeting and backchannelling were a cultural norm at events like these.

Hmm, a National Conversation about this national “conversation” perhaps?

  1. ashley
    On the long, extremely crowded ride to the MOE Workplan Seminar at Ngee Ann Poly. Will be crowded there too, Iike every year.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  2. ashley
    Maybe MOE might consider NOT giving door gifts for folks to manipulate once & throw away later. Just saying.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  3. acroamatic
    RT @ashley: Maybe MOE might consider NOT giving door gifts for folks to manipulate once & throw away later. Just saying.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 18:27:03
  4. ZakariaZainal
    RT @ashley: Maybe MOE might consider NOT giving door gifts for folks to manipulate once & throw away later. Just saying.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 18:29:40
  5. Footnote: This was a jigsaw that could be flat or a box. I saw a few folks abandon them on the floor or chairs as they made their way out.
  6. ashley
    Review video of the last 15 years (and 4 Ed ministers) seminars.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  7. ashley
    So many slates in use. Saw this over someone’s shoulder: “Touching hearts. Engaging minds. No change since.” Everyone’s a comedian!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
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    like

  8. Footnote: No wonder there was no backchannelling!
  9. ashley
    One tag line at WPS: “Every parent, a supportive partner”. As a parent I choose not to be merely supportive. I choose to be involved!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  10. ashley
    Ed minister invited outgoing Ed SMS & PS (Ed Dev) on stage to say a few words.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  11. ashley
    Ed minister back at lectern. SG textbooks used in 30 countries. How about our apps? Oh, wait…
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  12. ashley
    Ed minister on igniting the joy learning: “Notice how we speak of smart kids and not spunky kids?”
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  13. ashley
    Ed minister reiterated kindergarten curricular standards so parents resist hot housing kids.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  14. ashley
    More reiterations of multiple pathways like Crest Sec, ITE to poly, poly to other higher Ed.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  15. ashley
    Paraphrasing Ed minister: Knowledge & skills become outdated; character & values last a lifetime.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  16. krenentertainer
    RT @ashley: Paraphrasing Ed minister: Knowledge & skills become outdated; character & values last a lifetime.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 19:40:40
  17. pea
    RT @ashley: Paraphrasing Ed minister: Knowledge & skills become outdated; character & values last a lifetime.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 20:37:48
  18. ashley
    Examples of CCE from Punggol Pri, Yuan Ching Sec & Telok Kurau Pri. Temasek Sec to involve parents with home CIP.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  19. Footnote: Temasek Sec already does this. Tweeted in haste.
  20. ashley
    Temasek Sec also conducts Circle Sharing in which kids share personal family stories, eg, hardship & personal loss.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  21. ashley
    Ed minister: from this year, we will abolish banding by absolute academic results!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  22. ashley
    Several school performance measures struck off the list. Audible oohs from audience.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  23. ashley
    No more cookie cutter schools. With Hougang Pri as eg using outdoor adventure education.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  24. ashley
    $55mil for every school to develop its own niche area.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  25. Footnote: Not $55 mil per school. That is the total for the schools that do not have a niche area yet.
  26. ashley
    Ed minister on nurturing caring teachers: Care for teachers 1st by having more human policies.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  27. ashley
    Smaller class sizes require more teachers. Ed minister suggests students help teach each other. More teachers does not mean more quality.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  28. ashley
    Teacher-Student ratio in SG is 1:15 in Pri and 1:18 in Sec. On paper!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
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    1
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  29. Footnote: Who else is tired of hearing these stats? Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Even the amusing story during the WPS does not tell the whole story.
  30. ashley
    25% of SG teachers are less than 30 yo and have less than 5 years of teaching experience.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  31. ashley
    On to parents as partners. $60 haircut woman cited. Message: Help yourself if you want to be helped.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  32. ashley
    Ed minister: “We must take a firm stance against unreasonable demands.”
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  33. ashley
    Ed minister on parents pushing kids too hard academically eg tuition, but mollycoddling them eg, carrying their bags.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  34. ashley
    @krenentertainer Try again. I had to try a few times. Maybe it’s being hit so much by so many folks here it seems like a DOS attack!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  35. Footnote: DOS = denial of service
  36. ashley
    Ed minister points out that the largest section in our bookshops tends to have assessment books. Says everything!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  37. hychan_edu
    RT @ashley: Ed minister points out that the largest section in our bookshops tends to have assessment books. Says everything!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 19:49:26
  38. ashley
    Ed minister: How to maintain rigorous standards & provide optimal stress?
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  39. ashley
    On homework: Ed minister highlights project boards and handbooks. How about things like Edmodo?
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  40. ashley
    Paraphrasing Ed minister: Don’t give homework for its own sake.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  41. ashley
    Ed minister: Excessive tuition does not help our children.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  42. Genevieve_ELIS
    RT @ashley: Ed minister: Excessive tuition does not help our children.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 19:58:08
  43. pea
    RT @ashley: Ed minister: Excessive tuition does not help our children.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 20:34:44
  44. ashley
    Assessment standards must be appropriate. Don’t set tests to “wake students up”.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  45. hychan_edu
    RT @ashley: Assessment standards must be appropriate. Don’t set tests to “wake students up”.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 19:56:23
  46. ashley
    Ed minister: Let us take a step back & ask ourselves what really matters to our kids. Kids with heart & hope.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  47. pea
    RT @ashley: Ed minister: Let us take a step back & ask ourselves what really matters to our kids. Kids with heart & hope.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 20:34:19
  48. ashley
    Inspiring story at end of Ms Liaw, 50yo woman who lost her husband to cancer & took care of I’ll father-in-law for 16yrs…
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  49. ashley
    Ms Liaw is now enrolled in ITE for hospice care. Bravo! She received long, rapturous round of applause from audience.
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  50. ashley
    Break time started at 1105. We have to return by 1120! Long lines for food. Even longer lines for the loo!
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 12:44:06
  51. krenentertainer
    @ashley I thought He just said something along the line of care for educators. :p
    Tue, Sep 11 2012 20:08:24

You might have read this Channel News Asia (CNA) article about MOE’s latest buzz phrase. I’ve highlighted two parts of the article but I actually have three things to say about it.

2009-08-26-moe_vision

First, teachers now have a vision statement: “Singapore Teachers: Lead. Care. Inspire”. A former colleague of mine that I follow on Facebook said:

slightly bemused at MOE’s new vision statement: ‘lead. care. inspire’. Indeed, but who’s going to do the actual teaching? (not to mention marking!)

It’s tongue-in-cheek, but typical of what an experienced teacher might say. In reality, the vision might play out as teach, mark, cry (teacher), scold, cry (student), teach…

Second, most teachers would recognise the picture that CNA used. Sadly it still represents the typical classroom. So tell me: How do teachers lead, care and inspire with PowerPoint? Oh wait, maybe they will upgrade and use “Smart” boards or “Interactive” White Boards! (Long time readers will know that I am being sarcastic.)

At this point, I highlight an article that a former trainee of mine, Laremy, brought to my attention about a teacher education programme in the UK, Teach First, that emphasizes that teaching is difficult. They do this in an attempt to recruit and retain the best talent. Here’s a snippet from the article:

Unlike government recruitment drives, which tend to present teaching as appealing, even easy, Teach First describes the job as tough and demanding because the right people are those who are attracted by the most daunting tasks.

This is in direct contrast to our MOE-sanctioned ads that show teaching or teachers as inspiring , hip or surrounded by a permanent mist that magically makes everything better. I also recall that MOE used to have a recruitment ad that said: Teach, if you care. My response then (and still) is they should have gone with Teach, if you dare.

So back to the CNA article which reports that MOE has signed 3,040 teachers. Our NIE records indicate that we have 2,233 as of 18 Aug 09. The remaining 807 are either in cold storage or they will join us next year. If they dare!

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Have you ever wondered how much money goes into Singapore’s education system? On Feb 4, the Today paper published the amount of money requested by various Ministries in Singapore.

todayonline-04feb09-education

$8.7 billion. That’s more than MCYS, MEWR, MOM, MOF, MICA, MFA, MinLaw and PMO (#8 to #15) combined.

Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of money and we in education are spending it. Just how accountable are we with the research and teaching that we do?

Every time there is an economic downturn, the numbers increase here in NIE. (I’ve been an educator in NIE since 1996 in some capacity or other, so I know!) MOE steps up teacher recruitment of folks who, to paraphrase what teacher trainees have told me, "actually wanted to be teachers" or  "want more stable jobs".

I don’t have a bone to pick with these potential recruits. They may or may not have less than ideal motives, but they may also have life and work experiences that can prove valuable in and outside the various learning environments (notice how I did not use the term classroom).

Instead, I question the way MOE opted to sell education as a career in the display outside Raffles Place. I was not there to see it myself, but I saw a photograph of the display. [Archive of related articles collected by someone else]

2008-12-10 MOE classroom display The link to the archive does not include the photo above that I scanned from the local rag. The photo made me wonder why MOE opted to sell the classroom environment as a “rank and file” one.

Was it to appeal to the folks who were used to that environment? Was it perhaps to reassure them that modern learning environments were orderly or ideal (like car ads with little or no traffic)?

Real learning environments are more dynamic and messy now. They will only get worse (or better, depending on your perspective) in the future! Perhaps the publicity arm did not have enough money to put up a more elaborate and accurate display. Then again, perhaps they did not have the imagination to think outside the traditional classroom box, especially if they were products of such a classroom!

My critique may sound harsh, but I think that new teachers need to know what modern learning environments need to be like in order to prepare our children for the now and the future.

The folks at Raffles Place will already know the harsh realities of the working “classroom”. I hope that they will bring this view with them when I welcome some of them in my classes. The same classes that take place in a lab, studio, Second Life, and various Web 2.0 environments!

I attended the MOE Workplan Seminar 2008 this morning. This seminar is held once a year, typically for the Education Minister to reflect on the past year and to shed some light on the path ahead.

You should be able to see a press release or a copy of the speech soon. I had intended to blog the event ‘live’ but met up with a few old friends there and got distracted!

There was lots to be said of course. But one thing struck a chord. The Minister described how he had visited schools to solicit feedback from schools. In summarising one of his findings, he mentioned how some principals and teachers had indicated that they hoped to implement changes so that children would “enjoy coming to school” and “learning by play”. That is a tall order and one that seems to be coming from the sample of schools he visited and not from MOE HQ.

Might this be the “Welcome!” doormat for educational gaming? I’ll take my fingers off the Wiimote for just long enough to keep my fingers crossed!

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the precursor to Master Plan 3 (MP III): MOE announces 6-year plan to boost ICT in classrooms.

Yes, I did notice that the URL says 5-year plan while the headline and content said 6-year plan.


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