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Posts Tagged ‘comic

I picked this comic out of several that Larry Cuban shared in a blog entry

At a superficial level, I get that he comic is supposed to be funny because of the role reversal. The traditional bully is now the bullied because the new bully is savvy enough to manipulate Facebook.

On a deeper level, Facebook? Really? The youth of today are not flocking to Facebook. Their parents and grandparents are. The comic is designed for the older reader and possibly prepared by an older writer.

It is one thing to connect with your audience, it is another to misrepresent a group you have your crosshairs trained on. Doing the latter perpetuates ignorance.

If you cannot REACH them, you cannot TEACH them. 

The lesson in teaching that I draw from this negative example is this: If you cannot REACH them, you cannot TEACH them. 

Being out of touch with your learners is surmountable — you can read, watch, listen, and learn. This takes effort. Staying out of touch with your students is easy — read and laugh at a comic because you do not question its premise.

Almost every Friday, I have a McDonald’s breakfast with my son before I drop him off at school. It is something my son looks forward to because it is McDonald’s and because it signals the weekend.

I, on the other hand, feel the need to “detox” after such breakfasts, so I have just fruits for lunch. But while I  might lose some health points at McDonald’s, I gain some quality time with my son.

Just yesterday, my son decided to talk about his art lessons. He told me he wished they were more interesting. A few months ago, I just wished they were more regular.

Every Friday, my son has to pack a special file with basic art supplies. Earlier in the year, my wife and I would ask what he did for art only for him to say he did not have art lessons. Evidence of art work were few and far between.

The art lessons seem to be a bit more regular now, but my son does not find them engaging. He is not an artistic genius, mind you. He just wishes that some of his art lessons involved the drawing of comics.

Here are some of my son’s efforts in Posterous [1] [2] [3].

I think my son had a reasonable comment given his interest in drawing comics. But I am not waiting for the school to include comic drawing.

I reminded my son that he had a book that taught him how to doodle things like robots and animals. He could teach himself how to draw better. He has also started reading some comics and he can learn by observing, mimicking and adapting.

My son mentioned that the author of the doodle book also had another one on drawing comics. (I must remember to ask him how he found out!) I replied that we could look for that book and buy it if he was really interested.

I’m not expecting a school to change its curriculum to suit one or a few. It cannot because it is built on an industrial model of one-size-fits-all. Even the new changes that emphasize values-education in the Singapore schooling system are not likely to individualize learning. As long as the school as we know now is a dominant model, there cannot be highly customized learning.

But we live in interesting times. My son can learn to draw comics with the help of online resources, communities and teachers. He can pursue his passion without the support of his school or even his parents. If his passion becomes a career, he can rely on the same media, people and practices to live his comic life.


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Whether as an administrator or an academic, some days feel just like this. Words that are confusing and pointless in the grand scheme of things.

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With the end of the YOG, we at NIE get our workplace back. I am sure that most of us can relate to something in the comic!

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Might it look like this?

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Love the Gary Larson style of the piece. But God needs to upgrade to a multitouch or possibly a holo (halo?) screen!

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Winston Churchill was believed to have said “I am always ready to learn, though I don’t always like being taught.” Our students might say the same thing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Students don’t necessarily learn they way we prefer teach.


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