Posts Tagged ‘moe’
by sea turtle
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
$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]
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.
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!