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Posts Tagged ‘process

I like the team that makes About To Eat videos on YouTube. The group is a good example of how to adapt to the changes imposed by pandemic shutdowns and distancing.

Before they called themselves ATE, one of their most popular video series involved two hosts trying foods at different price points. Since they could not visit eateries to do this, they branched out their efforts, e.g., cooking in their own kitchens.

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In the gradual reopening of restaurants, one of ATE’s producer-videographers, Alvin, opted to create reflective documentary-style videos. His latest effort is embedded above.

His video provided insights into how much continuous work that a Michelin star chef still has to do. These are things that customers or laypersons will probably take for granted because they only see the final product served up in a plate or bowl.

For me, this is a reminder about the importance of seeking and appreciating the processes behind a product. It is a principle that applies in work and in school.

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This video illustrates two teaching principles that I am a squeaky wheel about.

Focus on ability, not disability
When teaching learners with special needs, it is easy to focus on what they cannot do instead of what they can.

While such learners will need knowledge and skills to fit into larger society, e.g,. taking public transport or working to support themselves, they are no less people than “normals” are.

It might be easier to pigeon-hole Jeff and his condition to, say, a simple service job with repetitive tasks. This video illustrates how he has developed his strengths and passions to be an artist, TikToker, and online seller.

Process and product
It is easier to focus on products of learning than on processes of the same. But this video illustrates how important and impressive the processes are behind the products that Jeff makes.

It also reveals the support that he gets and illustrates the roles that others play in the education of the so-called disabled.

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It is not often that one enjoys watching two greats, Dench and Cumberbatch, sharing screen time. This was one of their efforts to promote Red Nose Day 2021.

I like how the behind-the-scenes process video was actually longer than the polished product video. It took the opportunity to illustrate and reflect what the product video could not. It is a valuable lesson on what to focus on when implementing portfolios of learning.

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I appreciate both the final product and the insights into the processes behind that product.

If only more schools and educational institutes invested in portfolios that would do the same. We would then have insights and measures on student learning.

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This was Apple’s product tribute to the new lunar new year. And, yes, it is lunar and not Chinese since one race does not have dibs on it.

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But mine is not a rant on how peoples of other countries also celebrate this event. It is an appreciation of the processes behind the product.

The cynics might say that both videos are advertisements for Apple. They are. But the educator in me would point out how many more focus on the product (like a test score) and how few focus on the processes (like the actual learning).

Here’s to more product and process (P&P) videos over the weekend!

When I was a child, science was a series of one interesting fact after another. When I was a teacher of science, it was important information I had to relay to my students.

When I became an educator, I learnt that science is more about processes. Processes of thinking, testing, revising, and retrying. What I had previously thought of as science could be packaged like products in textbooks or CDs (yes, those old things).

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This video illustrates why science is not just a collection of facts. It is true that we have many more bones when were are in utero compared to when we are old. This is because bones fuse.

But the “established fact” that an adult human body has 206 bones is not true. Henry Gray arrived at that conclusion from dissecting cadavers of different age groups. Gray’s number was repeated in textbooks and that became fact.

We now challenge that number because of new information that we have found thanks to technology and critical thinking. Science is about habits of mind, challenging and testing information, and improving what we think we know. No bones about it.

I like musing on videos that show the behind-the-scenes processes that lead to a product. I then argue that it is more important to focus on the processes than just the product.

But doing this creates a false dichotomy of product vs process. Sometimes the process is the product. The video below illustrates this.

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Some might argue that the payoff of mousetraps snapping in slow motion is the product. While impressive, it is more remarkable when you realise how much work it took to get there.

I would argue that the entire process — from setting up to sharing the video — is the product. So if there is evidence of learning, I might look for one thing that combines both process and product and not just one or the other.

Here is a blast from the past.

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It is one of OK Go’s early music videos, Here It Goes Again. How early? The video was uploaded on 27 Feb 2009, but its IMDB page says that the original video debuted on 31 July 2006.

When I watch a video like this, I am not only entertained, I am also informed. I wonder how much effort it took to choreograph and shoot the sequence. According to the same IMDB writeup, it took 17 attempts to get the latter right.

I am not only interested in the product. I am just as interested in the processes behind it. The processes make me appreciate the product more. Should we not be doing the same in schooling and education?

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It has been a while since I have used a video to highlight the importance of being able to see the processes that are responsible for a product. This principle is true not just for a popular movie on Netflix, but also for schooling and education.

We are not mind readers and so we are more certain that students have learnt something if they externalise it. This overall process often manifests itself in a product, e.g., exam answers, group project, performed skill. One or more teachers then assess that product.

But what about the processes that led to the product? Processes like planning, tinkering, correcting mistakes, working with others, reflecting, and more. These processes are important to students while they are in school and later on at work.

Such processes are trickier to evaluate, but this does not mean the job is impossible. And anything worth doing is difficult. That is what makes it difficult.

Focus on the processes, not just the product of those processes. You might just enjoy gaining insights on and evaluating those processes as a result.

A teacher knows what the following are:

  • Schemes of work
  • Curricula
  • Attendance sheets
  • Teaching resources
  • Tests
  • Classes and courses

These products contribute to learning, but they sometimes get in the way of it.

Learning is combination of many processes. These might be relatively simple (like maintaining attention) or complex (like perspective-taking).

Teaching is neat. Learning is messy.

Learning might result from teaching, but the latter does not guarantee the former. Learning is messy. Teaching is neat.

Learning is not a product you can easily package. Anyone who thinks or says that needs to unlearn that perspective.


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