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Posts Tagged ‘sgag

If you had to deliver a COVID-19 message to the masses so that they move in the right direction, how might you do it?

If you were a minister in government, you would take a formal tone and craft something that newspapers would like to publish. For example, keeping kids at home instead of school might be met with: [source]

This is part of our psychological unity – students, teachers, parents all being part of it – and we all rise to the call as one united people in tackling this crisis

If you were a humour-based group with a presence on Twitter, you might leverage on an informal tone and embed a video featuring an angry comic. For example: [source]

The strategies could not contrast more, but they are about the same principle: If we stand together by being physically apart, we have a good chance of beating the coronavirus.

But the second method is more direct and relatable. The fact that is it laced with humour and marinated in Singlish is a bonus.

For me, the second method is like peer teaching. After a high-sounding introduction by a teacher, a concept should be retaught by students in pairs or small groups. This allows them to test their understanding, identify gaps, and learn it twice.

To teach is the learn twice. Whitman, N.A. & Fife, J.D. (1988). Peer Teaching: To Teach Is To Learn Twice. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED305016.pdf

As students try to teach one another, they realise how much they know and how much they do not. They will use language and examples that are familiar to them. They are more likely to internalise something new.

Peer teaching does not ensure learning though. Students might not identify gaps or they might perpetuate misconceptions. The point of peer teaching is to get students to process information immediately, directly, and in a relatable way so that the processes of learning are visible.

Did you process the embedded image in the tweet above and laugh? You are probably part of the majority and get the joke about stereotypical mainstream schooling in Singapore. Read on.

Did you shrug your shoulders or go “meh”? You probably do not care or did not get the joke. Stop reading. Go away.

Did you see the plot holes and choose to plug them? I did and am doing this.

Real life is often funnier than fiction, so the image works. But it does not work all the time.

All schools here do not go full tilt during the first week. All parents do not send their kids for enrichment tuition. The rhetoric may be popular, but that does not make it right or truthful.

Kids in their first year of Primary or Secondary school often have orientation weeks or fortnights. After all, they are transitioning from one form of schooling to another.

They need to be prepared to be schooled. This means learning how not to ask questions and not to think imaginatively. So the last image of the child in pain is true, but the tag is not. It is painful to lose during schooling what employers will later demand.

My critique aside, it is also true that schools now focus more on non-academics like building character and integrating into communal culture. For example, my son has spent much of the first week outside of his school and the classroom to learn about the artwork in the CBD and to go kayaking with his teachers and peers.

A layperson who was schooled 10 to 15 years ago can create a tweet like the one above to draw laughs from others similarly schooled. While there is a little truth — take extra tuition, for example — that is more a function of kiasu parenting.

Only those in schooling and education can and should point out fallacies. I do so at the risk of sounding humourless and “not getting it”. I do get it; they do not. They need to be educated too.


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