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Posts Tagged ‘world

World Teachers’ Day has been marked annually on October 5th since 1994. According to UNESCO:

World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.


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It is celebrated differently in various places or not at all. The video above is Ellen’s way. Singapore marks our own day in September.

I wonder when we might be more inclusive and global in our outlook on teachers and teaching. As much as teachers have in common in terms of problems, each system has its own issues. Teachers here might appreciate what they have here even more if they understood what their counterparts elsewhere do not.

I shared this cryptic tweet during the last #edsg fortnightly chat.

We had been focusing on the possible “game”-based changes to the Primary mathematics syllabus in Singapore.

I use “game” because what a teacher might understand as a game is not necessarily what students experience as gamers. A drill-and-practice “game” might be a welcome addition to the teacher toolbox, but it is not necessarily a game as the child understands it.

Hence, Godin’s blog entry was timely, specifically this part:

That’s why it’s so important to understand the worldview and biases of the person you seek to influence, to connect with, to delight. And why the semiotics and stories we produce matter so much more than we imagine.

Another dimension of differing world views is the focus of the activity. To a teacher, it is MATH game; to kids, it is a math GAME. For an adult, the game is for learning a math principle; for a child, the game is for racking up points, being the fastest, or topping the charts.

The students are likely to enjoy game initially because of the novelty effect. They might even participate over a longer term because of the extrinsic rewards provided by gamification tools (which are not game-based learning).

Neither a reliance on novelty and extrinsic drive are desirable because a teacher might be forced to take part in the race to hyper stimulate and entertain.

If a teacher does not get forced into the “engage them” race, it is because students soon realise that drill-and-practice is not really a game and they reject this practice.

Adults rarely get into the child’s headspace when trying to plan activities that are supposed to be good for kids. So here are three guiding and core questions (as contextualised in game-based learning):

  1. What does the child think (is a game/about gaming)?
  2. How do they think (as they game)?
  3. What can I design based on sound educational psychology principles and rigorous research?

For the good of kids, we need to focus on what is good for kids. We start with a focus on kids, not curricula, syllabi, assessments, or policy. To be learner-centred, you have to be kid-centred first.

There is a common phrase that thought leaders in education often use: Schools are disconnected with the real world.

They do not mean this literally, of course. They are referring to the bubble that schools create and operate in. For example, one only need look at math word problems, high stakes tests that you cannot retake quickly, and the general teach just-in-case approach.
 

 
Schools are part of the real world in the sense that students and teachers face real issues and problems. There is bullying, adjusting to change, learning on the run, dealing with difficult people, keeping to deadlines, following instructions you do not understand or believe in, etc. Now consider what the students face!

However, schools might not be as connected to the wider world as they could be. One need only think of mobile phone restrictions or outright bans as punitive measures for controlling human behaviour.

Today the phone is a key communication and connection tool, but some schools demand it be left out of the tool kit. As a result, both teachers and students do not learn how to use it effectively and responsibly for teaching and learning.

The adults and kids have already adopted behaviours about mobile phone use from home, their ride to school, the mall, and everywhere else but school. These behaviours are not what the school needs. For example, schools do not need people looking down at their phones while they walk, sending hateful texts, and using resources irresponsibly. The realms outside school — the real world — do not teach rationales and counter-behaviours.

So in that sense schools should not be part of the real world because it has to shape a better world. In order to do so, schools have to be better connected to the wider world so that they can problem-seek and problem-solve. They can start by officially welcoming mobile phones.

To make a better world, both teachers and students need to negotiate new behaviours with their phones in school. Schools might start with some questions. How might schools:

  • connect with the wider world with these devices?
  • leverage on phones to create a better world by communicating, sharing, and critiquing?
  • help students find things out by themselves?
  • help students find themselves?
  • help students help others?

I hate people who only play the numbers game or hide behind numbers.

But I admire people who can use numbers to tell a compelling human story.
 

Video source

This video is about the latter and not to be missed. Watch all of it. It will be time well invested whether you learn something about the human waste that war is or telling a great story with numbers.

It is Friday and time for something light.

By the time this blog entry goes online, we will know the result of the USA-Germany match. Many things would have been written by the press and in social media before the match and even more after the match.

I choose to appreciate the creativity and humour shared by two individuals.

The USA is not a great footballing nation (it cannot even be called a good soccer nation). But you have to give points to the designer of the decision tree and the author of the letter (the coach of the USA team and a German no less).

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