Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reflection after the first group meeting

Before my group members and I met, I began to search high and low for information regarding the initiatives of MOE for the assignment. The types of information that can be obtained from the internet are unbelievable. It was overwhelming! Any information needed is just a ‘click’ away.
As for the meeting, besides listing down all the initiatives of MOE and discussing which initiatives are appropriate for the assignment, we also shared on how we could obtain the information. Then we began to allocate our work accordingly. We would be using the ‘jigsaw’ and ‘think and share’ methods to help one another to learn about the initiatives. One of our group members, an IT expert, suggested that we can exchange our information through a platform that he is going to create. He would give us more details when we meet again.  
As I was reading, I began to reflect why I have chosen teaching as my career. Is teaching all about imparting knowledge only? Yes, but to me, it is also about how we as teachers can help our pupils to realise that learning does not end once they leave schools. It is, in fact, a lifelong process. Learning is a ‘two-way traffic’, from a teacher to the pupils and vice versa, too. Participation for all is vital. Thus, teachers must become more creative and use different types of strategies to teach in the classrooms. Then, our pupils will enjoy learning in schools and eventually, become lifelong learners.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Reflection of Mathematics Lesson

Hi All,

I’m back to school again. I attended the 1st lesson on Mathematics on 7 September at NIE.

During this lesson, we used tangrams to create squares. We used 3 to 7 pieces of them to create the squares. As we were doing the activity, our lecturer, Dr Yeap, encouraged us to take down notes and draw pictures of the squares we had created using the tangrams. He also encouraged us to share our findings as well as challenged us to be more creative in the making of squares. Then, Dr Yeap proceeded to make us recall the current initiatives in Primary Mathematics curriculum through his questions.
1) Name cards –
Besides writing our names on the front of the card, we were asked to write down the date and our signature at the back of our cards. This is a creative idea as it not only enables the lecturer to keep track of the students’ attendance, it also makes them to be responsible for their own actions. This is because if a student misses a lesson, he will know exactly which one he has missed out and will try to find out what has been taught for that particular lesson.

2) Hands-on Activities (Tangrams) –
When the students have hands-on activity at the beginning of a Mathematics lesson, it creates a non-threatening atmosphere for learning as well as stimulates one’s interest in the subject or topic. During the making of squares, the students were encouraged to share what they had created. This enabled the weaker students to learn from their peers without feeling that they were incompetent. As for the students who were good and fast in creating the squares, they were encouraged to be more creative by challenging them to use more pieces of the tangrams in their creation. The students were also encouraged to take down notes of the activities conducted. This would help them to remember what had been taught and what they had learnt from the activities. Moreover, when the lecturer asked questions, the students could refer to the notes quickly and answer the questions appropriately.

3) Questioning Techniques –
Throughout the lesson, Dr Yeap’s tone and questioning techniques put everyone at ease. For example, he encouraged the students to share their thoughts with their peers, so that the weaker students could still follow what had been taught. As for the high ability students, he challenged them to be more creative in their work by telling them to continue to create squares with more pieces of the tangrams. Thus, it encouraged lots of participation from the students. Moreover, during the hands-on session, Dr Yeap’s questions led the students to think through what they were doing. For instance, he did not tell the students that he was teaching the topic on ‘Area’ with the use of tangrams. Instead, he asked leading questions, in a step-by-step manner, to help the students realised that they were actually learning about areas of squares.

Therefore, through this lesson, not only have I learnt about the current initiatives in Primary Mathematics curriculum, I have also learnt how to conduct better Mathematics lessons in class.

Thus, although the road ahead is going to be rough, I still feel that it is good to be a student again!