Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Who needs to attend workshop?

The new year has begun... and our 'businesses' resumed... oh, what I mean is workshops.

Yes, it's an exciting business, as we see different people in different workshops... indeed, for someone who's very socialable and good at networking (unfortunately I still lack that), it provides good opportunities!

A colleauge once put it across in a reserved manner... look out for the behaviour of participants, where they are from - Primary or Secondary Schools... that's a difference... Oh yes, there is!Observations somehow made us wonder... is it the environment the participants immersed in shaped their behaviour? Some are more nurturing ones while there are also the more independent ones...

On the other hand, in a recent workshop, another 'breed' caught my attention. The more aloof ones! I'm not referring to the participants from the elite schools or JCs... but some of the fresh graduates from NIE! Of course, I'm also weary that it never applies to all, but only a handful.

It's similar to the classroom scenario - where in a class of 40, that 2 to 3 are enough to make a difference to the learning environment, the teacher's perception to the class, and of course, the shot to the teachers' blood pressure!

Back to the workshop... this could be avoided, isn't it? Since participants sign up the workshop because they see the need to attend! Of course, there are only occasions when they are arrowed to attend... however, as an adult, as a professional, one should be know how to conduct onself in a professional manner even if one gets bored or is bogged down by other things such as markings.

Hm... of course, a question to myself is, am I 'treating' the participants as 'pupils in the class' where I hope to see complicance - ie. when a teacher is talking or teaching, one should display the most basic courtesy - to listen.

This happened in one of the workshops when my co-presenter was presenting some kind of teaching approach while a couple of participants (from the same school), fresh from NIE were engaged in 'NT' behaviours - changing the wallpaper of the PC to their personal photographs, going to online albums, marking assignments... and required a 'deterrant' to park behind them before they stop these businesses. It was obvious that they could not deliver the learning activity using the new approach discussed in the workshop as they did not pay attention to it. I guess, up to the point they left the workshop, they still had not realise what has gone wrong... probably will go back to share that there's nothing new to the approach taught in the workshop...

No doubt the teachers are equipped with the necessary ICT skills, that complements when designing tasks, it was a pity that they failed to see the key is the pedagogy behind the learning task...

So, what's the point of attending a workshop when one think is good enough and need not to pay attention? ...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Fair Lady

The first thing in the musical that caught my eyes was "Prof Henry Higgins"... Why? The Englishman! A 'typical' middle-age Englishman that has a notable waistline and sharp face features. That immediately reminded me of Keith Blake, the gentleman who hosted us for 5 days while in London last year. It's just so similar, the kind of 'look', the pitch of the voice, and how he talked... well, all these simply replayed before my eyes... I guess Keith has left such a deep impression because of the close interaction that few days... and yes, will not forget his thoughtfulness, when he would gently asked if things were fine and clear... and being so helpful... ok, took the opportunity to show us around 'theatre land' and some 'key interest places' on the way to our very first destination - DfES. Oh yes, there's where I learnt about the 'London Plains'.

In this musical, I was more captured by the storyline and the occasional funny lines rather than the singing. It's the first time that I chuckled and so amused by the lines in the musical. Have never read the famous story... but heard the songs from the CD. The interesting thing is about the transformation of 'speech' - it tells one that how one talks can be transformed. Is it real? Or it's trying to illustrate the fact that nothing is impossible. That reminded me of days when we attended the English course while in NUS and NIE. Oh yes, our lecturer will randomly pick on us to read the paragraphs, in the English lab and corrected us along the way. Nothing left a deeper impression that I was made to repeat the word "Children" for so many times when I was in Primary 2. Yes, Mrs Hum was the English teacher and the passage was on "King Solomon and the Children" - how he identifed the girls from the boys with his sharp observation and logical deduction. Those were the days...

Guess one of its winning formula was the songs presented - they are so popular and familiar to the ears. The singing, on the other hand... I had heard better voices, especially the soprano and solid voices like those in Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera!

Afterall, though there isn't very grand props around... it's a good one that worth the time :D

As we slowly walked out of the theatre, through the corridor, to the steps... realised an 'added feature' which was absent in my past visits - someone thanking us for patroning... and noticed he actually shone the torch at the steep of stairs and repeatedly remind the patrons to walk carefully... That reminded me of an accident reported on the paper - that a woman fell and died as she tried making her way to the restroom. So, it's a 'reaction' measure?

Side Dishes~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Talking about Service...

It was near 6 pm. Remembered there are several eateries that lined up along the way to Suntec City (in the citylink)... Have always wanted to try the food there...though knowing that it's priced more steeply... oh yes, normally it's the 'no-no' place when out there with YL and GC... So, the opportunity arises today!

Talking about Food...

Was attracted by this "Suan-la noodle"at the Asian Kitchen... always have a crave of sour and hot stuff... so went in... Ordered the "Milk Tea with Red Bean" and the "suan-la noodle", of course.

As it was still early 'dining hours' and there were very few patrons around, the waiters & waitresses were pretty free. I guess they have been advised not to hang around at the counter. So, they started to pace up and down the paths... I presume is to make themselves easily available to customers... However, what caught my attention was how they walked - with 2 hands placed at back and walked up and down the narrow path... Hm... like a teacher doing invigilation in the classroom. So, one learning point - how one walks matters.

Thought that with so many of them pacing up and down, they are meant to be attentive to customers' needs. However, that's not true. My Milk Tea with red bean was served with crushed ice - the red beans were mixed with the crushed ice... the cup comes with one straw... I was trying to pick up the red beans with the straw amongst the crushed ice... but none of these active waiters/waitresses noticed that and I have to put up my hand to request a spoon!

This is definitely a great contrast to Tony Roma where the family dined last night. The waiters/waitresses shown their attentiveness in small ways that left good impressions with the patrons. Bro and me were the ones who placed the orders, but along the way, the waitress noticed that my parents were non-English speakers... as we left the restaurant, they did the normal 'Thank you' at the door, but in particular, to my parents - in Mandarin! So???? See the difference?