Faciliatators: Dr Rosalind Lim, Dr Sunny Tan, Dr Alex Tang
Communications in Education
14 Wednesday Sep 2022
14 Wednesday Sep 2022
Faciliatators: Dr Rosalind Lim, Dr Sunny Tan, Dr Alex Tang
01 Tuesday Sep 2020
Posted Books and Reading, Educationin
Guest post by Carol Perumal
READING is such an underrated activity these days that it pains me to see people not participating in it esp the younger generation. Reading is action. Even though it is done quietly and alone, reading is a profoundly social activity and a rigorously demanding one. There is nothing passive about reading: it requires attention, energy, and an act of will.
Reading makes things happen in the mind and imagination when stoked and flamed can yield greater ideas and solutions. Reading is an act of power and learning how to get the most out of its possibilities can also be an invigorating exercise. For all its association with quietness, solitude and the sedentary life, reading involves – at its deepest level – action and interaction.
To me, it increases my dopamine levels far more than any activity like playing games. I spend a major portion of my teaching time trying to motivate students to read ( and make it a lifelong habit) for it has hit me forcefully that without a reading skill one will fail to read the Word of God with understanding.
True, education is a rigorous training of the mind but we must not take the preciousness of reading so for granted that we fail to appreciate so little the kind of thinking that a complex Bible passage requires of us. I often say if you make interpretations from a complex Bible passage you can do so for all your other academic subjects. It is overwhelmingly clear to us the need to give our children a disciplined and rigorous training in how to think an author’s thoughts after him from a text esp a Biblical text.
An alphabet must be learned as well as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, the rudiments of logic and the way meaning is imparted through sustained connections of sentences and paragraphs. An understanding of any passage requires rigorous thought and mental effort.
We would have failed our younger generation if we hadn’t brought them up to appreciate reading and mentor them to stick to it even when exams are over. Of course, I am very aware of the many problems associated with difficulties in reading and word association that have hampered students from progress because a deficiency in mastering a language is almost akin to a block in academic growth. Hence I aim to apply concepts learned in educational Neuroscience as well as work with the specialists in this field to help those students. But the larger population of young people blessed with a brain that can read normally – what are you doing about inculcating a lifelong habit of reading?
06 Tuesday Mar 2012
Posted Christian education, Education, Theological educationin
Seth Godin, an innovative thinker and marketeer gives a fresh perspective and reminds us what may be a problem with our pedagogy in Stop Stealing Dreams. He writes,
The economy has changed, probably forever.
School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it’s not a goal we need to achieve any longer.
In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve been getting.
Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.
Here, Godin questions the schooling instructional paradigm. It is interesting to note that while most disciplines (medicine, social sciences, humanities) have moved away from this paradigm whose main mode of pedagogy is the lecture, this seems to be the mainstay in theological education. There seems to be a lot of support for the lecture as the main mode of content transference. However there may be another agenda for the theological professors’ support of lectures. Some professors have indicated in private discussions that their sole support for the lectures is that in preparing lectures help them in writing their books!
Research shows that Christian, particularly evangelical, institutions demonstrate a marked moral difference in five areas: (1) faculty attitudes; (2) Bible, theology, and ethics in the curriculum; (3) measured or reported impact on character or moral attitudes; (4) students’ moral reasoning; and (5) alumni views about moral education.
02 Wednesday Mar 2011
A good teacher can make all the difference between liking or hating a subject – there are times when you develop interest in a subject only because of the way it is taught just as there are times when you fare badly in another because it hasn’t been taught the way it should. Teachers influence us more than we realize, especially in our younger years. As we get older and become more independent, the ease with which we pick up a subject depends on how well it is explained or taught – some teachers are better at their job than others.
In the online learning environment, teachers are largely invisible. They are not physically present, just an almost anonymous entity behind the screen. This kind of pedagogical situation is challenging to say the least – you don’t know how well the information you’re passing on has been received and you cannot use facial expressions and gestures to convey your point or augment your words. Not many regular teachers opt for this kind of pedagogy because they’re not comfortable in this environment.
Teaching in the online environment involves more facilitation and guidance than actual teaching. The teacher is a resource whom the students use to understand their study material better and augment their existing knowledge. Pedagogy in online learning can be improved by:
Online learning is often perceived as less of teaching on the instructor’s part and more of self-learning on the student’s part, so any measure that allows the student to learn more capably will improve online pedagogy significantly.
27 Thursday Jan 2011
This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.
For more information on Sir Ken’s work visit: http://www.sirkenrobinson.com
Also see my post here on a talk he gave for TEDS and my review on his book, The Element.
02 Thursday Dec 2010
Posted Book Review, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Educationin
This is an excellent 2009 book by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity, multiple intelligences and finding your passion which he defines as “the element”. The element or our human potential is “where the things you love to do and the things you are good at come together (p.8). Based on numerous interviews conducted by Robinson and his co-author Lou Aronica, this book is both a collection of success stories of people who dropped out of the education system and made good, and a subtle critique of the inflexibility and ineffectiveness of the education system. However, the authors did not specific which education system as they drew examples from both side of the Pacific. They seem to be aiming at a generic education system. (see Sir Robinson’s lecture in TEDS).
Similar in essence to Outliers: The Story of Success (2008) by Malcolm Gladwell, the authors however argue that a passion for success is a combination of being in the element; doing what you like to do in the area you are talented in. While this true in the people they have selected for interviews (usually those who were miserable in school and those who dropped out), there are however two other groups of people which was ignored in the book. The first other group is school dropouts who did not succeed as spectacularly as those mentioned. The implication is that they did not succeed because they did not find their elements. The second group is that those people who stuck through school, graduate, get a higher education and are now pillars of society (clerks, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc). The implication is that these people have not found their elements and are now unhappy in their lives.
While I agree some of the principles of many of the things the authors espoused, I believed their arguments are too generalised and giving it a label (the Element) does not make it better. Like Gladwell did in Outliers, these specially chosen interview subjects are chosen specially to provide their theories. However, what was obvious from the people interviewed in both books are their determination and perseverance to achieve their dreams no matter the cost. The lesson I draw from them is the indomitable power of the human spirit.
27 Friday Aug 2010
In an interesting article published in Medscape on Training the Physician and the Anesthesiologist of the Future by Alex Macario, MD, MBA the training program of anesthesiologists is presented.
Figure 1. Factors that influence the changing physician workforce.
However I am more interested in the way he discerns the different demographic of the various groups of people involved in the training. This has relevance not only in the training of physicians but also of other areas including theological education.
Figure 2. Recent generations by year of birth.
Alex Macario’s study is focused on the United States but his characteristics of Generation Y is fascinating and will be useful for educators elsewhere in the world.
Table 1. Characteristics of the Millennial Generation
|Largest generation of young people in the country’s history, likely surpassing the aging baby boom generation (78 million)|
|Economically, they may not be better off than their doting parents, especially after the 2008 worldwide financial crisis|
|The most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in United States history: 60% (a record low) are white, 19% are Hispanic, 14% black, 4% Asian; and 3% are mixed race or other. They are comfortable with heterogeneity in living arrangement or socioeconomic class|
|Team-oriented, banding together to socialize rather than pairing off, acting as each other’s resources or peer mentors|
|Civic-minded with a desire to make a positive contribution to society and to the health of the planet|
|Have been spurred to achievement and display a self-confidence that reflects their being raised in a child-centered world|
|Comfortable with Web communications, media, and digital technologies (eg, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia)|
|Easier social communication through technology may explain the reputation of the millennial generation for being peer-oriented|
|Accelerating technologic change may create shorter generations, as young people just a few years apart have different experiences with technology|
|Increased global exposure through the Web, leading students and residents in record numbers to seek international educational experiences|
|Many millennials (42% of women and 30% of men) talk to their parents every day and many are still financially dependent on their parents; this has led to a new acronym: KIPPERS (Kids in Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings). As the skills required for certain jobs become more specialized, many young people return to school for professional degrees with the hope that this additional training will help them land a job. This creates more dependence on others, such as their parents, for financial support.|
Education and training in the present have to be designed to factor in the demographic of the millennials if these programs are to be successful.
Worth thinking about.
27 Tuesday Jul 2010
Posted Communication, Education, Preachingin
My dear friend Rev Dr Tan Soo Inn recently asked this question in his weekly GRACEWORKSMAIL 29/10. Please read the whole ecommentary here. He mentions that he does not use powerpoint in his presentations but uses handouts. In support of his not using powerpoint, he mentions two heavy weights like Christopher Witt and John P. Kotter who allegedly do not use powerpoint and have their reasons for not doing so.
According to Witt, powerpoint is good in conveying information not in persuading, hog the audience’s attention and takes time preparing. All these three reasons are true. But is that a strong enough defense against powerpoint usage? Preaching and teaching are forms of communication. In any form of communication, there must be some information exchange. Communication must engage the audience and the speaker’s face (no matter how handsome) should not be limited to as the only area of focus, and while it is true that power point take time to prepare, it seems to me strange to be given as a reason against using it. In preparing a sermon or a talk, if we begrudge the amount of time preparing powerpoint compared to research and data collection, then we have missed the whole point of the process of successful communication.
Saying that, I agree with Soo Inn that it is the messenger, not the powerpoint. I will also hasten to add that it is also the message and the audience. Personally I do not differentiate Christian preaching and teaching into two categories. To me, all Christian preaching and teaching are evangelistic and for edification. There can be no separation between the two. It is the work of the communicator to distill the huge amount of raw data from his/her research to the core of the message to be delivered. Personally I have to rework all my sermons or teachings 3-4 times to par down the amount of information to the core or essential sermon or teaching statement I want to convey. Who I am, my communication skills and my powerpoint are the means to convey this core or essential statement.
As communicators, we need to study our audience. Gone are the days when they are able to sit through hours of sermons or lectures. It may still work with the older folks but the younger folks have a different way of communication, hence the new social media. In a post modern audience used to two seconds sound bites, visual and musical ques and multimedia presentations, instant response and feedback (via texting, twitter, MMS, mobile video), the challenge is for communicators to connect with them in an effective manner.
Thank you for this stimulating ecommentary. An addendum: as we learn homiletics to communicate, communicators especially Christian pastors must learn how to design appropriate and effective powerpoint slides!
12 Monday Jul 2010
Posted Communication, Community, Culture, Educationin
Technology is changing education. William Drummond explores using Facebook as a learning management tool and a panel explores the 21st century student. [12/2008]
03 Monday May 2010
Posted Christian education, Church, Education, Malaysiain
A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF EDUCATION IN CHURCHES IN MALAYSIA
General education in Malaysia is deeply influenced by the state schools system in Britain and the church Sunday school movement. The state schools in the British Isles, which adopted the schooling-instructional model, were developed in 1870s to efficiently train a workforce to be minimally literate for the industrial revolution. Australian educator Brian Hill calls this “schools for the industrial society” (1985, 42). The Sunday school movement was started earlier in the 1780s and was influential in teaching children how to read, write and numeracy skills as well as learning about the Christian faith. In the nineteenth century, after its formation the state schools began to take over the function of the Sunday schools in teaching the children in the 3 Rs (writing, reading, arithmetic). The Sunday schools gradually began to focus solely on religious education. However, following the state schools, they adopted the schooling model (Hill 1985, 46). During the nineteenth century, the schooling-instructional paradigm found its way into other formative areas of Christian faith communities and gradually became the mainstay of education in Christian faith communities.