19 September 2011

How would you like your children's teachers - Rare, medium-rare, medium-well or well-done? Part 2

The University of Virginia (UVA) revolutionized their medical program. They built a new facility, and the class of 2014 has the privilege of being the first to enjoy them. The link of the article is as follows:

If you are pressed for time to read it, here are some facts:
1. No more hour-long lectures
2. No more waiting 2 years to actually use a stethoscope
3. No more "theatrical" lecture-halls
4. No more coming to class with reading assignments unread because the professors' just not going to summarize it all for you
5. No more being non-participative and silent
6. They actually have a building, resembling a real hospital with a whole bunch of simulations - the "dummies" even exert noises when they are "in pain"!
...and much more (so read the article!!)

To have such institutions, we need money. And not only that, we need dedicated faculty who are willing to let go of their "traditional" teaching behaviors, and step into the current pedagogical definitions.

(One of the comments mentioned that this resembles a medical institution in Singapore.)

I wonder if we could build such facilities in Malaysia. We certainly have the money for it (from what I hear and read and learn, at least), we certainly are overwhelmed with contractors who will die for the project (this I am 300% P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E.), but if it does get built, are our faculty going to use the facility to the max? And how much are we going to charge the rakyat for it, if the government undertakes this project? Or if a private entity were to build it, what would the tuition cost look like? Hmmmmmm....

14 September 2011

How would you like your children's teachers - Rare, medium-rare, medium-well or well-done? Part 1

I would like to start a series regarding teaching and learning - my passion, of course :)
Let's see how many parts I can produce on this one. It's mostly reflections from my readings and also observations. I am to defend my doctoral prospectus this November, so I need to be "academically inclined" - big time!!

Feel free to comment or share. Let's learn together and change the world! (wishful thinking, of course).

All my posts can also be found in my Facebook notes.
I am reading a book on Learner-Centered Teaching, written by Maryellen Weimer, a very experienced tertiary educator. She had mentioned something very interesting while discussing "The Role of the Teacher". Teachers' roles have changed over the decades, and the 21st century defines the teacher to be anywhere from a diaper-changer, a facilitator to an idol. Almost no literature will advocate the teacher as THE center of knowledge, as what we are used to during our years in school. Weimer suggested that for an educator to understand this concept, he or she must be made to take a credit course in a field outside of his or her expertise once every three years. And not just merely as an observer, but actually having to pass it as part of their professional development/promotion exercise/salary adjustment/etc... She said educators "...need to experience the learning process regularly if we expect to appreciate and understand our students' first encounters with content...". I totally agree with her! We have always talked about being hands-on, putting ourselves in others' shoes, etc etc... so, do it!

Not only teachers, college and university professors have to relive the experiences of learning, but PARENTS must do it, too! We often take for granted things that we "know" and have always lived by, but to get messages through to our young ones, students, apprentices, etc... we need to make sure that we understand the other side of the fence, too.

What are your thoughts?