Friday, April 17, 2015

Random thoughts: Ask "when" after "why" and "how"

In any teaching workshop or introduction of "new" pedagogy, (new to me) they always start with the Why, and end with the how.

Personally, I think most people spent too much time on the "Why", in this business, if not for the children, then what. Over-hyping the "why" actually do more harm than good as over-promise lead to cynicism.

Then the "how". I am always wondering about the "how", how to use the ICT tool such as Linot, Google site, for my lesson? How to incorporate Collaboration, experiential learning and even "flipped classroom" concept in my teaching   

How to do this, how to do that. 

The equally important question, I realized, to ask is "when". When is incorporating self-assessment checklist in your Google site for oral practice useful? Most probably during the second to fourth lesson when pupils are still unsure of the structure and framework of what to say during picture description, so such a component serve as a reminder and also a means as self-directed learning. Do u still need to do that during the final few revision sessions? Most probably not. 

Now, another concept I embraced is differentiated instruction. I used to ask how? How? How? 

Now I ask "how?" followed by "when?". I did all sorts of lessons trying to infuse elements of DI, until one day I ask myself if I really value add in anyway. After reflection, I believe that during the initial few sessions, when all that I need pupils to know is the basic framework, and assume
Almost no one has heard of it yet, I do not actually need to crack my head over how to do it? I think any valued addness in D I at the stage will not be as big as during the later stage when everyone grasps the basic concept. When a baseline is established, then it is good to stretch those who already understand. I do that but asking pupils to do editing of samples. They edit it to suit their level of  understanding   and confidence. Simple and efficient, but I am sure those lecturers teaching Differentiated Instruction will frown at my simplicity.

When I am going through my mind about teaching pedagogy, I am also reminded that no matter how sound a method is, 3 universal ingredients cannot be missing. Just like no matter how good a cook you are, some basic seasonings cannot be missing. They are:
1) frequency of lessons/ tasks
2) monitoring of performance
3) energy level of teachers.

The best lesson is nothing without the above 3, the most boring lesson with the above three cannot go too wrong.

I draw a lot of parallels with investment after this mental exercise. 


  1. Sillyinvestor,

    The 3 ingredients you wrote are so true in the realm trading!

    As for investing, off the top of my mind I can think of 2 schools that will contradict you:

    1) Buy and hold - Less transactions, ignore the noise of the markets, low energy or excitement better!

    2) Dollar cost averaging in passive investing - Look ma! No brains needed! Enough said.

    I don't do buy and hold, and I don't do DCA in passive funds. No prize for guessing what I am!

    1. SMOL,

      Looking at myself, I am hardly those value investor who through the years see their holdings become multi- baggers.

      I just sold half my port.

      Maybe teachers can closer to being a hydrid of "traders" and investors ???

      The when is correct, when is for MOs to appear.

      Also, not really a contradiction. Constant monitoring of not the price but business fundenmental ...

      Frequency of tasks can be the number of comparisons you do. Peers suppliers customers ??


    2. Hmm how do you define energy of traders? And how does it affect result of trading?

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      1) "Frequency of tasks can be the number of comparisons you do. Peers suppliers customers" - at best it's quarterly during the result announcements? 4 times a years is not exactly "active".

      Most do it once a year to see if there's a need to do re-balancing - we are talking about true buy and hold and millionaire teacher passive indexing that kind of stuffs. Honestly, does the competitive advantage of a company changes from quarter to quarter?

      2) Just visit forums or blogs by traders and you can immediately "smell" the difference! Or read the comments in my blog from traders. Spot the difference?

      Not on the higher frequency of trades done - that's a given.

      Note the adrenalin in the words they used. It oozes out from their pores as trading is a full contact sport like rugby or American football. It's about winning and hating to lose. MVP and golden boots Alpha male kind of stuffs.

      OK, I'm not an Alpha male since I'm only an omnivore; not carnivore ;)


      P.S. Let's just say girls are drawn to traders in a pick-up bar ;)

  2. Hmm...

    Passion. Indeed a attractive charm, and add to the fact the most would think traders of being rich...

    Lucky I have no need to "attract" opposite sex anymore...

    Pecking order ... Demoralizing

    You have fun. Poke poke

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