Saturday, November 5, 2016

Random thoughts: A 3-part lesson about thinking out of the box

SMOL keep writting about his teachers; it gave me the itch to write about my teaching. 

There is a chapter about Lim Bo Seng, our War Hero. Instead of the usual lesson, (it's after exam), I ask the pupils to extract info from the text to make into a pamphlet .

I told them to choose sides, if u are Guerilla fighters on Lim Bo Seng side, what would write in the secret pamphlets  about his death? If u are Japanese imperial Army, what would u write in the Phamplets? 

In this exercise, I challenged this top class that it is easier to write from Lim Bo Seng's Side perspective. I am glad quite a few tool out the challenges and wrote from the perspective of Japanese Army.

When I explained their "errors", I did not focus so much of the content, but the target audience, the setting, era which the pamphlet should be in and most importantly the "purpose" of writing this pamphlet. The purpose of writing from the side of Japanese is lost for those who wrote in that angle except for 1 boy. 

I told them to think about issues from different perspectives. 

The third lesson, it was a vocabulary revision exercise. Given this is a top class. They do not have problem. 

I have this decoding game (through answering quizzes) where the pupils decode and key in to code to a tinyurl page and it will lead them to a page with a Pokémon creature ! They are supposed to do a screen shot and the creature is considered "captured" 

There is this mad rush to decode for the prize to 6 pokemons. This is so much excitement.

After I have the prize to the fastest player, and ensure every group has at least one player with 4 creatures captured, I change the challenge.

Every one in the group must have at least 4 creatures. I told them to think out of the box. 

I saw every group frantically trying to solve the puzzle with those already done telling them the answers. Some groups just stick to themselves and continue to solve the puzzle as soon as possible. 

It took about 5 min for 2 groups to complete the task. I told them I can do it in 10 seconds. "How?" They asked. I said, just take photos of the 1 player's work, and all of you will have the "creature" at the photo gallery, isn't it?

One boy protested loudly," see! I told you, Cher! I thought about it but he said it is cheating!"

I ask the pupils to think about "cheating" as the bell went. 

The following day, I ask them about cheating, think about perspective, and what is their take. I gave my take on the whole thing. I also link it back to the topic about Japanese and Guerilla fighters and ask them who is right and who is wrong. Why is it wrong? They said killing is wrong. I ask them, you mean the Guerilla fighters did not kill Japanese? Is it if you are Japanese, you fight for Japanese, if you are Chinese, you fight for Lim Bo Seng? Is that right? I saw confuse faces.

The sad thing is, I felt that the whole thingy is a flop. As I only see "spark" in one person's eye, and a few pupils "pondering hard" about what I said. Most pupils gave me the "huh, never mind, this is not examinable" or "totally lost" look. Then the usual deadly "ignorance   Noding of heads" LOL.

But no regrets. I had fun. 


  1. Hi SI,

    haha, you're a fun teacher :) I also think that if Lim Bo Seng is in this current times, he'll be labelled as a terrorist fighting against the regime! His acts of terror threatened the fabric of society! Makes you wonder about the so called terrorist groups that are out there now, isn't it? haha

    1. Lol, actually I have my take on good and bad.

      What is the line between freedom fighter and terrorist. But decide against saying too much.

      I think I will miss this class, and also my P6 class.

  2. Hi SI, I would love to have lessons like this!

    A pity my teachers then aren't so creative with their lessons plan😢

    1. PP,

      There is a trade off, I ask them to do their exercises, and they did worse this time round. Drill and practice still necessary for marks.

      After exam more lee way

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