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Friday, September 30, 2005

School sanctions

This is one post I didn't want to post but I have read somewhere that if one wants to become a writer, one should be honest if one wants to be effective in this field. Just look at the very famous writers. They were sincere with their writings and they shared what was to be shared. Now, I do not have any intentions of becoming a famous writer, but since I am doing this journal of some sorts for my children, and their children's children, I might as well do it right.

I did not want to post this because it involves my youngest son. You see, I had to suspend him for two days for a misdemeanor that he did in school. He was caught by his math teacher talking to a seatmate while a test was going on. Our handbook clearly states that talking during in a test shall be misconstrued as cheating. So, as soon as the violation report was given to me, I signed it and implemented it according to the handbook. I have told my children before I accepted this position that once they have been complained of any ill-doing, there won't be any investigation anymore but has to be addressed and be giving its full sanction. Tough job but I have to do it.

This leads me to another point. A teacher came to me once to say that a student has copied another student's assignment. The teacher was in a dilemma as to what offense has been committed. Should it be cheating? The handbook says cheating is committed during an exam. Should it be plagiarism? No, because it was not a project or a research paper the student was claiming as his own. It was an assignment. You see, assignments are done at home and the child can seek help anywhere it can be had. For me, an assignment's purpose is to aid the understanding of a lesson. Whether it be as a prelude to the lesson so that the following day, the student would have an idea of what is going to be tackled in class or it could be a review of some sorts or an exercise that was supposedly learned in class. At any rate, it is not similar to a test which aims to evaluate one's understanding of a particular lesson.

Sometimes, I do not go for the traditional way of thinking. As eccentric as it may sound, I sometimes go for different ways to handle a specific problem. It is not uncommon for me to get into trouble, mind you. But that's who I am. Anyway, considering the circumstances, I told the teacher that if it was I who was in that predicament, what I would do was to call the parent just to inform that such a thing happened, give the child a zero for the assignment and give him a similar homework (which was not to be graded anymore) if only to make him understand the concept being taught by that particular assignment. Probably a harder one since I would be working on the premise that the lesson to be learned has indeed been learned already. To my mind, this is a better sanction than issuing a violation and following the traditional sanctions prescribed by the handbook. After all, the end product should be a lesson learned from the endeavor.

Unfortunately, the teacher followed a different route. Oh well, it was by the book, so no problem. What would you have done? Was my idea so far-fetched?

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

All about seminar-workshops

This morning, as usual, before going to my office, I passed by the faculty lounge to have a brief chat with my friends. I chanced upon reading a news article from Philippine Star that says our students did poorly with regard to Science and Math by international standards. Students in Manila did fairly better than their counterparts in the provinces. Once again, this poor showing in these semingly important subjects was attributed to the lack of good teachers as one of the culprits. Several solutions are being thought of to address the issue. I read that one of the solutions is sending these teachers to seminars and workshops to upgrade their skills.

Now, I have just attended a seminar-workshop on drug counseling at a hotel along Taft Avenue several weeks ago. As is always the case, I have been disappointed with some of the participants. Of all the people I can sit with, I was unfortunate to share the table with two middle aged ladies who did not care what was going on during the lecture part. They kept on talking and talking about mundane things. I was so pissed I wanted to shout, SHUT UP will you? These were teachers from public schools who, I am sure had been sent there using tax payers money. I know because that was one of the topics of their discussion. I did not mean to eavesdrop but I can't help hearing what they were talking about. They wouldn't even whisper. This is not the first time I had experienced teachers of this kind. I once attended a seminar on the Liabilities of Teachers and was disappointed to share seats with people who would not give a damn about their seatmates and talk in their natural voices making you lose an entire thought of what the speaker is saying. "What did you eat? The fish was a little undercook, wasn't it?" I wonder how these teachers react to talkative students?

What is my point? The point is, if we would like to upgrade the ability of teachers, we cannot do it via two day seminar-workshops but by a thorough training program, which, of course, would be a little expensive. But who cares, its our children's welfare at stake. It is about time we start spending wisely.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Composition at work

Here's the last entry on my Art lesson posts. If you remember the things I discussed earlier, (formal and informal balance) here are two examples of how these work. I shall be using a poster as the example as the same priciples apply to practically everything else.

So, imagine that we are to do a poster of a product, say a pencil. What are the key elements that we can put on the poster? First we have a "title". Let us use the name of the product for the title. I shall use the name of my daughter, Keshia, as the product name. Then, we have a "sub-title". Usually, this is a slogan or a by-line to call the attention of the viewer. Then, there's the "illustration". Now, this is very important. You have to come up with a very catchy illustration or photograph so that passers-by would be drawn into the poster and stay awhile to look and get him/her to read the information. Next is the text or copy which is the actual information or message you want to get across. This part is usually supplied by the copywriter. When I was in college, we use to represent this with plain lines just so the printer would know where to put the text. Remember not to put very long sentences or paragraphs when the poster. Nobody will read very lengthy advertisements. Lastly, we have the company name or the logo.

Now that we know the parts, here are two examples. I used formal balance for the first example.

formal Posted by Picasa

Notice that all elements are justified. Remember that formal balance is having symmetry of all the elements. What you find at the left, you will find at the other side. In computer lingo, it is "justified". This is a very safe ploy. You will never go wrong when you use this. The only thing you have to worry about is proper spacing and proportion. (Okay, I committed a boo boo here. Notice the flap? There is something wrong with it. Can you tell me what it is?) O di ba, may test pa. hehe

Now, compare the same elements using informal balance.

informal balance Posted by Picasa

If you were the artistic director, what would you have chosen, if ever? Or would you rather that the artist create another one? Do you have another idea for a layout? Tell me about it.

I hope I was able to help someone out there with these simple tips on how to prepare a visual presentation.

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
Posted by Hello
Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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