Thursday, July 30, 2009

SLATT (Smart Learning & Teaching Training)

At Sri KDU Again!

On July 9th, 2009, TLC team from KDU College conducted a second workshop for the Form 5 students of Sri KDU.

The theme of the workshop was Effective Stress Management. The lessons shared by the TLC team of Nelson Allan, Alwyn Lau and Alex Wan were essentially a re-emphasis of the Stephen Covey’s Habit #1of highly effective people (i.e. being proactive) and Habit #7 (i.e. sharpening the saw). The students were taught the importance of:

a. Controlling their emotions – students were helped to recognize when bad emotions are emerging and learn how to change one’s physiology to attain empowering emotions. This also involved the starter activity where the students were grouped into six teams to challenge one another on a group version of ‘Scissors-Paper-Stone’;

b. Replacing self-defeating talk with positive talk – students were told to stop repeating negative words to themselves as these would feed into their actions and behaviours. Instead they were encouraged to always think about what they can do, see the bright side in situations and look for solutions. The trainers listed down ‘reactive’ words on the screen and the students were told to replace them with their proactive counter-part (e.g. “I don’t know how” would be changed to “I can learn”, etc.)

c. Working within their Circle of Influence – students were asked to write down issues they were concerned about but had no influence over versus issues they could influence. For this activity, the were given the simple ‘doughnut’ shape dual-circle presented in Stephen Covey’s book. They were then instructed to keep their attention and focus on those issues they could positively influence and recognize how their ‘circle of influence’ will gradually grow. Students were also warned that should they make it a habit to complain about the items outside their circle of influence, this circle would shrink, resulting in more stress and diminishing control over their own lives.

d. Working well as a team – students were involved in two exciting activities to learn about teamwork in a fun and competitive manner:

  • Straight Talking: Students were told to stand in a straight line and later to arrange themselves (according to height, month of birth, etc.) without setting foot outside the line. The challenge was to communicate and manouvre effectively out of a difficult situation into an acceptable one
  • Clog Walking: Students were required to get across from one end of the hall to another by stepping on only three clogs and moving in pairs. The challenge was to work in pairs to balance and move on the clogs without getting distracted by the referee from the other team

Overall, the workshop touched on the need to be in command of one’s emotions and to fully utilize the power of teamwork and synergy (Habit #6) to work through the issues faced everyday. This workshop certainly demonstrated that Sri KDU students have a commendable propensity for being focused, imaginative, thoughtful and even playful in a healthy way.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

7 Ingredients on HOW to Learn

A child's readiness for school depends on the most basic of all konwledge, how to learn. The National Center for Clinical Infant Programs listed out seven key ingredients of this crucial capacity - all related to emotional intelligence:
  1. Confidence
  2. Curiosity
  3. Intentionality
  4. Self-Control
  5. Relatedness
  6. Capacity to Communicate
  7. Cooperativeness

(Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, p. 220-221)

The Value of Advice

"Expert advice...made the brain switch off (at least to a great extent) processes required for financial decision-making. This response, supported by subjects’ actual decisions in the task, are troublesome, perhaps even frightening. The expert advice given in the experiment was suboptimal – meaning the subjects could have done better had they weighted their options themselves."


Top 10 Mac Applications

Firefox, HandBrake, TweetDeck, Skitch, check 'em all out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TOEIC : Taking Corporate English Seriously!

  • What is the level of English among your client-facing staff?
  • Are they communicating fluently and professionally with present and potential clients

  • How would your personnel’s command of business English compare against those in Japan, Korea, China, etc.?

  • Is your organization prepared linguistically to face the challenges of an international business climate where English is the language of knowledge and commerce?

Given our Prime Minister’s insistence that English remains a strong emphasis and the overall vision of making the country a global hub for business and education, it becomes an urgent affair that every organization involved in international business should perform a globally recognized assessment of their workforce’s level of English.

For this purpose, we proudly introduce the Test of English for International Communications (TOEIC). This globally accepted test:

  • is run by Educational Testing Services (ETS), the largest private educational and assessment non-profit organization in the world

  • is taken by more than 5 million people worldwide (esp. in Japan, Korea and China)

  • is used by more than 4,000 corporations around the world

  • is the world's no.1 test for international English proficiency

  • is designed to test English communication in a global workplace (surely appropriate for Malaysia!)

  • includes components from various industries (e.g. manufacturing, entertainment, purchasing, finance, etc.)

  • includes Scoring Bands (see pic) to assist in employee allocation based on results

How this test can benefit your organization:

  1. You can obtain a global benchmark of your workforce’s level of English (especially those in the front-line),

  2. You are provided with information on language-improvement needs in the organisation

  3. You can appraise and promote promising staff to suitable positions (and apply pressure on those personnel who are not willing to learn or improve), thereby ensuring that all your front-line personnel have an adequate command of English

  4. You can motivate staff to strive towards a higher level of English in business communication (e.g. some companies offer RM500/year for anyone who can achieve the highest score-band)

Talk to us or go here for more information.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rasyid & William on the 6 Thinking Hats

TLC thanks Mohd Rasyid bin Zainol Abidin and William Lai for their article on the 6 Thinking Hats.

The topics about plagiarism and Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats were knowledge we gathered during the Orientation Week for Pre-University newly-enrolled students. The lecturer who put us in stitches during his lessons was none other than the charismatic Mr Alwyn Lau. If you think you can sleep in his class, you are mistaken; the occasional boom of his voice can break you into smithereens. We were not lulled into sleep though as the logic of The Six Thinking Hats did catch our attention.

If we had thought the word “hats” has to do with fashion, we were wrong. Mr Lau’s loud voice thundered with a shocking question, “What are the four scariest words on earth?” That would be interesting to know although we would not think much about it. So we started shouting out to him, “Do you love me?”, “SPM, how many As?” and many other ridiculous answers. His head drooping, we could see that Mr Lau was highly disappointed. He clicked on his powerpoint slide that screamed loudly on the white screen, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

We were confused. What is the relationship between these scary words and the six hats? ”That’s why you are in this class today, because many Malaysian students don’t think!” Mr Lau said with a lot of emphasis on the word, “Think”. “Using the concept of the six thinking hats, you can make decisions easily and more rationally,” he explained. Now that sounded like he was finally shedding some light at the end of the tunnel. Briefly, you can streamline your thinking into six different modes identified by the different “rainbow” colours as follows:

White hat signify facts and if you put on the yellow hat it means you are focusing on positive, optimistic thoughts. Put on the black hat for negative judgement, or to have a critical view point; don a green hat to consider options and creative ideas. Wear a red hat for emotional thinking if you are like the Android Data who has no emotions and need to be injected with some. Lastly blue hat is for leadership, to process thoughts.

Each of this hat has great significance which can be useful, at every phase of our lives, be it studying, working or in your marriage.

Therefore, let us not wear Nike, Adidas or Puma; let us instead, wear our Six Thinking Hats and have faith in them that in so doing, we would have a different mind set, adapt to change and move forward with all these wonderful colours.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009