Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Hal Urban's teachings mirror Stephen Covey's (the creator of the 7 Habits) in that he urges us to return to the hard journey of character ethics i.e. success is a function of deep change from the inside-out, not superficial performances (what Covey called 'personality ethics').
Teachers with character will, among other things:
- start teaching at the classroom door (i.e. they won't wait until they're inside the class to being imparting good character lessons to their students)
- teach manners, especially the Golden Rule
- ensure that the atmosphere is rid of "toxic elements" (such as complaining, gossiping, back-stabbing, etc.)
- help students to own and honor the rules
- laugh with their students
- help students set lifetime goals
- find something to celebrate every day
- encourage students to write mission-statements
- improve their teaching (and their role as teachers) every year
Urban reminded his listeners about the important difference between being STRICT and being MEAN.
He also shared some NLP-related techniques in addressing student boredom and dislike for homework and hand-outs. He encourage students, each time they were about to get a hand-out, to exclaim excitedly, "OH, BOY! ANOTHER FANTASTIC HAND-OUT!!". Also, instead of asking, "Do we HAVE to do homework today?", students should say, "Do we GET to do homework today?!"
- "Goals are dreams with deadlines"
- "The Golden Rule rules"
- "No discounts - everyone counts"
- "No one ever went wrong by being polite"
- "Comfort Zone - NO PARKING"
TLC is glad to champion the cause of character education at KDU, to promote good manners, a healthy social environment (with less complaining!) for an even better and more fulfilling educational milieu in the college.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
What kinds of businesses thrive in recessionary times? How do entrepreneurs get a running start in a recession? The New York Times offers 5 views from:
1. Amar Bhidé, professor of business
2. Scott Reynolds Nelson, history professor
3. Rita Gunther McGrath, professor of management
4. Don Kelly, patent agent
5. Martin Lindstrom, marketing consultant
One area affected by the mini-budget or stimulus package that was announced yesterday is postgraduate education in Malaysia. All the details are not out yet but here are some of my preliminary thoughts based on the following Star report.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it would finance tuition fees and research grants up to RM20,000 for every student pursuing a PhD locally and RM10,000 for students pursuing a Master’s programme.
“A total of 500 places at PhD level and 10,000 at Masters level in public universities as well as at Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Multimedia University and Universiti Teknologi Petronas will be offered,” he said.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin was happy that the stimulus package took into the consideration the needs and problems faced by fresh graduates during the current economic slowdown.
“Not only are there several schemes for unemployed graduates, the Government is also helping them further their studies by providing financial aid,” he said at the Parliament lobby.
Right off the bat, I want to state that I am not against increasing the number of postgraduate students in Malaysia. In fact, this is probably a necessary step if we want to increase the R&D capacity in our country. But there are a few caveats here, caveats which I have discussed before in previous posts. These include - having a sufficient number of professors who can teach and guide these postgrad students and having a selection process that is rigorous enough such that only well-qualified students are admitted into these postgrad programs.
The remarks of the Higher Education minister do not inspire confidence in me. It seems to me that he sees the increase in the number of postgrad places in our public universities as a way to decrease graduate unemployment. In fact, his remarks seem to imply that these scholarships should be given to unemployed graduates!
In any economic downturn, especially in the US context, a larger number fresh graduates will opt to go to graduate school because the opportunity costs associated with grad school is lower - fewer high paying jobs under current market conditions and so on. But many of these students, especially those who can get into the top graduate programs, would have found a job if they didn't choose to go to grad school albeit one which may not meet their high expectations. These are not students who go to grad school because the alternative would be unemployment.
Perhaps the Higher Education Minister was quoted out of context but it really does seem to me that he doesn't 'get' postgrad degrees. He may really think that it's a good solution to solve unemployment in the country. If these students cannot get a job in the private sector or in government, why not ship them off to do postgrad degrees which we i.e. the taxpayer will foot the bill for?
At least the Education Minister seems to 'get' the picture a little bit better:
Meanwhile, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the 1,000 additional posts for graduate teachers, who would be hired on contract, would enable the ministry to address the shortage of teachers in certain sectors.
These teachers will be put to productive use, hopefully, in areas where there are teacher shortages, both geographically as well as by subject. The academic 'bar', so to speak, may not be as high as that needed for a PhD student.
The costs associated with selecting a large group of students who are unsuitable for PhD programs are far greater to the taxpayer as well as in terms of human resource management. There may be high drop out rates, dropping of standards to allow sub-par students to obtain their PhDs, frustrated PhD students who are not well guided by their professors, etc...
In order to get an interview for this dream gig, participants do not send in a resume and an essay (boring), but instead submit 60-second video presentations explaining who they are why they should be selected. Here are a few samples - should our students be encouraged to do the same?
"Fortunately, there’s some good news for Indians in the new report, since ECA puts Chennai at No. 6 on its list of cities that have made the most progress fighting air pollution in the past five years. Three of the top four on the most-improved list are Asian: Tokyo is No. 1 on that list, Taipei is No. 2 and Seoul is No. 4. (Sydney is No. 3.) Not to minimize the hard work that Japanese, Taiwanese and Koreans have put in to eliminate smog, but it’s no coincidence that they’re doing better at the same time China’s cities are doing worse.
"When you shift most of your low-end manufacturing to another country, chances are good that your air will get cleaner."
Read the full news report.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Create an Emotionally Safe Classroom
Friday, March 13, 2009
What do you think? What would be in your ideal class?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
FROM: Nury Vittachi.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to apply for a new position. I realize you have not advertized any vacancies in the area in which I am interested, but I thought I would write in anticipation of a post becoming available.
The job I want to apply for is “Child”.
I realize that I am a little bit (okay, several decades) past the usual age for this position, but I believe I can be retrained.
Last week, I was crossing a pedestrian walkway with my child when we saw a beggar. I saw a smelly man flouting society’s conventions and speeded up my steps to pass as quickly as possible. My child saw a person in need and gave him a huge smile.
Then we crossed a car park. I saw a patch of dirty ground with oily puddles to be avoided. She saw rainbow-filled pools to be stirred into psychedelic patterns with the toe of her shoe.
Then we passed a group of men digging a large hole in the road. I saw an irritating danger to traverse. She saw a glimpse of the heart and lungs of the city and insisted on stopping to watch for a full eight minutes.
Then we headed to a shopping street for lunch. As a boringly predictable adult, I suggested Starbucks. But she smelled fried noodles and dragged me into a workmen’s cafe where we shared a really tasty meal for less than the price of one designer cappuccino.
Then I scanned the newspaper to look for cinemas, shopping malls or theme parks to visit. She decided “the fun-est thing to do” would be to take a ferry nowhere in particular and then take it straight back to where we started.
So that’s what we did. It WAS fun. And then we headed home.
On our journey, it became clear to me I am not cut out to be an Adult. How could I have got it so wrong? In my teen years, I believed I was born to be one. Not only was I growing taller, but my voice was getting deeper, my skin hairier and my birthdays greater in number. Drifting into Adulthood seemed natural.
However, I now realize this was a gross error. I had not fully considered the consequences.
So I resign from Adulthood with immediate effect. Please find enclosed my car keys, my house keys, my credit cards and my gold membership card to the Old Codgers’ Club.
I will no longer pretend to like subtitled European art house movies. When asked what my all-time favourite movie is, I shall admit to it being The Lion King.
I will no longer buy suits from tailors who offer me a choice of colors limited to grey, grey, grey or grey.
I will no longer pretend to enjoy books which have won the Booker Prize and will re-read The Magician’s Nephew.
I will no longer pretend I like sitting in bars late into the night discussing politics. I will go straight home after work and play Monopoly.
I will no longer eat organic lettuce drizzled with olive oil. I will have Coco Pops for dinner.
Why not join me? You might like it.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
1. Information. This is a meeting where attendees are informed about what is happening (with or without their blessing). While there may be a facade of conversation, it's primarily designed to inform.
2. Discussion. This is a meeting where the leader actually wants feedback or direction or connections. You can use this meeting to come up with an action plan, or develop a new idea, for example.
3. Permission. This is a meeting where the other side is supposed to say yes but has the power to say no.
PLEASE don't confuse them. Confused meeting types are the number one source of meeting ennui. One source of confusion is that a meeting starts as one sort of meeting and then magically morphs into another kind. The reason this is frightening is that one side or the other might not realize that's actually occurring. If it does, stop and say, "Thanks for the discussion. Let me state what we've just agreed on and then we can go ahead and approve it, okay?"
While I'm at it, let me remind you that there are two kinds of questions.
Questions designed to honestly elicit more information.
Questions designed to demonstrate how much you know or your position on an issue and to put the answerer on the defensive.
There's room for both types of questions, particularly in a team preparing for a presentation or a pitch. Again, don't confuse them. I like to be sure that there's time for the first type, then, once everyone acknowledges that they know what's on the table, open it up for the second, more debate-oriented type of question.
2. Love (to the audience)
There are no doubt important evolutionary reasons why this is true, but in my experience, every great presenter earns the respect of the audience (through her appearance, reputation, posture, voice, slides, introduction, etc.) and captures the attention of the audience by sending them love.
Love takes many forms. I love you enough to teach you this. I love you enough to help you. I love you enough to look you in the eye. Or, in the case of rock and roll presentations, I love you enough to want to engage in various acts with you, right now, backstage.
Margaret Thatcher was a great presenter, even though she had none of the glib charisma people expect from someone with that title. That's because people (even those that disagreed with her) respected her before she started, and they understood at every moment that her motivation was to motivate and improve the lives of those she was presenting to.
In the famous interrogation scene in Basic Instinct (link not included so no one yells at me), Sharon Stone does a brilliant presentation. She instantly earns (a sort of) respect from the cops and their undivided attention at the same time. She replaces love with sex, and it works.
Tony Robbins is considered an astounding presenter for a similar reason. His stage presence and reputation and energy and sheer size earn him respect, and his generosity and complete connection with the audience is received by them as love. The result is a connection far bigger than the content alone would account for.
If you have love but no respect, you're a lounge singer. Fail.
If you have respect, but no love, you're like one of the rare self-promotional talks at TED. Fail.
Consider this clip from Patton. In 28 seconds, George C. Scott delivers both.
When you create a presentation, think about what your status will be as you begin the presentation. What can you do to prewire, to earn more respect from the start? How can you be introduced? Lit? Miked? What can you wear? If your reputation doesn't precede you, how do you earn it?
Don't apologize at the beginning of the talk. For anything. Don't hide in the dark. Don't hide behind a wall of bullet points.
And then, as the talk (pitch/presentation/interview) begins, don't focus your energy or concern on yourself. It's not about you. It's about them. The presenter who loves his audience the most, wins.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Accessing print...to...Accessing electronic/multimedia
Solitary work...to...Social work
Directed use...to...Independent use
Information consumer...to...Information producer
Academic research...to...Personal research
Static needs, resources, tasks...to...Rapidly changing needs, resources, tasks
And how might those changes reflect on library facility design?
Study carrels ...to... Study rooms
Tables ...to...Upholtered chairs
Computer labs ...to...Production labs
Reseach stations ...to...Wireless notebooks
Print shelving and storage ...to... Collaborative work spaces
Fixed spaces ...to...Flexible spaces
What are the changes of library use you see and how do our physical libraries need to change to meeting them?
Monday, March 2, 2009
- Why you do need to practice to appear spontaneous
- How your brain drives your body language which can make you lose credibility (or gain it) before you even open your mouth
- The specific steps to build great trust and credibility with your audience
- Why the "Tell em what you are going to tell em, tell em, tell em what you told em" presentation structure that has been the standard for years is totally wrong. (I gulped a bit on that one, since I used to teach this)
- How to structure the content of your presentation for maximum impact
- Where to start if you are considering professional speaking as part of your business model or marketing strategy
"YouTube.com received more than 3,000 video auditions. The final group of more than 90 musicians were chosen by a combination of online votes from the public and judging by musicians from major orchestras.
"The members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will travel to New York from nearly 30 countries for a three-day meeting with San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas, leading up to the April 15 Carnegie Hall show.
- computer literacy (using software)
- web literacy (surfing the internet)
- digital literacy (cells, email, MSN)
- visual literacy (graphics, text, TV)
- auditory literacy (radio, conversing)
- home literacy (routines, chores)
- community literacy (bus schedules)
- social literacy (manners, etiquette)
- work literacy (procedures, routines)
- curriculum literacy (school subjects)