My vision and mission in education

This morning, after the undergraduate class, one student asked me, out of the blue, what my vision and mission in education is.
 
I wasn’t prepared for the question, so I blurted out, which probably captured my deepest belief, “That teachers will enjoy teaching, and students will enjoy learning.” The next moment, I realised that this was neither revolutionary nor groundbreaking. In fact, it is a rather modest goal. But how many education systems, or schools, have achieved that.? So I added, “Why is that goal so difficult to attain?”
 
I believe that teaching and learning can be intrinsically enjoyable. Life is short. Yet, most of the time, we either let ourselves continue to suffer, or torture each other, in the name of education.
0224-vision-and-mission

Life

四年前的今天,我在臉書寫道:

她是我的舊學生,受訓為英語教師,卻原來在本科主修英文時,已經是數本愛情小說的作者,你也可能讀過她的作品哩!早一陣子看見她在臉書上的感觸,突然很希望她可以重拾筆桿。她的二月是這樣開始的:
「消失的日子,每天都在忙,像自閉的人一樣,工作完了去睡覺然後周末煮下飯發下傻。當然,都依然為患病痛苦的你祈禱。然後,今天出席了好上司的喪禮,心情難過。這兩個月來都在思考人生的意義和態度…然後,突然,工作終於忙完了,又可以準時收工了。然後,突然,今天吃了第一個生日蛋糕。然後….二月開始了。」

四年後的今天,我又突然想起法國作家莫泊桑對生命的感受:

「生活不可能像你想象得那麼好,但也不會像你想象得那麼糟。
我覺得人的脆弱和堅強都超乎自己的想像。 有時,我可能脆弱得一句話就淚流滿臉;有時,也發現自己咬着牙走了很長的路。」

只要能感動到一個老師…

前天讀到台灣翻轉教室大師張輝誠老師在臉書的update, 像打了強心針;這陣子逢星期六往澳門主持教師工作坊,其實是頗頻撲的,但比起張輝誠老師這兩三個星期在教學之餘,還飛到香港、新加坡,上海主持工作坊,分享他翻轉教室的經驗,他比我辛苦得多了;但他說:「朋友們會以為我很辛苦,很累,其實我一點都沒有這種感覺,每一次演講,工作坊,觀課,議課,只要有一個人因此而感動,而得到助益,我都感到喜悅與振奮。」

「只要有一個人因此而感動,而得到助益,我都感到喜悅與振奮。」我也要以此自勉。

以下是張老師的原文:
https://www.facebook.com/dustmic/posts/1538849842795039

I am an English teacher.

Last night, the bride, from last year’s FT PGDP group, related an incident in her childhood where her grandmother allowed her to choose English for an after-school interest activity, which laid the foundation for her becoming an English teacher some years later. Last night when she proclaimed in front of all the guests that she is an English teacher today, she said it with pride.

I believe that quality English Language Teaching is a highly professional endeavour. I hope that one day, all ELT educators can proudly declare: “I am an English teacher.”

Practising what we preach

Professor Kamta was one of the speakers from the Faculty of Medicine in yesterday’s event. (It was a joint sharing session between the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Education). He started by apologizing for arriving late, as he had been making a life and death decision at the hospital.

We all know that clinical professors at a medical school are also practising doctors. On top of training medical students, they are still seeing and treating patients. (Of course, today, they also have to play the academia game of research and publications). I have on several occasions stated that this is a system I revere. They will be able to keep up with the latest developments in medical treatments. Their professional competence will continue to grow. It reinforces their credibility in their training of medical students and young doctors.
 
I strongly believe that university teachers in those disciplines that prepare people for the caring professions, such as social work, counselling, clinical/educational psychology, nursing, etc, should continue to practise on the frontline, even if this constitutes just a small part of their work. It enriches their teaching, and keeps up their professional stamina.
 
And of course I also have the field of teacher education in mind.
0127-medincine-prof