Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little India and Day One of Conference

On Sunday night we went to a local food hall for dinner where Leigh and I had a nice murtabak and Lucy became adventurous and tucked into a biryani. I think some more shopping was done and we got back home and I began watching the Wimbledon Final, got hooked and stuck with it until the end at 1.30am. What a game. It certainly showed that no matter how far you are behind you just simply have to win the next point! That simple!

On Monday morning I registered for the conference and on way back to the hotel bought a pair of Asics running shoes for $95. We then jumped on the underground and went to Little India where we visited Mustafa's and lost Lucy for 45 minutes which was a bit stressful. We calmed down by dining on somosas, dahl and a melon lassa (yoghurt drink).

That evening Leigh and I put on our glad rags and walked to the Esplanade (Singapore's version of the Sydney Opera House) for the opening concert. After a couple of glasses of wine and catching up with some kiwis we took our seats (three rows from the front) and were entertained for two hours by some awesome school orchestras, choirs, brass bands and dancers. I also got a chance to talk to Belinda who is the president of the local version of SPANZ who had hosted Terry and I last year.

We then met up with Lucy at a local Noodles Bar and dined on chilli chicken udang.

Today was the first day of the Conference which has 1500 participants. The highlight of this first day was the 60 minute opening address by the Prime Minister who outlined the Singaporean education journey and its strategy for the future. His catch cry is “Teach less, learn more.” He was outstanding and exhibited the type of leadership which is sadly lacking in our country. I plan to send the link of his address to John Key and Anne Tolley.

They have had a clear strategy which has included big pay rises for teachers in return for performance-based pay and class sizes of 40 students. They have now moved to reduce that to 30. They have aso ensured a strong base of support to schools from the central agency. Schools are also very well resourced. There was no talk at all of recession which seems to be the focus of any conversation in NZ from the government. Educational spending is rising by 5.5% this year!

There was also an excellent keynote from Sir Dexter Hutt (a knighthood for services to education!) who addressed the issue of 21st Century Leadership. He re-emphasised that we don't know what the best model is for a school of the 21st Century other than that it should be positioned to cope with change and that the curriculum should provide regular opportunities for students to research, work in teams and present to an audience. He also claimed that the most important qualities to develop in young people to prepare them for the future are self-confidence and self-esteem.

I then went to a disappointing workshop on Differentiated Instruction but I managed to design some more jigsaw puzzle pieces (the symbolism we use at Opotiki College to show the linked bits of the complex puzzle of effective schooling) to show the connections between curriculum, pedagogy and relationships.

Leigh and Lucy visited Orchard Rd and I think are a bit mall saturated but Lucy had a good go at a chicken curry. She's talking about Ipod prices!

Now we just have to plan dinner.

4 comments:

Ariadne aka Marilyn said...

Tell Lucy that the Warehouse has iPod touch 8gb on at $349 this week.

Lea said...

More Jigsaw - You could make a Wasjig.

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