Friday, October 24, 2008

My Doctrine on Learning

Dear students,

It has been two weeks since school started. I hope school life are going well and interesting for you to keep your quest to pursuit more knowledge, and yet not just another day wasted in school.

If you been through my programming lessons, I give drill questions (well, not a lot of questions anyway), on top of the practise questions that are already in the lecture slides. I hope all of you have tried out, at least one question each week. For those that have done the drill questions in the lab, good for you. I am SURE that you have some sense of achievement (small steps lead to the bigger stride). By sharing it on the blog, you also give yourself an opportunity to learn from others. For those that have not, please try it. Especially the ones on “common mistakes in programming”, which I found maybe be beneficial to test where you currently stand. Notice I like to move around in the class, I also encourage you to move around in the class to ask questions or take a peek at how is your friend is progressing while solving the drill questions. Discussions among you on the subject matter are most welcomed.

Notice that I do not grade the drills question I posted to you. The purpose of the drills questions is to enhance your learning, to improve my learning too (about you and your learning journey) and for me to gauge (to measure) how well you fare in the topic. Thus I can tweak at the portion/concepts/idea of the topic you did not gasp that well and reiterate that point (not my favourite thing to do… repeating my self again…). Call it a back breaking job. Literally I need to bend my back to show you which part you have it wrong on your terminal and only when you pose a constructive question that is the time my back went straight again. I hope this little Q&A actually informed you on what you have done well, what is not and how you could improve on it. Again, if you do not attempt the drill questions at all, it is VERY HARD for a single hand to make one handshake.

No date lines for the drill questions to be done, because ultimately I want to help you to take control of your own learning. Self directed learning on each of you is my final goal, which I hope I can cultivate it into you.

After you have posted your work in my blog, your job is not done yet. By looking and analysing other people’s code, you could check that their work really works or is it really correct as it claims to be and so forth. This actually gives you a mental rerun on the materials covered. To those that relied on taking a peek’s at other people’s work before starting your own, which I do not forbade you doing so. Doing this action actually gives you the additional experience on what other people have exhibited on the area where you performed less well. Some of you have “marked” your own work and other people’s work and you have raised questions regarding to their solution. This act is plausible, because you have managed to apply a higher learning skills that involves thinking (yes, you think as much as I do too), instead of “parroting” (repeating what I say without comprehending) or rather “monkey see monkey do” (copy my model answer and claimed it comes from you). Studying a subject is not about memorizing, rather applying what you have learned. This is most clearly reflected in the ALGO programming session, because I can see your line of thoughts in your semi-paralyzed, compile got error(s) code. You know the syntax but without analysing the problem and solving it in a systematically way, the code will not leave the IDE and reside in the memory. It is my importance to know how you approach the problem, how much knowledge and at what level you use it to solve the problem. Thus helping you to overcome some conceptual difficulties and most importantly, improve learning. The drill questions designed to let you evaluate the possible solutions according to the problem analysis, thus you will able to sustain your ability to productively, progressively effective on conceptualizing and problem solving.

Each of you is unique individuals where your progress might differ among one and other. No fret, because I do give you constructive guidance and I hope could actually launch your self reflective mechanism to devise a strategy that actually suits your style personally. After all, you are responsible of your own learning which I have placed great emphasis with the example of that forced feed duck raised for foie-gra.

Well I hope after so much of drill questions, you will be able to demonstrate it during the lab assessments. The world will not know you are good, unless you have prove it so.

Yours Truly,

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