Thought-provoking Education articles

1. Does class size really matter? [from Salon.com]

This article does justice to the complexity of all education-related debates, but requires quite careful reading as a result of that too.

Many times, people often like to suggest quick-fix solutions like smaller class sizes, more teacher-attention on individuals, testing more frequently, but education is really a much more complex ball-game than most people who haven’t stood in front of a classroom to teach can ever understand.

2. How Finland became an education leader

It’s an article that focuses on why the US education system is so far behind the Finland education system, but I managed to draw out some interesting points too for comparison with Singapore.

What they have that Singapore doesn’t:

  • Teaching is the most highly esteemed profession in Finland. Only 1 out of 10 who apply get in.
  • A high level of professionalism with a motto of “Trust through Professionalism”
  • Teachers all have Masters degrees on a content course that bring them to a higher level of intellectual preparation.

What Singapore has that Finland has:

  • A thinking-based curriculum instead of a memorization-based curriculum
  • Professionalism as working more collaboratively – they give their teachers time in the school day and in the the school week to work with each other, to continuously improve curriculum and lessons.

3. Give 100% (on the dangers of over-emphasizing assessment)

This is the personal blog of Samantha Douglas, a daycare teacher in Canada teaching 5-8 year old kids. This entry warns of the detrimental effects of assigning grades and assessment on kids’ motivation to learn. There are many other interesting entries in the blog on fun activities she gets her students to do and some rather thought-provoking reflections on teaching and assessment. I will definitely read through this blog again.

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KFC a.m. Breakfast with my brother

My brother and I went to KFC @ Toa Payoh for breakfast. This is the second time I’ve had breakfast at KFC – the first time was also with my brother at Novena Square. KFC breakfast is only served at 55 of their outlets, so it’s worth checking before going down to KFC to avoid disappointment.

I had read about their blueberry pancakes a while ago on various food blogs before. I wasn’t exactly something on my must-try list, but I thought it sounded interesting.

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KFC Blueberry Pancake Value Meal with eggs + coffee/tea
(add 50cents to upgrade to Hot Milo)

For $5.90, these pancakes were not too bad. The blueberry flavour was nice and the pancakes were sufficiently fluffy. As usual, I slathered the pancakes with all the butter and maple syrup provided so the pancakes were deliciously drenched in sugary goodness!

I still think MacDonalds hotcakes are better in terms of lightness and fluffiness. MacDonalds provides much more maple syrup too which is thicker than the one provided at KFC. If you want to see better pictures of the pancakes, you can check out ladyironchef’s entry on them.

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a.m. Platter

My brother had the a.m. platter which was decent enough. I liked the chicken patty! It was crispy, juicy and flavourful. The honey biscuit wasn’t impressive. Popeye’s biscuit’s still the best – for now.

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Portuguese Egg Tarts

We also got egg tarts to share. Their egg tarts are surprisingly decent, though of course I’ve tried much better with less flaky crust and more tasty fillings. I would also recommend their a.m. Twister for breakfast. It’s pretty much like a Bendito pocket (which Dearie loves) but it has egg and tomatoes in it. Yum!

My family used to have a tradition of having breakfast on Saturday together, but we no longer do so due to differing schedules. So it was nice having breakfast with my brother today, just chatting about various topics – SG politics, work, foreigners, food places.

It was also a good meal to start my 3rd last day of fasting. Two more days to go! I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to have lunch. Heh.