Saturday, November 8, 2008

#7 Final Reflection

Happy & us

On Friday, my group had our oral presentation.

To sum it up, I feel that an oral presentation tests our ability to connect with the audience in the 7 minutes each. 7 minutes is a short period of time, yet many things can happen while you are in a presentation! Stammering, forgetting your lines, saying “erm” a thousand times are just some common problems. Hence, it will be ideal to review our presentation video after it is uploaded. By looking at ourselves on screen, we are able to spot the areas where we can improve on. All the best, to the presenting groups on Tuesday.

Reviewing post #1, I talked about how effective communication skills allow improved understanding among family members, and how it will help me in my career as a teacher. First of all, there is a difference between an oral presentation that aims to persuade (like the one done in class), and presentation as in teaching. In teaching we present information, while in a persuasive presentation we aim to convince with information. The approach is different. Otherwise, common aspects such as not boring the audience, and students, are applicable in both settings.

Definitely, my understanding of effective communication has changed since then. I find myself benefitting very much from Written Skills that were picked up in the module. For example, the writing of the job application letter and resume to a potential employer. For those of us who are nearing graduation and may not have a clear idea as to what to do after that, it gave us the opportunity to really sit down and think about it. It also gave us the driving force to perform job research online, so that we know what kinds of jobs we are eligible for, and what suits the skills we have. If time permits, future ES2007S could even include the attending of a career seminar in NUS.

Also, the meeting skills that were learnt helped us to conduct more productive meetings. Meetings with my groups were focused on getting things done and aimed at gaining progress, and we seldom find ourselves side-tracking to talk about non-related things. This allowed us to utilize the limited time that we have. As I remember, meetings back in secondary school days often evolved into games and fun.

And lastly, blogging.

Usually, my inertia in getting a blog post done is quite huge. *shhh*

But being homework as it is, it forces me to sit down, reflect, and make connections between what I have learnt and daily life.

I was thinking about the becoming of all our blogs after ES2007S. Stagnant, abandoned, obsolete? But it would be comforting to remember, that we had once come together to share our reflections, views and given our opinions and feedback to each other within our small blog community. Even as our blogs wither away :( , I hope we continue to carry with us the lessons we have learnt.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

#6 Biodata

I am currently a Year 2 undergraduate in NUS, reading Chemistry. After my 'A' levels, I decided on pursuing a career in teaching and accepted a Teaching Award from MOE in 2007. Teaching is a suitable career for me because I am not satisfied with desk-confined jobs requring long hours in front of a computer. I am a sociable person who enjoys interacting with people. Being able to share my knowledge and experiences gives me much satisfaction. I am also an active individual with strong interests in sports and in picking up new things. Working in a dynamic environment such as in an educational institution will allow me to be constantly engaged in new challenges and activities.

During pre-university education, I was given opportunities to excel in leadership and in team play. Being team captain in my CCA has trained me to be a more decisive, motivating and sensitive person. My involvement in school projects, such as 'Kids Against Cancer' in collaboration with National Cancer Centre, gave me much insights and helped me develop IT skills in setting up a website to educate young children about cancer.

I began taking up temporary jobs during school vacations at 15 to gain work experience. Working in a myriad of different environments in companies such as MediaCorp Studios Pte Ltd, Singapore General Hospital and Crescent Girls' School has given me invaluable learning experiences. These exposures have helped me develop good administration and interpersonal skills, as well as allowed me to explore the different realms of life.

Here, I would like to share a favourite quote of mine:

"If you haven't got what you love, learn to love what you've got." -Anon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

#5 Reflecting on the Research Project Experience

Doing a research project on a Powernap House wasn't easy.

It constantly made me wish, during those sleepy morning lectures, that they really exist.


The research project was a pleasant experience. For one, my project mates and I were all very cooperative team players, each completing our assigned parts on time. There were no complains, no underground feuds, and this made our progress really smooth.

During project discussions, I saw how each of us tried to bring our own ideas across, and how we had to convince one another. There were times we could not fully agree, and there was a need to change an approach in explaining our points so that the picture becomes clearer. Such situations trained my communication skills, constantly allowing me to phrase and rephrase my sentences, and use the more suitable words that can help bring my thoughts across.

Definitely, after all the project meetings, email correspondences, sms, constant interaction and nights spent on report-writing, we became more than just project mates.

We became friends!

If there were no projects, I guess we would not have managed to build a closer relationship. There were also times we acknowledged each others' efforts through words of appreciation such as "Good job, it was really well done". These words, though simple, really made a difference in that it gave the encouragement and motivation we really needed.

For the upcoming Oral Presentation, I believe confidence and sufficient preparation are very important. An Oral Presentation is equivalent to communicating effectively with the audience. When we are standing in front, the nonverbal cues that we display are very important. Eye contact with everyone in the audience is especially important to allow them to feel engaged, and we should not speak specifically only to the lecturers.

Finally, thanks to the ES2007S report, I'm now confidently capable of page-numbering a multi-sectioned document.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

#4 Evaluating Intercultural Behaviour

A few years back I was out shopping at Plaza Singapura with four female friends, two of whom were Muslims. At the basement, my friends stepped into a store selling female footwear, while I remained outside to finish up a half-eaten ice cream cone.

While the girls were browsing and trying on different footwear, I suddenly heard loud gasps and immediately turned to see my Muslim school mates put down the shoes in their hands abruptly. Within seconds, they were racing out of the store frantically and then disappeared along a corridor leading to what must have been the restrooms.

Bewildered and shocked by their action, I quickly approached the other girls still in the store. It happened that my Muslim school mates had unknowingly touched footware made of pigskin, and upon realisation, had ran off immediately to clean their hands.

One of the girls, a Chinese, then commented: "They are crazy. Such a huge reaction, zoomed out so fast. Really so dirty? There's no harm what."

It was a misktake she made the statement, because the Muslim girls had returned from the restroom and they overheard her comment. The next few moments were awkward for us. After a few retorts, my Muslim school mates left us on a rather unpleasant note. Upon their departure, however, the girl who made the comment continued to grumble that there was no need for them to react so strongly to what she said.

Personally, though slightly taken aback by their somewhat 'strong' reaction, I could understand the girls' behaviour. According to Muslim beliefs, pigs are considered 'unclean' and hence Muslims should not be in contact with these animals in any way. This is also the reason that Muslims do not consume pork.

As for my friend who had unintentionally offended with her words, she should learn to practise sensitivity when expressing herself in such situations. This is essential especially in multi-cultural Singapore, where it is a well-known fact that Muslims should not be in contact with swine.

Since I've hit on this topic, I would just like to elaborate further.

As a non-Muslim, I am priviledged enough to have made Muslim friends and gained invaluable insights and understanding towards their cultural norms. However, I realised that many still do not have full understanding towards their eating habits. Some believe it is acceptable so long as the food stall states 'No pork, no lard'. In actual fact, Muslims can consume only food that has been certified 'Halal'. From what I had gathered, Halal food are prepared by Muslims with the involvement of prayers.

Therefore, the next time we have Muslim accquaintances amongst us, I hope we would be sensitive and keep in mind to suggest Halal eating places.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Survey: Powernap House on Campus

Click Here to take survey

Our Final Research Topic

Have you ever experienced coming to school early in the morning for 8 am lectures, then having to wait for 6 hours for your next lecture at 4 pm? Based on this observation and problem that some students face, our group has proposed to research on having a 'Powernap House' on campus.

The 'Powernap House' is an air-conditioned lounge where students can visit between lectures/tutorials for a short nap to recharge their batteries. There will be chairs (as shown in the survey) where students can sleep on in 2 rooms one for males and one for females. We believe that by doing so, students would be able to concentrate better in classes and hence absorb the new knowledge more efficiently.

However, although we feel that this concept house may benefit students in general, we would like to limit this project to NUS at the moment. Also, to enhance the development of this concept house, our group would like to conduct a survey and research to find out if this idea is generally welcomed by NUS students, and what ideas/suggestions others could give us to improve on the concept. Lastly, we would like to obtain answers to our queries on certain issues through the survey.

Proposed Title
A Powernap House within NUS

Research Question
What are NUS student's response to a proposed Powernap House? Do they think it is feasible and benificial to them?

NUS students welcome this idea of a Powernap House and it will provide students a place for rejuvenation, hence helping them concentrate better in class.

Problem Statement
The objective of this study is to determine if NUS students welcome the idea of a Powernap House and whether they are able to concentrate better in class after taking a power nap.

Mr Joseph Mullnix (Deputy President, Administration), The Dean of various Faculties, NUSSU, any other student welfare societies.

Purpose statement
One of the objective of this report is to inform relavent management and welfare committes of the student's views of having a Powernap house. The second objective is to convince these targeted readers that having such a concept house enhances student's productivity in class and the final objective is to encourage the implementation of this service.

A survey would be conducted to obtain student's opinion on this idea. We would like to obtain a target of 100 surveys. Apart from the surveys, our group would conduct research through the internet on the benefits of having power naps.


Friday, September 5, 2008

#3 Potential Research Project Topic

I got inspired as I struggled to keep awake during lectures.

My Brainchild:

A 'Powernap House' on campus. An air-conditioned lounge to check in for quick beauty sleep in comfortable chairs as these (there is nothing unglam) :

Hence, no more sore necks or red patches on cheeks from hard desktops:

This lounge could be run by students. Males and females share individual resting rooms. To prevent heavy sleepers from hogging the chairs, charges or time restrictions could be implemented. Students are responsible for finding means to wake themselves up in time to avoid missing lectures - set the alarm, wake-up call from a friend etc. Essentially, Powernap House allows students with long hours on campus to get rest between breaks and get refreshed for more lectures to come.

Potential research topic:

NUS sudents' response to a 'Powernap House' on campus.

eneral research question:
What do NUS students feel about the proposed service? Do they think it is a feasible idea?

Possible Hypothesis:
NUS students welcome and need such a lounge for quick naps, especially during days with long hours on campus.

An attitudinal survey is much needed in this research topic, since the proposed service targets NUS students. From the survey results, we would be able to find out if such a service is needed and welcomed by the student body. In addition, knowing the views and concerns of the students allow the proposed idea to be refined accordingly. Suggestions derived from the survey also allow changes to be made to better facilitate students' needs.