An egg cracker

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Reflection1: Pre-Microteaching Blog

My topic for microteaching is environmental issues. I chose to focus specifically on the causes and effects of air and water pollution in my lesson. This sub-topic is situated as the 2nd period within the topic of pollution. I chose this topic because I genuinely "feel" for this topic. The environment is undergoing great degradation as societies modernize. In the pursuit of economic benefits and development, the "health" of the environment is compromised. Although scientists and environmentalists have researched and raise numerous alarms on the state of our environment, efforts are insufficient to compensate the degradation that human had brought upon it. As years goes on, the environment is undergoing much serious problems at a much faster rates, the younger generations are to suffer the consequences that the earlier generations have planted. Therefore, it is of greater significance that the younger generations (i.e. our secondary school students) to be informed about these problems and participate in the measures to reduce these problems.
I believe strongly that the inculcating of right values and attitudes are more important in the attainment of academic achievement in education itself. This topic of environmental problems and pollution in particular is excellent to cultivate attitudes like accountability, social responsibility, civic-mindedness and care and concern for the environment. Students can also explore greater social issues like the uneven utilization of resources (developing Vs developed countries), power relations between countries etc.
The study of environmental issues is very dynamic and multidisciplinary in nature. The study of it goes beyond academic to include character building. There are very few topics to include moral development and this is one of the rare topics.
The approach I took to deliver the lesson is to relate pollution to current issues happening around us. Thus, my resources are drawn mainly from newspaper articles. For air pollution, the latest issue is the haze problem from forests burning in Indonesia. I choose to look into this case as singapore is affected by it and students can better relate the effects of pollution to their experiences. For water pollution, a current article reported that if the current pollution level continues, all ocean species will be extinct in 42years. It is an alarming report, hopefully to grasp the attention of the students. (Personally, I am quite affected by the news. So depressing!)
In the preparation of the lesson, I bought "The Blue Marble 2" textbook to better follow the new geography syllabus. However, I'm quite disappointed with the textbook. The most ridiculous thing is that the definitions are incorrect. The book do not define the concepts along the chapter, all the terms are defined only in a box at the end of the topic. I feel that it is taken for granted that students know what the concepts mean. The book gave wrong definitions of the concepts. For example, pollution is defined as "substances with harmful effects on life forms and structures in the environment" and water pollution is defined as "water contaminated by industrial and human waste", The definition of pollution sounds more like the definition of pollutants to me. The definition of water pollution sounds too narrow to me. The book defines air pollution as "substances with harmful effects to life forms and structures found in the air". This definition is so flawed. The substances are found in air or the life forms and structures are in the air? Some of the examples and explanations that the book provides are either inappropriate or unclear. To summarize, I'm very unhappy with the text.
Although microteaching and the lesson plan is not graded, I feel its quite a lot of work to do (I took 1 whole day to do lesson plan, worksheet and slides), especially when we have so many other assignments to do in NIE. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to my class on Monday :)

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