“..The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.” – Albert Einstein.*

Indeed, Einstein’s valuation of education  posits that a functional educator ought to unstintingly embrace the essence of education, which is to train the minds to THINK.

With that belief, let us design every teaching session that we are mandated with. Mine is pooled in the series registered as  ThinkingClassroom™  – call it TC for now. TC is built on the basis of students’ learning needs aligned to achieve the course learning outcomes (CLOs).  Their progress  were tracked and the results determined the next design of approach, all handled by the principles of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research. Some of the shared output:

Ghazali, A. et al. (2013) Assessment Oriented Approach to Knowledge mastery: Its Efficiency, Effectiveness and Alignment to Islamic Values in World Congress on Islamic Systems (World-ISLAM2012) Kelantan, Malaysia. (Oral presentation)

Ghazali, A. (2015)  Bridging the Gaps between Performances through Cognitive Engagement of Students in the Science and Technology Classroom in Proc. International Language and Education Conference 2015 (ILEC15), Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.

Ghazali A. (2016) Map Interpretation: Tool for Rapid Learning and Assessment Lens for Cognitive Engagement. In: Tang S., Logonnathan L. (eds) Assessment for Learning Within and Beyond the Classroom. Springer, Singapore.

Ghazali, A. (2017) Rapid Grasp of Concepts in Materials Analysis Through Mapping Activities – Local Knowledge in the Design of Thinking Classroom. In: Esa, N, Che Lah, S. (eds) Local Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms. Penerbit USM, Malaysia.

Ghazali, A. (2018) Scaffolding Social Support Amongst the Fresher Students Through Mapping Activities. In: Tang S., Cheah S. (eds) Redesigning Learning for Greater Social Impact. Springer, Singapore.

Ghazali, A. and Ghazali, A. (2018) Model of Dialogic Communication in Map Interpretation (Abstract) Taylor’s Teaching and Learning Conference 2018.

Ghazali, A. and Ghazali, A. (2018) Elements of Dialogic Communication Engendering Meaningful Learning via Social Media (Abstract) Taylor’s Teaching and Learning Conference 2018.

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ThinkingClassroom™ Series

Here are some insights into the TC series, all designed with a common 35:10:10 time ratio between lecture, activity(text or map quiz) and discussion/dialogue serving as feedback session:

TC1.0 was designed to assess and ensure that learning happens in the input process (in the classroom). The intervention could ensure 80% high achievements and the driving factors were in class quizzes and instant feedback from the instructor.

TC2.0 which emphasised scaffolding of thinking via many mapping interventions. Map making activities include verbal interpretation of course map, filling up pits with keywords and construction of map.  While the number of students who were able to commit to the intervention was small, many admitted that memorisation of texts in lecture materials was easier. Sad to say that  without logic and reasoning as links in the knowledge network (analogous to the elements embedded in map interpretation + instant feedback from instructor), students may not be able to master the learning material and increase knowledge usability – or simply, the skill to apply knowledge without limit.  In sum, TC2.0 only suits small classroom due to its time consuming coaching session.  The outcome for a classroom of 10 or  below was impressive.

With that in mind,  TC2.1 was designed to emphasise dialogic communication. Although still time-taxing, the intervention could engage the cognitive domain of many learners simultaneously as dialogue is taking place.  The approach is suitable for  bigger classroom and requires detail planning and monitoring of students’ behaviour – all aimed at enhancing students’ reasoning ability, overcome ‘fidgety’ character, although rare. and support the thinking journey along the knowledge acquisition process. The more important overall outcome; more  cognitively engaged learners, more lively and hilarious classroom ; ).  That’s not all.

TC3.0 reduces dependency on map (as many find it too complex). So, silent videos were made. In TC3.0 videos, only animated texts and visuals were laid to students for strong reasons and these are made available online. The big benefit is, students could watch over and over and learn at their own pace. To lecturers? Well, I save my voice.

Frankly speaking, it gives better peace of mind to know that by now that there are many  forms of learning materials laid mainly to support students’ learning. It is now students’ duties to make good use of them. Hope this is the right way of transferring learning autonomy to students. Of course, more refinement will be made taking all constructive criticisms into account in order to continuously improve the quality of teaching and learning.

To students still there and graduated: I must thank all there who helped me understand the unique learning journey. For someone from science background who interacts more with books than people, this is happening in me very slowly and you were the reason for the dynamism. Million thanks, all there. I must say, YOU add meaning to my career and you are all inspiring!

Oh My Maps!

I am still obsessed with knowledge maps cos I find them useful. Besides interior decor, I look at them every day – to refresh and recall the logical links. They really reduce the burden of memorising details but help me not to forget. The wall has it all.

Click here to get some ideas.

Interested to join hands in Fibrous Biomass Research? Contact arniza@usm.my

Write in for scholarship: GhazaliHartamas@yahoo.com

Related Fundamentals:

★ IWK307 Advanced Paper Technology – Instrumental Analysis of Pulp & Paper ★

★IWK103 (Part 1) Biomass for Pulp Production ★IUK107 (Part 1) Basics of Materials Analysis ★


*Source: In response to not knowing the speed of sound as included in the Edison Test: New York Times (18 May 1921); Einstein: His Life and Times (1947) Philipp Frank, p. 185; Einstein, A Life (1996) by Denis Brian, p. 129; “Einstein Due Today” (February 2005) edited by József Illy, Manuscript 25-32 of the Einstein Paper Project; all previous sources as per Einstein His Life and Universe (2007) by Walter Isaacson, p. 299.