Thursday, April 28, 2016

Distinction

Finally, after 8 attempts since I've been with NYeDC, we have achieved a coveted Certificate of Distinction from the big bi-annual youth drama festival.

I shouldn't feel this elated because theatre shouldn't be a competition between productions, but I've learned that it's ok to celebrate an achievement, especially one this long in coming. Every other year I've been cool just to meet expectations, but there's no stopping the rush to have for once exceeded them.

This year's entry was a true collaboration from start to finish. Beginning with a self-written script by one of our members, it was workshopped, tweaked, rewritten and polished in bits and pieces. Everyone helped out, whether onstage, backstage, admin. With Sirius directing and delivering the final script (her first ever!) we were in good hands the whole time.

Feeling very grateful to everyone who pitched in. It's nice to be on top for once. XD

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Unscathed

Nice to know that I didn't get shredded this morning. It was a presentation to an audience of very experienced cross-department colleagues on a perspective that could have come across as heretical if taken the wrong way. Instead, the audience asked the right kind of questions during the Q&A and was very kind with its feedback. Perhaps the ground is ready for some new ways of thinking?

Personal insight gained: I can diagnose problems and prescribe workable treatments, and maybe I can make a convincing case to my fellow physicians. But what I haven't yet learned is how to make the patients take their medicine.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Remembering 'If I could tell my past self something'

Things that have to go on record about our entry in this year's big Drama Festival 'cos they won't be mentioned anywhere else: Touching up our movable flat screens with white primer, we got streaks of paint on the Concourse floor. That's for not lining the area with newspaper first. Not pictured is me, the wife and Sirius, sitting on said floor, using nothing but water and lots of elbow grease scrubbing the floor with brushes for over an hour until the sun went down. But we did a great job. Little trace of our unintentional vandalism left that could be connected back to our activities of the previous day.

With this slick move, our lead tosses his hat offstage as a time transition cue. Today at the show, his tossed hat landed smack in the face of an official sitting in the audience. Her lanyard indicated she was probably from head office and likely to be an organizer of the event. While we hope that this little blooper isn't going to cost us too dearly in points, it also confirms to us why this boy is in Drama Club and not in a sports CCA.

And finally, a shot of our team this year. Proud of you guys! You make us laugh and give us heart attacks at the same time! But it's not over yet. Drama Night is just around the corner...

More photos of our rehearsal process can be found here.

Edit 01: Forgot to mention the bus. The return bus stranded us at the venue having mistaken our order to depart at 1445 hrs to mean 4:45 pm. Sirius kicked up enough of a fuss with the bus company to get one delivered pronto, though the delay was still about an hour.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Core business

"The sole purpose of education is to get a good job." This statement is clearly absolute, but that doesn't mean that the proposition has to be automatically rejected. Not when the reasoning behind the statement is logically sound.

Education arose from a tradition from which craftsmen and merchants taught their apprentices the necessary skills of their trades. The higher the skill mastered, the more trusted the trainee grew to handle increasingly complex tasks. Apprentices were trained on the job for the job. What they chose to learn was to make them better at their jobs.

The situation has not changed. The motivation for people to get an education is still, ultimately, to be in a better position to claim a better job.  The motivation to set up an education system is primarily to raise the knowledge and skill levels of a population so that collectively it is better positioned for better paying jobs.

Without this motivation, who would go to school? Attending school delays an entire generation's employability in hope of increasing its future occupational prospects. Students delay their independence while in school, continuing to be treated like children by their teachers and parents though, biologically, they are already capable of starting and tending to their own families. What keeps them in school is the promise of a good job at the end of their studies.

Even if schools provide personal enrichment opportunities such as co-curricular and "Service-Learning" activities, these efforts are still directed at providing experiences that develop employable skills that are certified via official testimonials, attendance checklists and other documents.

Today, schools are still in the business of training, assessing, qualifying and assigning students to the jobs they are best suited for, but are also expected to play surrogate parent. This dichotomy results in schools being conflicted, forced to be both dispassionate and objective while being compassionate and empathetic at the same time. These clashing objectives make education more onerous and cumbersome than it has to be.

There is nothing wrong with seeing education's sole purpose as getting people the best employment opportunities as possible because this is what schools do. In fact, if schools dared to accept this truth, their programmes would be much more focused and much more purposeful. It would make the core business of education so much clearer for both schools and their attendees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

'A' almighty

Getting an 'A' for learning to do something well is not the same as getting an 'A' for doing what we're told. The result may be the same. An 'A' is an 'A'. But only the former is worth anything.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't ask why

Finally figured out what annoys me about the so-called "paired approach" of responding to GP essay questions.

The "paired approach" is a fancy name for a "reasons-for vs reasons-against" pairing as we consider a given proposition.

Reasons are prompted by the question "why", to which the logical response is "because...". Conversely, to answer "because" only makes logical sense when responding to "why".

Therein lies the problem: GP questions are never "why" questions. Therefore, to argue "because this... however, because that..." neither makes sense, nor is any help in the decision-making process.

The "paired approach" is inherently self-negating, yet it is the default technique by which across the board we teach kids to argue essays. When the kids do what we taught them to do, we say they aren't answering the question, and they don't get it, no matter how much we teach them. We are logical readers, after all. Then we wonder where we went wrong.

Well, at least now I know.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Love and marriage

A realization arising out of a classroom discussion over the topic of marriage:

If two people are in love, then they will remain committed to each other regardless of whether they are married or not. Which means that marriage exists to ensure that two people stay committed to each other even after they fall out of love with each other.

So, marriage is like an insurance policy that operates in the background while we are lovey-dovey as a couple, but kicks in once we can't stand each other any more.

Marriage is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly, if so.