Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaching Information Effectively

Real life teachers Golden and Coffey made a parody video of a Khan Academy YouTube lecture about multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers. Not disputing that Salman Khan, hedge fund analyst turned online tutor, is both brilliant and talented, they point out that "he doesn’t know much about pedagogy, the science of teaching information effectively." Towards the end, at about 11:29, one of them remarks, "Bill Gates thinks he's the best teacher in America? That explains a lot about Windows."

To be fair, everybody knows Gates dropped out of school to rush into making money, so he didn't really spend much contact time with teachers. Gates was so enamoured of Khan's use of the internet as a core component of instruction, he gave him a US$1.5 million grant. Which should really help boost PC sales to schools. Khan is aware of his detractors, which he dismisses by saying it's like telling Bill Gates, "Look, you don't have a M.B.A., so don't do business." (TIME, 9 July 2012)

Frankly, 12 minutes is an awful lot time to spend on multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers. "Converting Yards Into Inches" takes 5 minutes 49 seconds. But can he actually explain "Open Market Operations" in 12 minutes? After all, it's a subject right up his alley. At 4:19 he starts on his "I don't want to get too technical just yet", and also (at 5:54) alludes to another video to expand on the subject ("I'll do a whole video on that, so don't too confused"). Let's just say it's easier to understand "round-tripping" by City Harvest Church leaders as explained by Channelnewsasia graphics.

Khan deserves credit for the effort to explain, whatever the subject, instead of resorting to the odious Teo Chee Hean repartee "What do you think?" Chan Chun Sing is no better.  Instead of providing a substantive response to the reporter's question on narrowing the gap between the have and have-nots, he goes off on a tangent about aspirations of graduates with this throwback, "What would  be an acceptable range?" The Reuben Wang generation would surely know how to answer that. Cocking a snook at Vivian Balakrishnan, Chan boasts, "We will control 2015 SEA Games budget," without offering any concrete numbers to be measured by. S$1.33 billion has been allocated for the Sports Hub, due for completion in April 2014. How about a progress report on that budget?


  1. All these new generation of ministers enter the government because of connections, they're related to someone the old guards know or to someone who are loyal followers. They're chosen more for loyalty than competence. Therefore, when you ask them questions, they can't give you intelligent answers. Either they bring you around in circles by the way they respond or they just throw the question back to you.

    Meritocracy no longer matters much for the Singapore government!

  2. What do you think?

  3. Church of Whatever7/03/2012 11:44 AM

    The last time I know what "tripping" is that it involves taking some LCD or hallucinatory drug and you go on a 'tripping experience. So naturally, I conclude 'round-tripping' means making a whole big round of make-believe trips!!

    It is as easy as reading the magical number '33' which means "master teacher' in the church of Scientology. With that, we can declare Tom Cruise has reached his attainment 3 times in a row! What a feat...Can Kong Hee & company beat that?

    1. $9.2m for staff expenses/allowances & $2.9m for charity.
      Maybe that is a 29 yrs old whizkid in all of these.

      Wow..I am scraping bits of my blown minds.

  4. CHC has 33,000 members.

  5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/jun/13/olympics-2012-government-data

    I can get a 'on time and under-budget transparent report' on the UK London Olympics, but I can't even know the 'allocated budget' for our SEA games and our Minister can already double confirm it will not be overspent?!

    Like that, I also know how to project manage.. Just declare 2 times more buffer, and then spend less than original amount (insert your own number since the mainstream media couldn't care less to report or ask for the figure).

    1. KJ can get a prompt response from IMF chief's Christine Lagarde office but can't get any data from our President, MAS or Stats board. Makes you wonder who is really running the country.

      People should start writing to the World Bank, UN or CIA if they can't get answers from our million-paid ministers and ministries. What do you think?

  6. I just think he is another idiot Minister in the making.

    If he still hasn't announced the allocated budget yet, why of all things, should he now worry that they will over-run the budget later ?

    Shouldn't he worry more as to whether NOL has the budget to pay its staff considering that they now even have to sell their HQ, no ?

  7. I hate the part where he said, "The Government will try to solve the absolute part, but the Government may not be able to solve the aspirational part, very difficult." Hello, if you can't do the job, it's time to step down and let the alternate party make it work.

    1. The aspirational part of the people is to solve the absolute power part of this government. 2016.

  8. If we don't know what the 2015 SEA Games budget is in 2012;
    Then of course he will be able to report in 2016;
    That the 2015 SEA Games was under control and within budget.

    You learn this in Pretend Action Party Budget Policy 101.
    Conducted by the TummySick Holdings of Singapore.
    The course, Transparency 101, is conducted by Distinguished Professor David Copperfield.