I can see clear skies through the rain

Clouds CurtainHaving overcome the first lecture, my excitement and anticipation grows stronger with every lecture. That “old familiar feeling” of wanting to learn more comes back to me again – the feeling of a dry sponge; ever-ready to absorb the juices of knowledge from prominent thought leaders in education. I can’t help but feel so privileged!

As a businessperson, I’ve paid top dollars just to listen to industry leaders speak for barely an hour. As an employee of a fortune-500 company, I used to fight for a place at the company’s annual conference where top-notch industry speakers are invited to speak. Now, I not only have one, but several gurus; each lecturing for a few hours! The best part is: I can ask these gurus questions during the lecture! Seeing their body language when digesting our questions, brains ticking, piecing information, and finally delivering their answers not only depicts the expanse of their knowledge on the subject matter but also their wealth of experience – all within the space of a few seconds.

When Clare Brooks and Fiona Rodgers asked us (i.e. the students) for our feedback on the series of lectures, we have nothing but praise! Getting feedback is one of the ways of “Sharpening the Saw” (Covey, 1989) in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I can see that the folks facilitating this module “What is Education?” are walking their talk. Kudos to the entire team for this wonderful experience! Almost all of my colleagues know that I’ve embarked on the MA Education programme. Concerned colleagues asked me how I’m faring each time they see me. To their surprise, they now see a “Happy Bernard” instead of the “Worried Bernard” just a few weeks earlier!

So, what comes after these wonderful series of lectures? Assignments of course! Mind maps of this module, 2 statements on our perspective of education, a summary, and an abstract are what we needed to do. Hmmm … mind maps should be easy!  So there I go, branching out to the six different areas of education; adding little clouds here and there. Slowly but surely more and more elements and perspectives are considered and added onto the mind map; making it very “cloudy” in no time (pun intended). When I finally completed it, the spaghetti of lines linking from one cloud to another (and at times several clouds too!) gives me a sense of accomplishment! This is an excellent formative assignment as my knowledge is now all wired-up with the mind map etched in my mind. Conversations with colleagues on education are now more enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Perhaps the most difficult of all these assignments as far as I’m concerned, is the abstract. This little 200-word abstract must convey the essence of all the things that I wanted to say. Being naturally a long-winded person, this is definitely a torture! In fact, I lost count of the number of times I revised my abstract for so many different reasons. So, what did I gain from doing this abstract? One word – clarity. I can now exercise this power of simplicity to aid my revision for my final exams that has been hanging at the back of my mind all this time. Besides this, my conversations with colleagues on education is now short, sweet and simple (3 S’). At this juncture, I can see that although there is rain all around me, there are clear skies in the road ahead.

All this sharing of knowledge and views on education have opened the eyes of many colleagues, particularly my department head. Just 3 days ago, I was appointed as head teacher for grade 12 in the business management department. This newly-created role comes with many added responsibilities. Feelings of joy and reservations filled my heart when I heard this news. Joy is because I now have more opportunities to apply the knowledge gained in this course. Reservations are because I originally wanted to go on a very low profile so that I’ll have more time for this course.

Hmmm … funny how life always manages to throw a spanner in the works eh? In my case, I’m enjoying the musical overtures of the undeliberate spanner in the works.

Bernard is studying the MA Education by distance learning in Beijing, China.