Take 5 – 25 April 2016 by Mdm Ong Hwee Hien
Good morning Gessians,
I am Mdm Ong Hwee Hien, a Chemistry teacher from the Science Department.
Today, I would like to share a story that is about our school value of this term: Resilience.
But before that, please recall last Wednesday’s Reading Programme when Mr Derrick Ng and Mr Kelvin Kwok shared with you about Mathematics as a skill in Problem Solving.
The following story might help you connect further with what was shared in last week’s reading programme.
|A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure how to fix the engine.|
Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a young boy.
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do.
After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something.
Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!
A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.
“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!”
So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemised bill.”
The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer …………………………………. $2.00
Moral of the story: Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference!
Some people may think that the old man has such long working experience and would have already packed himself with loads of knowledge to handle various situations. However, I would like to think that the old man, besides having valuable knowledge, has also applied some of the Polya’s Problem Solving Processes:
1. Understand the Problem – He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom, looking for information about what is wrong.
2. Devise a Plan – After looking things over, he devise a technique: use of a small hammer.
3. Implement the Plan – Tap using the hammer.
4. Look back – It appeared that the old man did not look back and check his method.
But from the way the old man inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom, is it likely that the old man solved the problem by simply relying on memorisation, and didn’t attempt to make deeper connections with his previous experiences?
If given another faulty engine, would the old man use the small hammer again? Probably not, because the engine may not have the same problem and hence another method needs to be devised again. Or maybe, he would use the small hammer but would probably tap on a different spot with it. In other words, problems may change but the thinking skills to devise the method and handle it are the solutions to the problems.
I think you would agree with me that the old man’s strong analytical skills coupled with deep expert knowledge is definitely worth $10000. He gained his working experience through continuous reflections and making connections with his previous experiences such that he did not have to look back and check on his method eventually.
Exams are here at the end of this week.
Food for your thought:
While you are preparing for your exams, are you simply memorising the subject content or do you try to make connections with other topics for each subject?
Effort is important, but knowing where and how to make an effort makes all the difference. How to study well – persevere in continuously practicing making connections with your previous knowledge for each subject.