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ASCD events and activities 2009


UBD ROUNDTABLE 13 Nov 2009, Sheraton Towers

To read about UBD in a nutshell, please click here.

ASCD has been organising Understanding by Design (UBD) workshops since 2007. We are the first organisation to bring in UBD training on a regular basis. Since 2007, we have trained hundreds of Singapore teachers in both primary and secondary schools. To support schools that have embarked on UDB, a roundtable discussion was organised on Nov 13, bringing together trainer, Dr Susan Clayton, ASCD Council members, and key personnel from schools who have embraced the UBD for organising their school curriculum. Participating schools included
  • Xin Min Secondary School,
  • Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary),
  • Maris Stella High School,
  • Chung Cheng High School,
  • St Hilda’s Secondary School,
  • Hong Kah Secondary School,
  • Orchid Park Secondary School,
  • Henry Park Primary School and
  • National Junior College.
The meeting aimed at identifying
  • concerns about the format of the UBD workshops.
  • what’s working for teachers through their journey of implementing UBD.
  • issues and challenges at the school level.
In addition, suggestions and ideas were also offered to participants to facilitate their implementation of UBD.

There was frank discussion and useful suggestions and input from all participants. Schools like Xin Min Secondary that was among the first to implement UBD had useful advice and ideas to share with others. All agreed that UBD had helped them shift some of their practices that were not working for their students and that UBD had the potential to shift teachers’ mindset and open up new ways of thinking about teaching, learning and assessment.

However, the implementation was not without problems. Some of the issues that surfaced were related to mindset, trust among staff members, working across disciplines, not enough feedback, fear of being wrong and the many new theories and technical terms. However, they agreed that once some of these were overcome, teachers found it gratifying to have a common language when speaking about the curriculum, and they also were more focused on planning their own learning and planning their teaching for understanding.

Susan answered some of their concerns and also offered support in the form of suggestions and rubrics for use by teachers to track their own progress in the classroom and in school. Susan also offered ideas on a master strategic plan that was designed to help schools obtain an overview of how they can manage the implementation and tracking of UBD in their schools.

Past president Betsy Lim also announced the next level of professional development for UBD practitioners and that is the training of on-site UBD coaches to help with the implementation of UBD in schools. The coaching programme will begin next year.

A sumptuous tea added to elevating the good feelings that afternoon, such that despite the crazy traffic resulting from the APEC meeting, everyone went home agreeing that it was an afternoon well spent. Our sincere thanks to Susan and Betsy for facilitating the event, and thank you UBD schools and participants for your frank sharing and feedback.
The following photos were taken at the UBD Roundtable:

ASCD Conference 2009, March 13-16, Orlando, USA

ASCD Council members were in Orlando in March for the annual conference. Below is an article from Mrs. Saraspathy Menon, Secretary Singapore ASCD about her experiences at the conference.

My Three Cups of Tea at the 64th ASCD Annual Conference, Orlando, USA
by Mrs Saraspathy Menon

"Here (in Pakistan and Afganistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business: the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family and for our family we are prepared to do anything – even die."
Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan

"The Opening General Session" by Greg Mortenson was most apt in reiterating this year’s theme Learning beyond Boundaries.

Mortenson, the mountaineer who failed in his attempt to assail Mount K2, took us on a journey beyond physical hardship into an emotionally compelling personal tale. Three Cups of Tea, which tells the story of his unwavering mission to build a school in a village in the Karakoram Mountains, was used to teach us the lesson on overcoming the   punishing terrains of human ignorance and weaknesses. His success in reaching out to the peak and power of humanitarian spirit was a dramatically inspirational start to the conference. It was my first cup of tea.

On the second day I was no longer a stranger to the trials and tribulations that teaching and leadership had to surmount.

Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot the space shuttle and also the first to serve as mission commander, shared her challenges in charting the riskiest space missions. In sharing the pain and trauma of making mistakes, as the astronauts did with the ill-fated Columbia, she shared some profound lessons learnt from the mistakes. In her case, we learnt how the human spirit could move on with renewed fervour to build an organisational culture of learning by questioning, problem solving, and innovating. 

Just as astronauts make mistakes, we too sometimes may make mistakes especially since our countless decisions deal with dynamic living souls whose personality, mood and behaviour can be quite unpredictable. Nevertheless, mistakes can be costly and, as Collins reiterated, we need to continuously hone our understanding, knowledge and skills to ensure that we expand the horizon of our wards and ensure that they are equipped with the skills necessary to chart their own space shuttle with confidence.
The third cup of tea, presented by Sir Ken Robinson bolstered the spirits of the fraternity. Delegates were engaged in a hilarious orchestra of giggles and uncontrollable laughter as he effortlessly crossed the boundaries by teasing the gathering with his characteristic British humour. The family of teachers was encouraged and affirmed with the joy and purpose that came with our convictions in recognizing, respecting and nurturing the infinite potential in every child under our charge. The standing ovation he received was a celebration of sorts of our bond and commitment to our collective cause.

Coming home, I feel grateful for and was thoroughly refreshed by my three cups of tea.


Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations . . . One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Viking 2006 ISBN 0-670-03482-7

The photos below are from the ASCD Conference at Orlando.

ASCD Council members at Orlando: Miss Tay Siew Lian (immediate past president), Dr Koh Thiam Seng (President-elect), Mr Jimmy Tan ( President), Mrs. Saraspathy Menon
(Secretary) and Miss Betsy Lim (past president, and current board member, ASCD International).

With ASCD President, Valerie Truesdale. 

From left: Ron Miletta, Dr Koh, Jenny Lewis, Miss Tay, Judy Seltz and Linda Mariotti.

President Jimmy Tan with Board Members, Marsha Jones and Tyrone Harris. 

(Click to enlarge)

Miss Betsy Lim, past president and current board member of ASCD International appeared on the cover of the Conference Daily, the official newspaper of the event. She was photographed with Greg Mortenson, the keynote speaker, and CEO of ASCD, Dr Gene Carter.
(Copy of Conference Daily cover reproduced with permission from ASCD).


Book Launch and Talk by Professor Colin Marsh

Professor Colin Marsh launched his new book Key Concepts of Curriculum Design (4th edition) on 20th March at the Grassroots Club. Organised by ASCD and Taylor & Francis, the launch was preceded by a talk by Professor Marsh entitled “A Stocktake on Doing SBCD in Singapore: Achievements and Ongoing Issues”.  ASCD members attended the free event and were treated to an insightful and interesting evaluation of school-based curriculum development in Singapore. Many also purchased the book at a discounted price and had it autographed! The evening ended with a sumptuous high tea. 

President Jimmy Tan introducing Professor Colin Marsh.

Professor Marsh autographing copies of his book for participants.

Professor Colin Marsh autographed my book!!!

Happy participants at the book launch.

Professor Marsh with some members of the Singapore ASCD committee.

AGM 2009

The ASCD’s 20th AGM was held on 6 March at the Grassroots Club. Mr Ee Chye Heng and Mr Lim Chong Eng were elected auditors for the coming year.

President Jimmy Tan addressing members.

Pat Wolfe and Susan Clayton who held a workshop
just before the AGM drew the lucky draw tickets.

Having fun at the workshop.

Pat Wolfe signing copies of her book for workshop participants.

ASCD members with Pat Wolfe and Susan Clayton.

Winners of the lucky draw. Seated (left to right): Ms Tay Wee Chin, Ms Chin Shin Wee, Ms Tan Khar Guek. Standing (left to right): Mr Ee Chye Heng, Mr Lim Chong Eng, Dr Diana Ang.

Chow time!


Forthcoming Events
in 2009

There has never been a better time to become an ASCD member … with exciting workshops, talks from renowned educationists from all over the world!

These workshops, seminars and talks have been organised by Singapore ASCD! Some dates are still subject to change. More events will be added in as they become confirmed.

Update on 26 June 2009: Due to the H1N1 pandemic, some workshops have been cancelled (see below for the affected sessions.)

Attn: All Understanding by Design participants:
Please read this document before attending your first UbD workshop.
3rd & 4th March Pat Wolfe Workshop Brain Matters: Translating Research to Classroom Practice
*** Registration Form
6th March ASCD AGM Meeting AGM 2009 and High Tea Reception
*** Registration Form
6th March Pat Wolfe & Susan Clayton Workshop The Brain and Understanding: A Natural Fit
*** Registration Form
20th March Colin Marsh Special for ASCD Members A Stocktake on Doing SBCD in Singapore (with registration details)
29th & 30th June & 1st July Susan Clayton Workshop Understanding by Design Level 2
*** Registration Form
2nd, 3rd & 7th July Susan Clayton Workshop Understanding by Design Level 1
*** Registration Form
8th July (2pm to 5.30pm) Richard Lange Workshop
High Ability Students: Practical Models on Serving their Needs
*** Registration Form
9th July (2pm to 5.30pm) Richard Lange Workshop
High Ability Students: One Size Does Not Fit All! (Part One)
*** Registration Form
9th, 10th & 11th September Susan Clayton Workshop
--- FULL ---
Understanding by Design Level 1
*** Registration Form
19th to 20th November Various speakers Conference
ERAS Conference 2009 (with list of speakers and registration details)
26th & 30th November, & 1st December Susan Clayton Workshop Understanding by Design Level 2
*** Registration Form





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