On Expert a.k.a pakar

April 18, 08

Just wanna share interesting insights from a highly respected expert in quality engineering who happened to be my Professor at NUS. For me, he is truly a good lecturer: Prof. Goh Thong Ngee.

Let me highlight some of his remarks:

On his teaching quality policy

  • I will strive for total student satisfaction by continually improving the coverage and presentation of my courses, stressing the insights and trends of a subject rather than mere facts.

    My goal is to produce informed, enlightened and motivated students who will continue their learning process well beyond the duration of my courses.

On teaching & research – quoting Deming:

  • It seems to me that the prime requirement for a teacher is to possess some knowledge to teach. He who does no research possesses no knowledge and has nothing to teach… The only suitable judge of a teacher’s knowledge are his peers. The only objective criterion of knowledge is research worthy of publication — measured on some scale of contribution to knowledge, not by number of papers.
  • W. Edwards Deming
    The American Statistician
    Vol. 26 No. 1, February 1972

On achievement:

  • If you have to tell people that you’re World Class, you aren’t.

So guys,
Any comments ?? what do u think about the term ‘expert’ or in Bahasa: ‘pakar’?

  • Should he or she be of high profile?
  • Should he or she be frequently put him/ her self in the spotlight? mentioned in the newspapers, magazines, etc ?
  • Should he or she regard him/herself ‘untouchable’ or having a ‘me-can-do-no-wrong’ attitude?

3 Responses to “On Expert a.k.a pakar”

  1. minan Says:

    I have once asked experts is decision making (society of judgment and decision making; sjdm.org) of what makes one to be an expert in decision making and no agreement on the answer.
    James Shanteau of Kansas University have studied on the field for years, he might be an expert of expert (meaning that he is an expert in studying expert).
    However, as I know, We can only find out that one is an expert not before the test but after the test.
    Expert is different from novice but the difference lies on one’s ability to view the problem not on how to solve it. or as psychologist says: on the framing of the situation.At least, that what I can learn when I study the expert in logistics management decision making.
    Hope it’s useful. Tell me if it’s not.


    Nafiul Minan

  2. b oe d Says:

    # Rekan Nafiul

    I agree with you to some extent that expertise is built upon years of hand-on experiences.

    In terms of ‘expert in decision making’; that would be very difficult to judge whether someone is an expert or not.

    The problem lies on the fact that a ‘good decision’ is not always leading to a ‘good outcome’. Hence, assuming that an expert always makes a good decision, it does not necessarily mean that an expert’s decision will always lead to a good outcome.

    A good outcome is a function of the decision AND other external factors including luck (or uncertain events which are materialized).

    Since all we can do is measuring the outcome as a proxy of the quality of the decision- then in most cases it would be difficult to distinguish “good decision and good luck”.

  3. minan Says:

    even if it seems obvious that experience lead to expertise, I disagree on some extent of the conventional wisdom. According to behaviorist, Provided that experience causes the flexibility in framing (and reframing), expert is different than novice but I think it’s not necessarily valid to say that inversely.

    As your word says: expertise is function of framing the situation so that the result is robust problem statement whereas novice with lack of framing (due to deficit of experience) will only see the problem situation on its surface only even if he/she eventually find the problem (and question to the problem) he/she will soon find that he/she just define the wrong problem (and the wrong decision, too).

    From technological viewpoit, what matter is how can we create such function available for one that needs it but I think what important more is for educationer to develop such function since building such technology would meet many significant hurdles.

    I couldn’t agree with you more that System thinking is the perfect weapon to analyze the situation (Even that according to Russell Ackoff, system thinking is quite opposite with the analytical thinking) so that teaching system thinking to student is what matter most.


    Nafi’ul Minan

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