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Kids stuff for urban planning?

It’s been a busy latter part of the week and I haven’t had much time to finish a new article so I will just be sharing another interesting article, this time on urban planning. I spotted the article in my mailbox as part of a bulletin that I am subscribed to. Here’s a link to the article:

Teaching urban planning to pre-schoolers

It’s interesting to me as I am a teacher and I thought as I read this that we should probably be teaching transport planning or transport engineering to pre-schoolers as well. We are doing something like that for grade schoolers already in the form of road safety lessons. I am already curious about what topics to cover for pre-schoolers and how to teach them. Older children probably could go with SimCity and other computer games but pre-schoolers can be more of a challenge in terms of the tools you would need for them to learn. Using Lego is a brilliant idea and the same can be applied to transport as well in addition to maybe Matchbox and Tomica.

Teaching transportation engineering

I’ve taught Transportation Engineering courses since I joined the faculty of the then Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1995. This year marks my 15th year with UP counting my 3-year study leave in the late 90’s.

Since 1995, I have taught most of the transportation courses offered by the Department (now Institute) of Civil Engineering. These include the two undergraduate offerings ubiquitously titled Transportation Engineering I and II (CE 141 and CE 142) that are considered major courses, and part of a balanced curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree. Being major courses, these are required subjects and all students must take these courses one after the other with TE I being the prerequisite of TE II.

Both subjects are not difficult ones to teach and it is easy to come up with examples that the students can visualize and understand. In fact, experiences from driving and commuting are common examples that allow me and my students to discuss actual manifestations of concepts we discuss in the classroom.

I don’t really have a favorite among the two undergrad courses though I must say that I like teaching CE 141 over CE 142. I like the content of CE 141 with topics on Traffic Flow Theory and Transport Planning, which allow me to use my imagination in conjuring new examples (and exams) each semester that I handle the course. I feel that CE 142 is more deliberate because it is partly a design course, and in the undergraduate level it is important to instill fundamentals in the minds of future Civil Engineers – future Transportation Engineers. Nevertheless, teaching CE 142 is not at all boring and lacking for challenge.

I always pray that I can share my knowledge and experience to my students. I assume that while I am not the best teacher in the subject, I do give it my best shot every time I give a lecture. I am hopeful that I am able to contribute in the molding of the next generation of Civil Engineers produced by UP – more so the next generation of Transportation Engineers who can continue the advocacy for better transportation systems and infra that this country of ours deserve.