Foreword

Teachers are at the heart of the education system. They devote time and effort developing individuals with sound values, a strong commitment to Singapore, and knowledge and skills to become contributing members of our society. They nurture the diverse interests and talents of students, and inspire and empower them in their learning. Our future literally passes through their hands.

I thank them for responding passionately to the call of the profession.

The 15th issue of “Teach to Inspire, Inspire to Teach” features stories of caring and dedicated teachers who strive to bring out the best in each of their students. At the same time, they embrace a world that is changing, and explore new teaching approaches and instructional innovation to better fulfil their responsibilities. Teachers need to learn for life and hone their craft.

This year’s publication is in digital format, for greater accessibility and in line with the times. I hope that more would be inspired through an interactive digital publication.

Congratulations to the recipients and finalists of the President’s Award for Teachers 2018. May these inspiring stories encourage those in the fraternity to continue making a difference in the young lives we are entrusted with.

Lead. Care. Inspire.

Mr. Ong Ye Kung
Minister for Education

President's Award
for Teachers

The President’s Award for Teachers was introduced in 1998 to recognise excellent teachers for their role in moulding the future of our nation. The Award is conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore during the Teachers’ Day Reception at the Istana.

These teachers inspire their students and peers, through their words and deeds. Since its inception, 92 outstanding teachers, including this year’s recipients, have been recognised. They are caring and nurturing, dedicated to the holistic development of their students. Committed to developing their students to the fullest potential, they are passionate in adopting innovative approaches in their lessons. These teachers are also lifelong learners and mentors to their peers.

These teachers are role models that exemplify the Ethos of the Teaching Profession.

President's Award for Teachers
Recipients 2018

Front row from left to right

Dr Lim Yi-En
National Junior College

Ms Ng Sheh Feng
Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School

Mdm S Nirmala Devi
Guangyang Primary School

Ms Tan Lay Khee
Temasek Polytechnic

Ms Goh Wai Leng
Geylang Methodist School (Primary)

Back row from left to right

Mr Edzra Bin Iskandar
Bedok South Secondary School

Mr Ong Yong Cheng Matthew
St Andrew's Junior School

Mr George Teo Keng Ann
Singapore Polytechnic

President's Award for Teachers
Finalists 2018

General Education

Front row from left to right

Ms Ng Sheh Feng*
Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School

Dr Lim Yi-En*
National Junior College

Mr Edzra Bin Iskandar*
Bedok South Secondary School

Ms Yeo Li Yong
Singapore Chinese Girls' School

Ms Goh Wai Leng*
Geylang Methodist School (Primary)


* President’s Award for Teachers 2018 Recipients.

Back row from left to right

Mr Shahrin B Mahmud
Greenridge Primary School

Mr Ong Yong Cheng Matthew*
St Andrew's Junior School

Ms Angeline Chan Xiuwen
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

Mdm S Nirmala Devi*
Guangyang Primary School

 

President's Award for Teachers
Finalists 2018

Post-Secondary Education Institutions

From left to right

Dr Tan Wah Pheow
Temasek Polytechnic

Mr George Teo Keng Ann*
Singapore Polytechnic

Mr Khalid Bin Kassim
Institute of Technical Education
(College East)

 

Ms Tan Lay Khee*
Temasek Polytechnic

Mr Joshua Yeo Thiong Joo
Republic Polytechnic

Mr Sunarto@ Quek Siaw Miang
Ngee Ann Polytechnic

 
 

 

 


* President’s Award for Teachers 2018 Recipients.

Singapore Educators' Philosophy of Education

All real names of students in the stories have been replaced by pseudonyms

Ethos of the
Teaching Profession

The Ethos is expressed in Our Singapore Educators’ Philosophy of Education, the Teachers’ Vision, the Teachers’ Pledge, the Teachers’ Creed and the Desired Outcomes of Education. Each of the above is an important facet of an integrated Ethos of the Teaching Profession.

The compass has been chosen to depict the facets of the Ethos of the Teaching Profession. Pointing to the true north, it symbolises the constancy of values in the lives of educators. New entrants to the profession are presented with a compass at the Teachers’ Compass Ceremony.

“ Desire Outcomes of Education | Philosophy of Education | Teachers' Vision, Teachers' Pledege, Teachers' Creed ”
Our Singapore Educators’ Philosophy of Education captures the core beliefs and tenets of the teaching profession and serves as the foundation of teachers’ professional practice.
The Desired Outcomes of Education establishes a common purpose for the teaching fraternity, guiding educational and school policies, programmes and practices.
The Teachers’ Vision articulates the aspirations and roles of the teaching profession, helping teachers to focus on what to do in pursuit of professional excellence.
The Teachers’ Pledge constitutes an act of public undertaking that each teacher takes to uphold the highest standards in professional practice.
The Teachers’ Creed codifies the practices of retired and present educators and makes explicit their tacit beliefs. It provides a guide for teachers to fulfil our responsibilities and obligations, and to honour the promise of attaining professional excellence.

Teacher's Vision

Singapore Teachers:

Lead • Care • Inspire

By word and deed, through the care we give,
we touch the lives of our students.
We make a difference - leading and inspiring our students
to believe in themselves and to be the best they can be.

As individuals and as a community of professionals,
we seek continually to deepen our expertise.
Respectful of fellow educators,
we collaborate to build a strong fraternity,
taking pride in our work and profession.

We forge trusting partnerships
with families and the community
for the growth and well-being of each student.

We Lead, Care, Inspire,
For the Future of the Nation Passes through Our Hands.

Teacher's Pledge

We, the teachers of Singapore, pledge that:

We will be true to our mission
to bring out the best in our students.

We will be exemplary in the discharge of our
duties and responsibilities.

We will guide our students to be
good and useful citizens of Singapore.

We will continue to learn and pass on the
love of learning to our students.

We will win the trust, support and co-operation
of parents and the community so as to
enable us to achieve our mission.

Desired Outcomes
of Education

The Desired Outcomes of Education are attributes that educators aspire for every Singaporean to have by the completion of his formal education. These outcomes establish a common purpose for educators, drive our policies and programmes, and allow us to determine how well our education system is doing.

The person who is schooled in the Singapore Education system embodies the Desired Outcomes of Education. He has a good sense of self-awareness, a sound moral compass, and the necessary skills and knowledge to take on challenges of the future. He is responsible to his family, community and nation. He appreciates the beauty of the world around him, possesses a healthy mind and body, and has a zest for life. In sum, he is

  • a confident person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, is adaptable and resilient, knows himself, is discerning in judgment, thinks independently and critically, and communicates effectively;
  • a self-directed learner who takes responsibility for his own learning, who questions, reflects and perseveres in the pursuit of learning;
  • an active contributor who is able to work effectively in teams, exercises initiative, takes calculated risks, is innovative and strives for excellence; and
  • a concerned citizen who is rooted to Singapore, has a strong civic consciousness, is informed, and takes an active role in bettering the lives of others around him.

Ms Goh Wai Leng
School Staff Developer
Geylang Methodist School (Primary)

Bringing out
everyone's best

Goh Wai Leng believes in the
power of discovering and
realising potential, whether
it is in her students
or her fellow teachers.

“ The child has a voice. Hear him out ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Ms Goh Wai Leng

“Mrs Chan’s PE lessons are very fun. We team up with friends and learn about teamwork through games like the Scarecrow, where we work together to try to get the ball from other people. When we play, we learn that you do not need to do everything yourself, but can work with other people to achieve your goals.” — Durratul, Primary 3

Being a teacher has been Goh Wai Leng's first and only job; it is "where my heart really lies", she says.

A Physical Education teacher of 18 years, Wai Leng loves the buzz of the school environment, whether it is from mingling with students and putting them through their paces as athletes, or from her fellow teachers in her capacity as School Staff Developer (SSD).

She remembers supervising a new teacher a few years ago. "She initially had 'heavy' family commitments, but I was there with her to grow her leadership journey. When she became Subject Head, I was able to, as a more senior teacher, share with her what to do, and the challenges she may face. She became more confident and comfortable in leading her own team of people."

That teacher is now leading a department in her school.

Wai Leng has also been helping her colleagues to grow in other ways.

In 2017, as Year Head of Primary 1 and 2, she saw an opportunity to help her colleagues understand their pupils better. Many of the children joined the school from kindergartens, where they had already been exposed to certain subjects and environments.

So Wai Leng made arrangements for her primary school teachers to get familiar with the kindergarten environment, and MOE's recently-introduced Nurturing Early Learners Curriculum, through visits and sharing sessions.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

This helped them better meet the children's needs. "My colleagues were able to understand why their own classroom methods made some of the pupils bored or fearful. They managed to adjust accordingly, so they could put the children at ease and continue to nurture their sense of curiosity."

Commenting on her role as an SSD and mentor, Wai Leng added, "There is sense of satisfaction when you see your teachers grow."
 

POLISHING GEMS
Wai Leng gets a similar sense of satisfaction when she sees her students grow, particularly those in her Co-Curricular Activity, Track and Field.

She recalls a particular child Alvin (not his real name) whom she talent-spotted when he was in Primary 3. "He was a scrawny little boy and nobody knew that he could run.

But as a former athlete myself, I could see his potential. He was a gem in the making."

Wai Leng encouraged him to train and take part in national sports meets. "The whole idea was to have the experience – to experience defeat, to experience sweet success, as long as you better your personal best."

Alvin blossomed in his individual events, the boys' 300m and 600m. When he went on to secondary school, he became the champion for 'C' Division Cross Country.
 

GIVING STUDENTS
A BIGGER VOICE

Off the track, Wai Leng believes in helping students to set targets too. She introduced the "Reflection Organiser" – a checklist for them to track and reflect on their progress.

Periodically, teachers will sit down with the students to go through the organiser and its questions: What are your strengths? What is the area that you want to work on? How can you do better? What support do you want from your teacher, and from your parents?

It is a useful stock-take, but it does not stop there. Remarks that students make during these discussions are also shared at Meet-the-Parents sessions. It is a departure from the convention of teachers giving parents feedback about their children. As Wai Leng points out, "The child has a voice. Hear him out."

One child said she wanted her parents to sit with her while she was studying, instead of watching television. Some said they were not able to finish their schoolwork because they had too much tuition.

Wai Leng took videos of some of the parent-teacher meetings in 2017, the first year where the reflection organisers were used. In one particularly powerful clip, a teacher asked a Primary 1 student what she wanted to say to her mother. The child said, "I want to say to mummy 'Thank you for helping me all this time'". And then the child gave her mother a hug.

"When I shared that video with my colleagues, they understood its impact – it was about real people, real students, real stories. And this captured their hearts," says Wai Leng.

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mdm S Nirmala Devi
Lead Teacher
Guangyang Primary School

SCIENCE TRIGGERS
TEACHING GREATER
THINGS

S Nirmala Devi has an array
of methods to engage her
young science students
– and she is happily sharing
them with her colleagues.

“ My responsibility is to become better so that I can teach better ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Mdm S Nirmala Devi

“Mrs Sam shows how Science is useful in the real world. She makes lessons more interesting by letting us ask questions and be curious.” — Sandhya Suresh, Primary 6

Who is your plumb line?

Lead Teacher (Science) S Nirmala Devi asks her Primary 6 students this at the end of a lesson.

By that time, they have already learned that plumb lines are strings with weights hung on one end, which engineers and craftsmen use to determine if something is perfectly upright.

But thinking about who serves that function in their own lives, is something else altogether.

Slowly, the children begin to answer. For one, it is her mother. For another, it is the kid who lives next door. Or a best friend. Or a sibling.

This method of teaching — of anchoring a scientific concept into something emotional and relatable, even for young children — is known as affective science. And plumb lines are just one of many concepts which Nirmala has managed to find an emotional hook for.

This teacher of 29 years is always thinking of new ways to engage her students, such as affective science.

So when her Primary 6 classes complete their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), she does not leave them to their own devices. Instead, she turns them into Science ambassadors for their Primary 2 juniors, who will be learning the subject for the first time when they progress to Primary 3.

Each of the older children will take five of their juniors round the school's garden, pointing >out the various plants and getting them excited about learning the subject. Shortly after Nirmala introduced this initiative, she found it worked so well that she began to think up ways to expose Primary 1 and 2 students to Science throughout the year, instead of its last few weeks.

She found a surprisingly elegant answer in the big picture books they read in their English lessons.

For the Primary 1 book “Short, Tall, Big or Small” on animals, she created a worksheet for students to classify them according to their similarities. For the Primary 2 book “A butterfly is born”, she created another asking students to identify the different stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.

“The purpose is for them to learn to observe. Observation is an important part of Science,” she explains.

Then, she shared the worksheets with her colleagues teaching Primary 1 and 2 as the sheets were easy enough to use. “I’m not just teaching my own students. I have the greater responsibility of looking out for the way Science is taught in the school,” she says, pointing to her role as the school’s Lead Teacher (Science).

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Even as she guides her colleagues and students, she continues to learn herself. “My responsibility is to become a better learner so that I can teach better. I go for training and courses. I make it a point to collaborate so that I can learn.”

A case in point: after attending a course on ORID questioning — a technique using Objective, Reflective, Interpretative and Decisional questions — she and several other Senior and Lead Teachers in the North Zone, adapted it for classroom use. For one year, the group was given two hours every Friday to meet. But the group members felt it was not enough. So, they met up on their own accord for another two years.

At the end of it, they came up with four publications called “The little BIG schools, with lesson plans using ORID questioning for Primary 1 and 2 English and Maths.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

The massive project was presented nationally and the materials were made available to all schools that wanted to use the systemic process to guide Primary 1 and 2 students into higher levels of thinking, such as how and why.

NEW SCHOOL,
NEW EXPERIMENTS

When Nirmala’s family moved from Yishun to Bishan, she chose to transfer to Guangyang Primary School. But she did not do this simply out of convenience and proximity.

“We never really know until we step out [of our comfort zone]. We can change, see things differently, meet new friends. We can learn — so this is the way you’re doing it — for me as a person and as a teacher.”

And she needs to keep on learning — because of her personal philosophy regarding teaching. “If the kids don’t get it, then teach them in a way that they can understand. If we can improve our craft, we can enable all our students to learn better,” she says.

This is something she is familiar with: she recalls a boy with autism and a girl with a problem of absenteeism. She motivated both to learn and they passed their PSLE exams.

“They had things going against them. But I saw something transforming within them. They were finding out what they were good at, and doing that more and growing as a person."

“So many children have such low selfesteem, it is important to encourage them when they take small steps," she remarks.

As Lead Teacher, she also runs workshops for teachers and guides her colleagues. She says, "Now I have a good balance between helping teachers and teaching. Also, I know what to tell the teachers because of my experience with the students. I'm very passionate about impacting teachers but I'm a teacher at the core."

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Ong Yong Cheng Matthew
Head of Department
St Andrew's Junior School

Master
Storyteller

Give Matthew Ong anything
— anecdotes from colleagues,
the symbols used in the school
crest, even the English language
itself — and he will spin memorable
stories out of them, with great
learning points for his students.

“ ## ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Mr Ong Yong Cheng Matthew

“Mr Ong uses games to teach English and this makes lessons very interesting. There are heroes who are actually poets and to gain a ‘hero’, we have to memorise a poem. So the game helps us in our compositions, and also helps us to think strategically.”
Jared Ho, Primary 6

When students step into Matthew Ong’s English Language class, they enter a fascinating world of heroes and villains, mystery and intrigue. The ultimate baddie, LetterPillar, is stealing words from English language, putting all of civilisation at risk.

Thumboo – all of whom have different powers – to come to the rescue. This assistance comes at a greater cost though: the students need to recite poems.

While it is not uncommon for teachers to use games to spice up lessons, “The Revenge

His minions include Dr Verbose, who messes up verbs, and Sentence Sasquatch, who does the same with sentences. What can the boys of St Andrew’s Junior School do to save the day?

They can find and catch the villains by guessing mystery words relating to their locations. They can uncover missing letters used in these words by earning “letter dollars”, to help them along. If they are still not sure, they can summon literary heroes like Li Bai, Walt Whitman and Edwin

of the LetterPillar” is no game – it is an entire world and unfolds over weeks.

There is also a big 20 by 20 leaderboard in his students’ classrooms, showing the progress various groups have made in finding LetterPillar and his lackeys.

All this is a very elaborate and entertaining way to teach students vocabulary, poetry, and life lessons. Matthew uses letter dollars as incentives for good work and behaviour.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

His students can also work together to get words more easily. If they hand in group work on time or share their compositions, they can get promoted to the ranks of lieutenant, captain or general and access new abilities.

Matthew’s dream is to come up with a scalable version of LetterPillar that can be run in other classes, and even other schools. To this end, he has taken online coding courses with Coursera and Udemy, and is working closely with his school’s IT department.

SPINNING A MARVELLOUS YARN
The sprawling world of LetterPillar is just one example of Matthew’s ability to find a good story in anything.

The History graduate once turned his mind to the symbols in St Andrew’s Junior School’s crest — a blue shield, keys, a tiger — and collaborated with colleagues on a fantasy short story to inspire his students. The symbols became “the azure shield” and “the keys of imagination”, and the tiger had

a backstory of being raised by cows, thinking of itself as a cow, and defending them courageously when a group of tigers descended upon them. He called the story “The Legend of the Heart Courageous”.

While being an imaginative spirit, Matthew also listens keenly to other people’s stories — particularly those of fellow educators. He has collected several inspirational tales on self-knowledge, dealing with students, discipline, leadership and morals into a 147-page tome, and hopes that teachers will find it useful. He has also given talks on the topic.

INSPIRATIONAL CHESS
Being able to find a story in anything, Matthew can also pull out learning points from unexpected places — such as a game of chess.

It began with a conversation he had with a boy who had a complicated family background, and was suffering from low self-esteem. “I asked him one day, ‘When you look at the mirror what do you see?’ And he said ‘I see a piece of trash’. As an educator, it was one of the most heartbreaking things to hear,

to actually hear an 11-year-old child articulate that he [believes that he] is worthless.”

Matthew knew that the boy was interested in chess and so one day, he spoke with him about Mathematics in the game of chess. He drew simple, symmetrical shapes, and asked the student what he thought they were. The student pondered over it for a while and it dawned on him that the shapes represented the movements of the knight.

That sparked off some excitement and a sense of wonder. “That moment when the child goes ‘Hey!’, you know you have made a connection,” says Matthew. “For many of the students, that connection is far more important than English, Mathematics or Science.”

He sees this as his duty. “Love your students. It’s like you are given a glass key. It’s very fragile. You can use it to open their hearts and minds but with that connection is a heavy responsibility — what do you teach them? If they can love themselves for who they are — that is a really powerful thing.”

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Ms Angeline Chan Xiuwen
Subject Head
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

The Special
Needs Specialist

To Angeline Chan Xiuwen,
every child is capable
of giving – even the ones
who need the most help.

“With the right support and guidance all children can perform”
Ms Angeline Chan Xiuwen

“If you’re very down and have no friends, or when you are stressed up about exams, you can talk to Mrs Yung. One of my friends did this.” — Tristan Chan 9, Primary 3

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) teacher Angeline Chan Xiuwen, together with the school’s team of AED (LBS), organised a fair to raise students’ awareness of the condition. She had her classes set up booths with informative posters in the school, design games to test visitors’ knowledge, and give prizes to those who found the right answers.

Most significantly, she made sure the stations were manned by both by autistic students, and their buddies.

“It was to show all the children that they are essentially the same. With the correct support and guidance, all of them can get things done, autism or no.”

This was not the first time she involved special-needs students in such events. As the teacher in charge of Values-in-Action, she has gotten them to plan activities,

sing and dance in performances, serve food to the elderly in nursing homes. Her conviction: “They are capable of being of service to the community. They are receiving from society, but are also able to give back.”

She incorporates the same win-win strategy in her classroom, where she tells her students that everyone is special, and those with special needs just require that one friend to help them.

Angeline herself gives them extra attention. She has taught one of them, John (not his real name), who has Down Syndrome, for three years.

As he is slower than the rest of his class, she takes the effort in creating appropriate teaching resources, and giving him extra classes to help him catch up with his peers.

She also provides his parents with those teaching resources so that they can revise class work with him at home.

During recess, she accompanies John to meet up with the rest of his classmates. While normally reclusive, John opens up during these sessions, and his classmates learn to empathise with him.

John has progressed from being unable to verbalise his needs to being able to carry on a conversation with his classmates. At the same time, his classmates will happily hold his hand and walk with him whenever they head out of the classroom.
 

A DESIRE TO HELP
Angeline’s interest in helping those with special needs stems from a childhood

experience. One such classmate of hers was isolated because he was different. “He was very lonely. It was very sad he had no friend. I just couldn’t bear seeing him alone, so I started engaging him.”

But her efforts were outweighed by the indifference of other students. Eventually, the boy left her school. “I hope special needs children now don’t have to go through the path of my childhood friend,” says Angeline.

When she became a teacher, she opted to undergo training in managing students with special needs. Along the way, she gained hands-on experience. “I encountered many special-needs children and saw how I could help them. It inspired me to take up a bigger role,” she says.

Currently, as Subject Head overseeing such students in her school, she continues to develop her expertise, and is currently pursuing an advanced diploma in special needs at NIE.

She and her team of three full-time allied educators are looking into the support each child requires and providing the relevant academic, emotional or behavioural programmes. They are also working to equip teachers with skills to recognise special needs, both by conducting training themselves, as well as relying on external partners.
 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONVERSATIONS
Angeline’s concern for special-needs students is not at the expense of the rest of her class. In fact, she makes it a point to be with all of them in the classroom half an hour before lessons begin and be available in the canteen during every recess.

“Students are eager to have downtime with their teacher. During informal times, they are more ready to share their thoughts and concerns, and talk about family events and what they do with their friends. The mentality is different.”

She converses with them in groups so that it is less threatening for them, though some children do approach her for one-to-one sessions.

If she spots an area of concern — such as a student is spending time with strangers online, or having a bad relationship with his parents — she will initiate the one-to-one meeting herself. “Through these sessions, I can provide my students the mentorship they require,” explains Angeline.

For her, a very important part of teaching is to reach out to each child individually. She says, “A teacher can touch the life of a child and change the person’s character.”

 

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Sharin B Mahmud
Senior Teacher
Greenridge Primary School

Music,
confidence
and life’s
little lessons

Music can be theoretical, but
Shahrin B Mahmud’s classes
are all about performance
— because he’s seen how
playing to an audience has
helped his students grow.

“ I have seen (how teaching music) change(s) lives – children who were weak academically have found their voice and confidence in music. Music has touched them in a way few other subjects ever can ”
Mr Winner

“His classes are fun because we get to try different instruments like the D’jembe and the ukulele. I think his lessons have helped me to focus better on my listening comprehension because music makes you listen better to sounds and be more attentive.” — Yap Yuan Yuan, Primary 5

Standing before an audience of more than 5,000 students, teachers and members of the public at Gardens by the Bay in 2015, Siti Noor Halizah looked like she could be Singapore’s next singing sensation. At all of 11 years of age, she cleared rounds of auditions and competitive stages to be a finalist at the Singapore Youth Festival’s “Youth Got Talent”, where she belted out a rendition of pop diva’s Christina Aguilera’s “Hurt”.

“She was quite shy and couldn’t read the scores. But she played by ear, and her talent was clearly there.”

In his music classes, he also found that she was a gifted singer. “She had natural musical abilities, but lacked confidence and exposure,” he recalled. Taking her under his wing, he began giving her extra coaching.

Quite an accomplishment for someone who, just a year earlier, had been content to tinkle on a piano quietly in school, away from the view of others.

The person responsible for her big-stage debut? Not a music industry executive. It was her Music teacher, Shahrin B Mahmud.

Always on the lookout for hidden talents,
he had set up a piano in the canteen for students to practise on, and soon noticed Siti.

He persuaded her to perform at other school events such as the Teachers’ Day concert and at the annual Prize Giving ceremony to build up her self-belief.

Shahrin eventually convinced her to sign up for the “Youth Got Talent” event, and helped her prepare for it. “It wasn’t just voice coaching but also her song choice, her dressing and her attitude in delivering the lyrics. Looking back, I think being there boosted her self-confidence tremendously.”

MUSIC – A FORCE FOR CHANGE
Over the years, Shahrin has seen music transform many of his other students too. He often comes across students who are intimidated about performing in front of the class, or the entire school.

They usually stand at the back of the group but after several performances, they begin to relax and become more confident.

“During rehearsals, I make sure that the rest of the class offer positive feedback. In this way, they learn to respect one another and the positive feedback makes each student more confident to try and do better on stage the next time.”

His music classes also help to prepare students for the inevitable hiccups they will face in life. He often shares with his students the story of a dance performance conducted before the entire school a few years earlier. The recorded music stopped suddenly during the routine. The performers hesitated for a second, before continuing to dance enthusiastically in silence.

“The music was already etched in their minds from all the practices. By carrying on, they demonstrated confidence and the ability to think on the spot.”

Shahrin’s teaching efforts have paid off many times over: once, an ex-student who had shown little musical ability dropped by to hand his mentor a CD and seek his advice.

“He was in a band and wanted my opinion on his original music. It was good, but what is even better is that he continued to explore his interest in music long after he had left my class.”

One of Shahrin’s most heartfelt moments as a teacher happened quite unexpectedly when a little girl thanked him for teaching her Music and proudly announced that she had performed for her mother.

“She sang and played the ukulele which she had learnt in class. It was her way of thanking her mum on Mother’s Day for all that she had done. It was so touching that music can be a simple but wonderful gift from the heart.”
 

BECOMING A MUSIC TEACHER
Shahrin was not always a Music teacher. For most of his career, he taught English, Mathematics and Science. It was only three years ago when he was asked by his Principal to lead the Music unit in the department. “It was a challenge, but I had always been into music. I knew how transformative an experience it can be for students – to calm nerves and relieve stress, to boost confidence or to get them into the right mental zone before an examination.”

Does he have any regrets about the change in his teaching subjects?

“Someone recently asked me if I was a better Maths teacher or Music teacher. A few years ago, I would have said Maths. Over the years, however, I have grown to appreciate what music can do for children who may be less academically inclined. It can help them find their voice and confidence. Music touches them in a way different from the other subjects.”

Shahrin hopes that one day, he can rally students from several schools together to practise songs or upbeat music that can be performed at special events. This idea came from a seminar he attended in Glasgow, Scotland, where he saw several schools come together to perform before a regional football match.

“There was so much pride in their teams. I hope we can do the same at events here in Singapore, maybe at football matches with schools lending support to their respective Singapore Premier League clubs. It will be a good way to bond the community... Well, that’s the dream.”

 

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Ms Ng Sheh Feng
Subject Head
Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School

Opening Doors
To Music

How a music teacher’s belief
in her students who were
visually impaired led her
to create a first in Singapore

“ We find different ways to give students access to different opportunities because we believe they can do it ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Ms Ng Sheh Feng

“I had never seen a (Western) music score before I joined the Music Preparatory Course. I didn’t even know how to read basic music notation. Ms Ng helped me by giving me extra theory lessons after school.” — Angie Tham, Secondary 3

When Ng Sheh Feng joined Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School in 2015, she had her work cut out for her: within six months, she had to design a programme for students keen to take music as an O-level subject, hold auditions, and implement it.

It would not be easy, but Sheh Feng felt strongly about the job. She came from a family that could afford music instruments and lessons. She recognised that many students at Ahmad Ibrahim did not have such a head start in learning music and saw her posting as an opportunity to help them.

So she hit the ground running, planning the curriculum, revamping the music room, securing internship opportunities with arts organisations, and giving subject talks to encourage students to sign up.

What she did not expect, however, was that a Secondary 2 student would come up to her after one of these talks and ask: “’Cher, I want to do music. Can or not?” The girl was blind.

And she was not alone. She was quickly followed by another student, also visually impaired, who was just as keen.

“At that point I honestly did not know how to answer them”, Sheh Feng admits. “I had no experience teaching visually-impaired students.”

To be sure, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School had been admitting visually-impaired students for close to 50 years, and they studied and played alongside their sighted peers. But no visually-impaired student in all of Singapore had ever taken the O-level music examination at that point in time.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

Can or not, indeed.

Sheh Feng was moved by the girls’ enthusiasm, and decided to audition them anyway. Lo and behold, of the 10 students who tried out, only four were found suitable, and the two visually-impaired students were among them.

Then it turned out that the official answer was “no”.

As far as the examination authorities were concerned, there were simply too many challenges for a visually-impaired student to cope with a music examination. How would they read scores? How would they write the notation for their own compositions? Even if they could, how much more time would they need to answer all the questions?

FROM “CANNOT” TO “CAN”
Thus began, in Sheh Feng’s words, “a long fight” to find a way to overcome these challenges and show that it was possible. One that lasted a year and a half.

She and her colleagues experimented with different ways of assessing the girls, from music braille to taking the exam with a scribe, whom they could dictate the musical notation to.

She also worked closely with the Arts Education and Special Education branches in MOE. She and her colleagues produced one final set of recommendations which, among other things, involved substituting musical notation with an audio recording of their compositions, and allowing extended time to read the braille scores in the listening component.

The authorities approved the recommendations. It was a huge victory for Sheh Feng, her colleagues and the girls, but the battle was not over yet.

Weeks before the O-level practical exam, one of them was dropped by her volunteer piano teacher. She could not afford to find another teacher at such short notice, and yet needed someone to help prepare her for her performance.

Sheh Feng decided to undertake this herself. “It was a new experience for me,”she says. “Teaching a visually-impaired student to play the piano involves a lot of repetition and imitation. I had to physically guide her hands.” Nevertheless, she persevered.

The 2017 O-levels came, and the two girls made history by being the first visually-impaired students in Singapore to sit for the music examination.

Both of them passed.

More than that, one of the girls is currently in ITE, hoping to go on to study music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The other is with The Purple Symphony, an inclusive orchestra for people with and without disabilities. She is also on the Purple Symphony’s Training Award Programme, taking lessons with a percussion teacher.

FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL STUDENTS
Sheh Feng’s success with the two girls is just one of the many ways in which she has made music accessible to all students at her school.

She has also done many other things together with her music team to promote and build up the school’s Enhanced Music Programme, such as creating a music corner with instruments for students to jam in, and running a series of

lunchtime concerts in the music room, with performances ranging from dance to pentapping. She also organised collaborations and mentorship opportunities between her students and those in other schools, and helped talented students apply for arts training with organisations such as the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and the Arts Incubation Programme sponsored by the Business Times Budding Artists Fund. You name it, Sheh Feng has done it, for her students.

“We try to find different ways and means to give our students access to different opportunities because we believe they can do it!” says Sheh Feng. “Teenagers are really amazing. Once they find something they are passionate about, they will put incredible amounts of time and energy into it, and they will improve tremendously. Our job is to provide the opportunities and guide them along”

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Edzra Bin Iskandar
Head of Department
Bedok South Secndary School

Advocate for
adventure

Outdoor education brings
a wealth of benefits for
students– take it from the
teacher who once worked
as a mountain guide in Nepal.

“ The greatest satisfaction is one that cannot be seen and touched but can be felt. After they have engaged in outdoor education, there is an improvement in my students' attenance and positive behaviour ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Mr Edzra Bin Iskandar

“He is a caring teacher. When he sees that I am not feeling well or if he thinks I’m feeling down, he will approach me at recess or before CCA. He will ask me about school and talk to me about my problems. He does this for my friends too.” – Syed Nooh bin Syed Alwee Zaaheir, Sec 3

Facing wind and waves, small groups of Secondary 2 and 3 students sail the high seas between Singapore and Pulau Ubin. Over two days and one night, they can only rely on each other, the boats they are in, and the survival skills they have honed in the preceding five months.

Looking on with pride from an accompanying boat is Edzra Bin Iskandar, Bedok South Secondary School’s Head of Department for PE and Co-Curricular Activity (CCA).

The lifelong outdoors enthusiast believes in giving his students challenging activities as a way to forge character and pick up skills like teamwork. “There’s nothing like being in a difficult situation for people to learn to work together,” he says. In doing so and overcoming obstacles, they gain confidence and self-esteem.

He is convinced this is the way to give Normal stream students a leg up in life, which is why he selects them for the coveted programme run by the Singapore Sailing Federation, which can only take 20 students from his school.

“Hopefully, they are able to transfer this learning experience back into the classroom. If they have overcome difficulties at sea through teamwork and resilience, when they face difficulties in their studies, they can find it within themselves to bounce back,” Edzra says.

He also recommends such activities as a way to direct students’ energies in a positive direction. “Kids crave adventure, risk. If you don’t provide adventure, they create their own and that is where trouble begins.”

Indeed, the teacher of 20 years has observed drops in absenteeism, late-coming and disciplinary cases after every outdoor programme he organises.

SPREADING THE WORD
Edzra’s love for the outdoors is so strong that after graduating with a degree in Biology from the National University of Singapore, he packed his bags and went to work in Nepal as a mountain guide for a year. He got the offer through Nepalese friends he made while trekking there as an undergraduate.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

He then returned to Singapore and became a PE teacher, leading several cohorts of students in playing all kinds of sports. But his heart was still with outdoor adventures. So he was thrilled when, 10 years into the job, he was invited to join MOE’s Co-Curricular Activities Branch to help craft an outdoor education curriculum for all schools.

Implementing it, on the other hand, proved challenging. Up to that point, PE and outdoor education were considered quite separate activities. The former was usually conducted within the school, and centred on exercise and physical games. The latter involved survival skills, activities like hiking and climbing, and was the preserve of outdoor adventure camps run by specialists. Now, the two were coming together.

“Unlike myself, PE teachers are traditionally more sports-inclined. Outdoor education, adventure, and risk are not things most PE teachers are comfortable with,” Edzra explains.

So he spends a lot of time training his colleagues. Besides those in his own school, he conducts seminars and programmes in the East.

“I had to help my colleagues see the outdoors as a meaningful way to educate students. Once this is done, half the battle is won.”

For Edzra, winning the battle has involved bringing two teachers from his school on a three-week hiking holiday in Tasmania with his family. He has also formed teams of teachers to participate with him in the Mount Fuji Trailwalker hikes. This is an annual 100 km walk over 48 hours to raise funds for charity. It involves walking within sight of each other through the night, taking breaks of only 15 minutes every 10 to 20 kilometres.

In addition, to help parents understand the importance of outdoor education, Edzra has been involved in organising Parent-Child bonding activities such as Night Walk to Labrador Park, Dad and Child cycling trips and Parent Support Group Coastal Cleaning to Chek Jawa. During these trips, he would come up with simple guides to help parents hone their facilitation skills, so that parents can engage in meaningful conversations with their children. Through Edzra, the school was able to level up parents’ understanding towards outdoor education.

One of the things he hopes to impress on the PE fraternity is a lesson he picked up in Australia, when he was there for his Masters in Outdoor Education: “In Singapore, the attitude is that if there is a hazard, we remove it or go around it. In Australia, if there is a difficulty, the attitude is to develop the students’ ability to overcome the difficulty.

“Nature is a very nasty teacher,” he says. “That’s why it is the best teacher.”

APPRECIATING NATURE
Beyond the adrenaline rush and a sense of achievement, Edzra also believes that a large part of outdoor education is nature appreciation.

This is why his hikes, camps and kayaking sessions also involve side activities like photography, bird watching and sketching. Or it could also be getting his students to observe the amount of floating litter as they paddle along Singapore’s coasts, and encouraging them to think about what they can do to protect the environment.

Edzra does the same with his own children, aged 11 and 9. He makes sure there are other children around when he takes them hiking. “They remember the hike because of the friendships they make. Hopefully, in the future they will relate the outdoors to fond memories and the outdoors will then be a positive experience. Reflection is important to nurture love for the outdoors,” he explains.

Edzra is lucky his passion is fused with his professional work. It has led him, together with others, to lay a strong foundation for outdoor education in Singapore.

He says with satisfaction, “Outdoor education has improved. All schools have camps now. Things are going in the right direction, not evenly, but going forward. It is better than before. Before, my task was to persuade schools to use outdoor education. Now, it is to help by building up the capacity of the teachers.”

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Dr Lim Yi-En
Senior Head of Department
National Junior Colege

The language
of connections

Lim Yi-En doesn’t just want her
students to speak eloquently,
she wants them to be able
to connect confidently
with different audiences.

“ To connect with your audience, you can't assume that they have the same knowledge you do ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Dr Lim Yi-En

“Although not one of my academic teachers, she has helped me with my Language Arts subjects as I was quite weak in this area. While most teachers just give you the answers to such passages, Dr Lim taught me various techniques on how to analyse questions and structure my answers in a succinct way. She has also boosted my self-confidence.” — Jacqueline Tan, Secondary 4 (Integrated Programme)

Lim Yi-En is an English language teacher, but you wouldn’t know it from stepping into her classes.

One day, she could be getting her students to examine the issues facing senior citizens, pulling together health and science research, social implications, and emotional factors in their analysis and arguments.

You may even find her using algebraic equations to help students understand the basic rules of the English language such as tenses and sentence structure.

Yi-En does all this because she believes that language, as a means of communication, pervades all disciplines.

The next, she could be asking them to interview elderly relatives on how Singapore has changed over the years, for historical fiction writing. The purpose: “I want to give them a sense of what they have inherited, what they are stewards of and where to go from here. I also wanted the children to reconnect with the people at home.”

CONNECTING WITH AUDIENCES
But language is about connecting with listeners and readers too. Even as she incorporates other subjects into her English language lessons, she advises her students to never assume their audiences share their knowledge, and to tailor their language accordingly.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

She gives the simple example of the butterfly garden in the school, which she started with another colleague to promote better ecological awareness among her students.

To keep the garden looking its best, the gardener would spray the plants with an insecticide which killed the caterpillars Yi-En was trying to cultivate. She explained to him that these caterpillars were key to the garden’s success. So he avoided them the next time, but continued spraying everything else, keeping the butterflies away and killing the developing pupae.

“The gardener didn’t quite understand the life cycle of butterflies,” Yi-En explains, acknowledging that she could have done more to prevent the miscommunication.

She uses this anecdote to encourage her students to develop both the vocabulary and instincts to be confident in dealing with the many types of people and situations they would encounter in the future.

They need to be able to connect with their audience to know what information is required at a particular time. “A scientist will be more concerned with the numbers and the facts. The lay person may need just a basic understanding of the subject being discussed. So students need to know what information is required by their particular audience and how to present it in the most appropriate way,” she says.

“The English language that our students learn in school is just one variety of the language, but it is not the variety that is suitable for use in every context. They need to be equipped with enough different varieties so they are ‘operationally-ready’ anywhere.”

SPEAKING UP AND THINKING MORE
Yi-En finds that getting her students to voice alternative viewpoints can sometimes be quite a challenge. Some of them have been conditioned to speak only when asked a question, and many are hesitant to voice a contrary opinion at the risk of offending their friends.

So she tells them: “no-one is going to take offence if you direct your query at the information, and not the person,” and helps them phrase their points more delicately.

Another issue Yi-En grapples with is her students’ attention spans. Because teenagers spend plenty of time on social media and instant messaging, they rarely have to read beyond a sentence at a time. This affects their ability to digest more complex information.

“Often they can’t process more than a few words at a time and they can’t hold a thought for long,” she says. “When they look at questions, they pick up a few key phrases and in their own minds, they make up the question. So their answers may not address what the question actually requires.”

To counter this, she slows down in class and spends time helping students analyse and understand the questions in their assignments. This way, their responses become more accurate. Yi-En takes this effort even though she acknowledges “it is not natural for this generation to go slow”.

She shares these methods with her colleagues, working with them to develop lesson plans to help students think strategically while processing the information being taught. “I’m focused on how they can work critical thinking into their lesson plans – being the focal point of the lessons, rather than just being incidental.”

She wants to turn her students into confident speakers and users of English. “Like I always tell my students — language is a vehicle without which you can’t go anywhere.”

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Ms Yeo Li Yong
Head of Department
Singapore Chinese Girls' School
 

Letting
Experience be
the Teacher

Geography teacher Yeo Li
Yong doesn’t protect her
students from making
mistakes – she knows they
can learn from them and
get even better!

“ I tell my students, results are not as important as doing what is right ”
Ms Yeo Li Yong

Ms Yeo is very energetic, jolly and passionate about Geography. She is very encouraging at cohort activities. When she notices my friends have been working hard, she gives affirmation and encourages them to work harder. — Cheryl Yong, Secondary 4 2017 (now Year 1, Eunoia Junior College)

Yeo Li Yong’s students were planning a song-and-dance item to entertain residents of an old folks’ home. They intended to play the music from one of their phones, and asked her if the home had a speaker to amplify it. It had, and she told them so. Satisfied, they left it at that.

The Singapore Chinese Girls’ School Geography teacher knew that the girls had missed questioning her about the connection to the speaker, but deliberately kept quiet.

True enough, during the visit, the students tried to pair both devices using Bluetooth, only to realise that the speaker was not wireless. They panicked briefly, but improvised by putting a microphone to the phone.

“Many of them identified this as a failure. I had to step in to tell them it is okay. But I also asked what they would do about it the next time,” Li Yong says.

On their next visit, they brought a laptop which could connect to the speaker with a cable.

Li Yong wants her students to succeed. But she also recognises that mistakes can be powerful learning opportunities. She hopes her students see failure as a precursor to success, and not the end of the world.

Members of the school band, of which she is in charge, once wrote her a 16-page proposal for a camp. One of the activities was the screening of videos to expose participants to different music genres.

 

On the day of the camp, however, they realised they had forgotten to secure a laptop, and ended up asking Li Yong if they could borrow hers.

“They had a magnificent proposal, but fell short in the execution,” Li Yong recalls.

She asked them for an alternative, if they could not use her laptop. They abandoned their original plan and suggested playing a game instead. Their learning point? Sometimes, the solution to a problem may be to change the plan completely.

 

A PEOPLE FOCUS
Reflecting on such incidents is just one way in which Li Yong prepares her students for life. The newly-appointed Head of Department for Humanities hopes each student can “develop an appreciation of the humanities, have a love of people, view multiple perspectives, appreciate how the world is multifaceted, and live as a better person.” She emphasises the human component in Geography during her lessons. In teaching her students about flood control, she helps them see the larger scheme of things. Instead of treating a canal as a utilitarian means of channelling flood water, she asks students how they might want to apply landscaping so it can enhance the environment for people living near it.

Li Yong also believes strongly in giving students an awareness of context and multiple points of view. For class projects, she makes it a point to ask her students to conduct interviews, as she hopes it will make them appreciate that people have feelings, opinions and perspectives. If her students have to manage or make policies one day, they can be more empathetic.

“I’m teaching them a lifelong approach not to look just at the content, for example, of a policy. Context – the people affected – is also important. They need that perspective,” she explains.

 

INDIVIDUALISED
ATTENTION

While these are things Li Yong wants all her students to learn, she also takes a targeted approach in helping each of them.

She put a prefect, whom she describes as “the shy, obedient kind”, in charge of organising a carnival. In co-ordinating the activities of the different classes for the event, the prefect picked up organisational skills, learnt teamwork and developed her leadership skills.

She counselled a top student, whose only ambition was to score 90 marks all the time, to take a broader view of life. “I had many one-on-one sessions with her. She began to realise people were looking out for other things, not merely high grades. I told her, character is more important and that decisions are grounded on values,” she says.

Then there was the case of some girls who were quite rude to teachers, did not hand in their homework, and even walked out of the classroom.

Li Yong worked with their parents to understand why they acted in this way. She learnt that one of the girls was highly intelligent but had no discipline to study and coveted attention, but it was just a phase.

“She learnt the value of discipline. I did manage to impart some values to her.” relates Li Yong.

Academic excellence or character formation? The bottom line for Li Yong is clear: “I tell my students, results are not as important as doing what is right.”

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Landscape in Singapore

One of the key roles of the polytechnics and ITE is to equip students with industry-relevant and work-ready skills in order to prepare them for jobs in a wide range of economic sectors. Looking back at Singapore’s history, as our economy developed, skills training had to be conducted in tandem with evolving industry trends for the workforce to respond nimbly to market changes. To meet the training needs of our workforce, the five polytechnics and ITE were set up over the years to spearhead technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Singapore.

The polytechnics and ITE offer a comprehensive range of programmes in a variety of sectors. These programmes adopt an industry-focused and practice-oriented curriculum that blends theory with application.
Industrial attachments have become an integral part of the curriculum over time, to allow students to gain valuable on-the-job experience.
Course offerings equip students with skills that are versatile and adaptable to the evolving needs of the future economy.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are emphasised to give students an entrepreneurial outlook and build their awareness of opportunities in emerging growth areas.

Teaching in the Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Preparing Students For The World Of Work

Educators in the polytechnics and ITE play a big part in preparing their students for the future. Educators do not adopt a single approach, or a fixed set of methods to train students. Instead, they experiment, refine and share their experiences with the community of educators within and across the polytechnics and ITE. Their lessons are designed to engage students in their course of study, and encourage them to apply their learning at the workplace and to give back to society.

To continually enhance their students’ learning experience, educators in these institutions stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments. Some also further their studies or take on courses to deepen their own skills in teaching, and some go on industry attachments, epitomising the spirit of lifelong learning.

SkillsFuture

The SkillsFuture movement, a national movement to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop to their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points, has a significant impact on our education landscape and workforce. Educators in the polytechnics and ITE play an important role in this movement. They guide their students in their education, training and career choices and what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Educators in the polytechnics and ITE also contribute to the development of a high-quality system of education and training that caters to those already in the workforce. This includes training workers who wish to upgrade and deepen their skills to expand their job scope, or take up job opportunities in other industries. With the transformation of our economy, training needs will keep evolving and take on different forms. The role of our educators will become more important than before.

Our educators in the polytechnics and ITE are critical pillars of our TVET system. Their selfless dedication and commitment to maximise the potential of every student is a key reason behind the success of our institutions. As we look ahead, we are confident that our educators will take our TVET system to greater heights.

Mr George Teo Keng Ann
Course Chair, Business Innovation and Design
Singapore Polytechnic
 

Teaching Like
A Game Show
Host

Marketing maven George
Teo uses design thinking
to bring out the best
in his students.

“ Don't give up on any student. Anyone is able to achieve their own path ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Mr George Teo Keng Ann

“He brings out the best in us. He sees the EQ test results and knows, for example, that a student has no confidence and is not stepping up. During tutorials, he will bring the student out of his comfort zone and encourage him to answer questions, and challenge him to give presentations to the class. He takes notice of every single student and makes sure we are doing their tutorials. And we remember the things he teaches, because he is very passionate about his subject.” — Justin Lee, Diploma in Business Administration graduate from Singapore Polytechnic

Pondering how to capture his students’ attention in their marketing course, George Teo suddenly had a great idea. He was a die-hard fan of the reality television show MasterChef. So why not conduct his class like a game show?

“The students never know what to expect,” said the Course Chair in Business Innovation and Design at Singapore Polytechnic. On a particular day, they may have to do a “marketing relay” where they take turns to run to a board and write down answers to questions.

On another, they may have a mystery test, with a task given to them in a sealed envelope. It could be devising a plan to sell lollipops in India. They are not allowed to use Powerpoint to present their ideas — they have to draw them out by hand.

“I want them to learn how to be creative. They must realise that a picture speaks louder than words. And when they start drawing, there is a lot of energy going on,” George says.

They may also be called upon to “Create Your Own Cake”, where they have to design and build a mock-up of a cake. George tells them that it is for a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. The students then get to ask only three questions to help them determine the right details for the perfect cake.

“I want them to ask the right questions so that they can come up with the meaning of the cake. You don’t sell the product. You sell the meaning of the product,” George explains.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

The main learning point he wants his students to take away from this is that “the presentation and the story are very important, because they show whether you really understand the customer’s needs and wants”.

IT ALL BEGINS WITH EQ
The origins of George’s unique approach can be traced back to a much more sombre period in his life. In 2011, his father passed away suddenly. Soon after, his mother was diagnosed with dementia. His life turned upside down, and he knew he had to do something about it.

Singapore Polytechnic was then looking for an EQ coach, and he volunteered. After the year-long training, George found that he became more self-aware and better able to navigate his emotions, particularly when it came to managing his mother’s condition. This improved their relationship.

These experiences served him well as teacher, too. “I was looking at some of my students and realised they looked like I did, seven years ago. They had no energy. I had a sense of déjà vu.”

George did EQ profiles of 200 students.

He found that many of them had low confidence levels, and did not know what path they wanted to take in life.

He decided to work with them to develop a programme to help address these issues.

George is proud of the fact that the students themselves came up with the activities for the programme and even the name itself. “We held a co-creation session at the beginning on what to call the programme. I wanted something about being superheroes but my students told me, ‘Cher, we want to be our own heroes!’”

And so, Be Your Own Hero it was.

After each session, George would debrief the participants and link the learning points back to their EQ test results.

During one such debrief, a student told him that his “sky was black”. He wanted to be a football player, but a very bad injury meant that he could not pursue his dream career. George gradually guided him to the idea that he had to do something with the rest of his life.

The boy went on to graduate and today, he continues to send his former teacher messages such as “Today my sky is blue” or “My sky is red”.

George is encouraged by this. “Now there is colour! Things like that motivate me to keep doing more.”

DESIGN THINKING IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
Beyond the classroom, George is also bringing design thinking to the workplace. In an ongoing project with NTUC, sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board, he works with people from the hotel industry to uncover skills gaps in the sector.

The traditional approach would be to form focus groups of hotel staff and ask them about their skill gaps. Instead of this, George created personas and encouraged a hundred hotel employees to visualise for themselves what their job scope would be like in 10 years’ time, and where they see the skills gaps are.

The key finding was the impact that digitalisation is expected to have on the industry.

Explaining the importance of the process, George said, “Instead of us telling them that digitalisation is important, through this exercise, they are the ones who say that digitalisation is very important. And they are the ones who come up with solutions, such as doing analytics to find ways to improve customer service.”

As he had proven in the classroom, empathy and design thinking are very powerful tools. “The buy-in is different. The participants themselves realise that digitalisation will disrupt their work, and that they will have to do things differently.”

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Ms Tan Lay Khee
Manager, Academic Development
Temasek Polytechnic

Prescription:
Role Play

When it comes to teaching
pharmacy students, realism
is the name of the game
for Tan Lay Khee.

“ (On facilitation) I need to sharp enough to see whether my students are getting relevant information and are understanding the information and are understandings the information they have obtained ”
Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.
Ms Tan Lay Khee

“She is so thorough. When we ask questions, she knows the answers like the back of her hand. Wow, she knows so much. That’s what I like about Miss Tan.” — Nikhil Tarun, Year 3, School of Applied Science, Diploma of Pharmaceutical Science

As a pharmacist by training, Tan Lay Khee knows the ins and outs of the trade. She understands that the most important skill for the job is not having all the facts at one’s fingertips — not especially when they can be easily found online.

The true secret is being able to speak to people. Only by being able to ask the right questions to find out the condition of a patient, can one come to a sound decision about the medication to recommend.

Her time as an undergraduate prepared her well for this, through role-play with coursemates.

But when it came to teaching the same thing at Temasek Polytechnic years later, Lay Khee was less certain. The Manager (Academic Development) had strong reservations about introducing it as a form of assessment for her students, as it could prove more stressful a test than even a written exam.

“I decided to give it a try. But knowing there would be challenges, I thought about how to get buy-in from the students,” she says. “When I introduced it, I explained that it would not be easy, but it was essential. It is not sufficient if they remember the facts and excel in a pen and paper exercise. They must be able to communicate, process, and decide.”

To ease them into the transition, she gave students ample opportunities to practice with each other, and recorded those sessions on video. “They found it very useful,” she says. For instance, several did not realise they were committing fundamental errors like not making eye contact, until they saw themselves. “This helped them identify their strengths and weaknesses,” Lay Khee explains.

Even then, she found that students regularly came to her after a role-play session to ask how they fared. She wondered why they were not aware of the quality of their performances, and felt they could become overly reliant on her.

So she introduced self-assessment. She told her how they would be marked: what actions would score points and how many; how the content of their interventions would be judged.

She herself would demonstrate how to do this assessment by inviting a volunteer to role-play with her in front of the whole class, then dissecting the volunteer’s performance.

It took some time for her students to get used to this. “Sometimes they thought they didn’t do well because they were nervous. When that happened, I gave my own assessment, highlighting what they did well such as maintaining eye contact.”

When they pick up the skill and can tell her what they have done right or failed to do, she feels fulfilled.

KEEPING IT REAL
Lay Khee has also livened up her classes through Problem-Based Learning. After learning about this pedagogy in a course, she applied it to her Introduction to Pharmacotherapeutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology subjects. She was the first in her former department to do so.

She took authentic cases and repackaged them for students to research and discuss. As with the role-play, she deliberately leaves out information in the original case scenarios to train her students to look out for information gaps and fill them by asking relevant questions.

“I need to be sharp enough to see whether my students are getting relevant information, and are understanding it. To know the treatment, they need to know what is wrong with the body’s system.

For example, they need to know that the watery stool in diarrhoea is caused by the big intestine not performing its job of reabsorbing water,” she points out.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Please click here to the video.

This approach makes her classes stimulating and enlightening for her students. One of them says, “In her lectures, it was not like I’m studying, it was like I’m learning. I want to learn more.”
 

TEACHING LIFELONG LEARNERS
Lay Khee also conducts evening classes for the Specialist Diploma in Biopharmaceutical Technology. Her adult students are either people from industry who are seeking to upgrade their skills, or others who have no background but are exploring a career switch to the biopharmaceutical industry.

To cater to both audiences, she first spends time explaining the fundamentals to the newcomers, at the expense of boring the knowledgeable ones. Then, she rewards the latter by engaging them in problem solving. At this stage, the struggling newcomers gratefully receive impromptu tutorials from their more experienced classmates.

In her evening classes, there are usually latecomers. Again, she has to strike a balance — between penalising those who are punctual and doing right by those who cannot make it on time for valid reasons, such as work commitments.

So she starts her lectures on schedule, and puts up course material on the web for the latecomers to read on their own. She also stays back after class to entertain queries about what they missed or do not understand.

Lay Khee has just finalised a report on research she has been conducting into students’ self-assessment across various disciplines at Temasek Polytechnic. Funded by the MOE Tertiary Education Research Fund, she is proposing a framework for selfassessment that she hopes can be shared with other polytechnics.

Her strategies to enhance her teaching are set to extend far beyond her classroom.

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Sunarto@
Quek Siaw Miang

Senior Lecturer ⁄ Senior Manager
Ngee Ann Polytechnic

How to talk
to computers

Sunarto demystifies coding
for his Ngee Ann Polytechnic
students by getting them
to talk to each other
— as if they were
computers.

“  I learned that when you teach, you must also let them (the students) do ”
Surnato @ Quek Siaw Miang

“In Year 1, I was so scared because I didn’t have a background in computing, but Mr Sunarto made it easy for us to learn, and he made it fun. He told us to imagine that the computer is a robot. You have to talk to the robot like a baby and use only key words. And so he makes it simple. And he will repeat a thousand times and even make time outside of class to explain things to us. He sparked the passion for computer programming in me and once the passion is there, everything seems easier.” — Nurul Fatimah binte Iskandar, Year 3, Diploma in Electronic & Computer Engineering

How do you help your students discover meaning and relevance in a digital blip, or in a piece of computer code? These are some of the questions Sunarto grapples with as a senior lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Engineering.

He teaches the Diploma in Electronic & Computer Engineering course in the very same faculty he graduated from in the 1980s — what he considers “the heyday of engineering”.

Students were highly motivated then, he recalled. “At that time, electronics was something you could ‘see’. We could relate what we studied to our surroundings.”

He and his course mates would buy electronic hobby kits from places like Sim Lim Square and People’s Park and build their own radio sets, or open up a television set just to examine what was inside. “Now it’s all hidden, and students find it hard to relate to electronics.”

Sunarto believes it is important to reestablish this lost connection to make electronics relevant and meaningful for his students again. “A person will do a task well if they find meaning in the task, if it is relevant to them,” he says.

“And at the same time, the task must also help them master their skills because if they keep doing it and do not improve, they will give up.”
 

AS SIMPLE AS A GLASS OF WATER
It seems much harder to do this for something as abstract as a computer programme, but Sunarto has figured it out.

He simply asks his students to think about how they will give instructions to someone to pour a glass of water.

“We don’t have to ask humans to get a cup. We understand. You can’t do that with a computer. You must say, ‘First get a cup. Then bring the cup to pour a glass of water’,” he points out. “To do computer programming, you need to think step by step. The sequence must be correct.”

He gets the students to give instructions to friends. It is only when they are able to do it the way one would give instructions to a computer that they go on to do the actual programming.
 

LEARNING BY DOING
Over his 25 years of teaching at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Sunarto’s teaching style has evolved. “I thought to be a good lecturer, I had to know my domain knowledge very well and had to be able to explain myself to the students,” he says. If students did not understand, they could go to the library to read up more.

But over the years, he found that students did not necessarily pay attention even if he explained everything thoroughly in class.

So he delved into pedagogy and youth psychology, reading up on the subject and attending workshops online, including one on learning how to learn.

His biggest takeaway: “If you just watch or listen, you will not get the skill to do something. So in my class, I introduce a lot of small exercises so that the students can ‘do’ things.”

So when teaching a concept like looping – where commands in the program lead to endless repetition or loops – Sunarto would give them questions of increasing complexity to lead them to learn.

He explains: “If I tell you one thing, the understanding is narrow. If I don’t give you other things to confuse you, you are not growing. So I give them different scenarios and if they can understand the basic principles, no matter how things change, they can do it.”
 

BUILDING DISCIPLINE AND TRUST
As a teacher, Sunarto emphasises that “teaching and learning is not just about the student sitting there. It also involves a social element, trust, and building a relationship.”

Sometimes, this relationship involves discipline. In his first lesson with any class, he always lists down the rules they need to obey. For example, the students cannot be late. Once they are late for a minute they are marked as absent. And they cannot use the phone in class.

This may lead to some disgruntled students in the first lesson, “But lesson by lesson they see that I am really trying to help them to learn. After a while, they know my sincerity”.
 

BEING STRICT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE IS RIGID
He recalled once having a group of aerospace students who were very noisy. He split them up in class so that they would not have the opportunity to talk to each other. But then he realised that “while the noise was not there anymore, they were not learning”.

“This group of students couldn’t learn without talking. They talked about all kinds of things, but often it’s really about schoolwork. So if they were quiet, I could teach well. But if they are not learning, what is the point? So I got them to discuss things more, so they could engage in peer instruction and peer learning.”

“If something works now, it does not mean it will work the next time,” Sunarto says. “As educators we need to reflect on the current situation. If a student is not learning, we cannot just say, ‘Last time it worked’. We need to change.”

 

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Joshua Yeo Thiong Joo
Programme Chair, Diploma in
Consumer Behaviour and Research

Republic Polytechnic

Putting the Heart
into Business

Joshua Yeo is grooming his
students to take social
enterprises in Singapore
to the next level, with
business and IT know-how.

“ We can't focus solely on teaching. We have to look forward to make sure they (out students) have good jobs waiting for them ”
Mr Joshua Yeo Thiong Joo

“It was wonderful having Mr Yeo as my teacher. He was an inspiration and he was always on the lookout for opportunities where we could work closely with corporations and VWOs for our projects and internships. This groomed us for the challenges of the real world and it has helped me define what I am truly passionate about.” — Graduate Veronica Low, 23, who hopes to teach young Cambodians from rural areas some business skills to prepare them for a wider range of possible careers.

To help a visually-impaired student understand an economics concept, Joshua Yeo once printed a graph for her using a Braille printer. But he was not satisfied with it.

“I closed my eyes and tried it out myself,” recalls the Republic Polytechnic lecturer. “It was difficult to detect the lines showing the different values. I wanted something more tactile.” So he stuck some pieces of raw spaghetti on a board to represent the graph. It worked much better.

It is this resourceful, inventive streak of Joshua’s that helped him to contribute to the course in social enterprise management that caters to the demands of this emerging sector in Singapore.

He proactively sets aside time to meet with companies and social enterprises to ensure that his students have a range of opportunities to gain industry exposure and experience. “When we first started there were only a few companies that would offer internships for our students. Now I can easily get a handful or more to step forward,” he says.

 

He observed that many social enterprises and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) are keen to expand their operations and are looking for more talents to join them, particularly in key areas such as marketing, social innovation and data analytics.

“We provide our students with a business diploma that covers all these critical areas with an emphasis on social enterprise. Our tagline is ‘Business with a heart’,” he says.

Joshua scouts for opportunities to expose his students to real-world challenges. One project that RP has embarked on is with the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) on public perceptions of the local social enterprise sector.

The students spent time formulating the survey questions before going out to collect the data. They also assisted in analysing the results. “This was one example of authentic learning which makes all they had studied come alive,” notes Joshua.

In another service-learning project, his students worked for seven months on the rebranding of the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. They also helped organise one of its key outreach events, “Dining in the Dark”, which has attracted up to 200 diners at one sitting.

 

NEVER A CLOSED DOOR
Joshua finds it easier to understand his students by drawing on his own experiences. He once had a final-year student who was starting to fall behind. Her attendance was spotty and she was often late submitting her assignments. Joshua found out that she had some family issues and had to work part-time to make ends meet. These distractions eventually affected her studies.

He shared with the student how he too had to work and support himself financially, while he studied hard to retake an examination subject. After some failures, he persevered and was successful.

“I know how difficult it all seems – I can see the problems through their eyes as I was once there myself. One failure doesn’t close the door,” he says.

When she failed one of the course’s key modules, Joshua continued to mentor her and spoke often with her family to get their support. The student persevered and graduated a semester later.
 

NEW HORIZONS
With social enterprises gaining traction in Singapore, Joshua regularly meets with companies and VWOs to understand their needs and aspirations. He shares his takeaways with his students so they can be better prepared and hit the ground running after their graduation.

“We can’t focus solely on teaching. We have to look forward to make sure that they are work-ready after the time spent in the classroom. So we try to be a bridge between our students and the workplace,” he explains.

 

Still, he feels that the social enterprise market in Singapore is too small to sustain continued growth. However, he continues to empower students to take ownership of their learning and career development, despite the other threats of technological developments and disruptions at workplaces.

But this will present a new range of challenges, with students having to acquire emerging skills such asdigital marketing, e-commerce and the instinct to recognise untapped entry points into new markets.

“I am looking to see how we can incorporate these emerging skills into our curriculum while maintaining a problembased learning approach in our teaching.”

 

But Joshua is undaunted. “It’s not going to be easy but it will be exciting,” he says with confidence.

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Dr Tan Wah Pheow
Section Head, Centre for Applied Psychology
Temasek Polytechnic

Tough educator
with a soft heart

Tan Wah Pheow worked hard
to set up Temasek Polytechnic’s
Centrefor Applied Psychology,
and expects a lot from his
students. But he is alsothe first
one to protect their interests.

“ It took me a while the formula. I had more initiatives that failed than suceeded but through the failures, I managed to figure out the way ”
Dr Tan Wah Pheow

“Dr Tan’s enthusiasm for Behavioural Insights influenced my perceptions of the world around me. It allowed me to see more possibilities in life, as well as helping me gain a deeper understanding of psychology. — Benedict Leong, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Year 3, Diploma in Psychology Studies

Halfway through his PhD in Psychology at Iowa State University, Tan Wah Pheow was struck by a nagging thought: what was the point of doing intellectually stimulating research, if it did not benefit the world?

polytechnic’s efforts in engaging the industry. In the area of behavioural science, he observed a gap between academic research and practical needs on the ground.

When he returned to Singapore in 2009, this thought led him to decline pursuing post-doctoral positions for a position at the then-newly established Diploma in Psychology Studies course at Temasek Polytechnic.

“It was something new, and I thought I could contribute,” he recalls.

And so he did, marrying his vision of practical, applied research with the

He felt that polytechnic lecturers, such as himself and his colleagues, were well-positioned to undertake the task of translating theoretical research into practical programs or services that could benefit the industry.

Leading his colleagues, they approached industry partners for applied project collaborations that would heavily involve their students. These included helping

Dyslexia Association of Singapore streamline their parental screening checklist and working with Saint Andrew’s Autism Centre to identify gaps in their clients’ transition from school to day activity centre. The students delivered, and industry partners’ confidence in their capabilities grew. Over time, they built up a solid reputation.

The team’s efforts were eventually rewarded with the setting up of the Centre for Applied Psychology, which serves as a platform to engage industry partners in external projects for student training and staff development.

Wah Pheow also advocated for an ethics committee to vet all projects involving human participants before students or staff undertake them. “This is important as I wanted students to learn that there is an ethical aspect in conducting behavioural science projects,” he explains.

DEMANDING, YET CARING
He brings the same high standards and clear thinking to supervising his students’ work. They may nickname him “slave driver”, but they know they benefit from his scrutiny.

When drafting surveys, he always asks the students to ideate and propose more items than necessary to train them. Similarly, when analysing data, he will get students to perform additional analysis to better understand their findings, sometimes encouraging them to learn new statistical tests in the process.

Wah Pheow is aware that he pushes both his students and his colleagues, believing that they can develop themselves to be better people. At the same time, he also takes care of their welfare by making sure students can complete their projects efficiently without sacrificing much of their social life.

Sometimes, he even asks students or his colleagues to take a “timeout” if he feels that they are working too hard. He shows his care for students in small ways, such as turning the lights on for students studying in poor lighting, treating the occasional snacks, or even taking a few minutes to chat with them about their lives.

He also tries to build a community, linking up current students with alumni whenever he can. This includes helping current students seeking internship opportunities or getting students in universities to help their incoming juniors from the same diploma, or even organising simple social events for students from different cohorts. Graduating students also get an insight into different career paths open to them from alumni whom he invites to share their career paths and experiences.
 

THE WAY AHEAD
Wah Pheow himself keeps close to the ground, feeling the pulse of the industry. He foresees that behavioural insights and design thinking, which have already caught on in sectors such as public service and healthcare, will become the next big thing in social service in three or four years’ time.

He also sees potential in developing digital solutions in social service delivery and special needs education, but feels that the developed digital solution should have a human-centred focus.

He wants to tweak the curriculum to incorporate elements of these trends so his students will be ready when they are widely adopted. By keeping the curriculum well ahead of the curve, Wah Pheow hopes his students can continue to be in tune with industry needs and stay as assets to their employers long after they graduate.

He is proud of feedback from industry partners that Temasek Polytechnic graduates add value and can immediately contribute to ongoing programmes. “I feel we are doing something right,” he says.

Meanwhile, alumni of the Diploma in Psychology have told him that the most useful part of their polytechnic education was going through the rigours of project work. From it, they acquired a variety of technical skills, and also soft skills such as time management and effective communication.

The students’ projects are also useful to the wider community. Besides the social service industry, other sectors have benefited from projects such as using behavioural insights to nudge adolescents into making better decisions about their health.

But nothing signals the relevance of their work as much as a social media post of a former student. She shared that the dementia café programme that she had helped to pilot six years ago, with the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, for her final year project turned out to be a place that her grandmother currently enjoys.

 

 

Back to Finalists
Download PDF

Mr Khalid Bin Kassim
Senior Lecturer-Mentor,
Mechanical Engineering

Institute of Technical Education (College East)

An oath to
succeed

For veteran mechanical
engineering lecturer Khalid
Bin Kassim, nothing motivates
students likegetting them
to believe inthemselves
and each other.

“ It’s not the skills we impart but the shaping of attitudes — that’s the most important part ”
Mr Khalid Bin Kassim

“He helped us bond as a class and use all we had learnt to help others. All the things we learnt become real in this outreach programme, it’s not just theory anymore. We have the skills and now we are using it to help someone, a classmate, a friend. It makes us all feel good and want to study harder to pick up new skills so we can help even more.” — Muhammad Faiz, 25, Higher Nitec in Mechanical Engineering, ITE College East

His class roster reads like a local casting for the Hollywood movie Dangerous Minds – students who had failed repeatedly, some never bothering to show up for lessons or even examinations, the disheartened, the disillusioned and a sprinkling of troubled youths who simply have nowhere else to go.

Still, Khalid Bin Kassim remains undaunted, believing that the past is the past, and the start of a new school year is a chance for a new beginning.

One of the first things every student has to do on Day One is to write out on a card his goal – what he wants to achieve from this course and how this is going to help him in his future career. Students have to carry this card with them every day for the next two years.

They then have to take an oath, a simple promise to themselves that they will work hard towards achieving the goal that they had just set for themselves.

“At first they may laugh and joke about how melodramatic this all sounds, but I want them to realise that they can succeed and it is really all up to them.”

And as the laughter dies down in the classroom, Khalid hopes the seeds of hope and conviction will begin to take root.

Describing the first three months as a difficult tug-of-war of wills, he says: “If I just focused on teaching, I think I would have lost all of them at the very start. You have to win them over – convince them that they are worth something and they can succeed.”

Khalid shows them slides of former students who were also troubled like them, but performed well in the course and went on to secure good jobs. If they remain unconvinced, he brings the alumni into class to speak with them directly. These former students share their experiences on how they did well in their studies despite previous failures and difficult family circumstances. “This helps to open their eyes and makes them want to change,” he says.

He gets the older students, who are more mature and have some work experience, to act as Big Brothers to their younger classmates. They help to stand in for Khalid to offer their support and encouragement both inside and beyond the confines of the classroom.
 

INVESTING IN SELF-BELIEF
Beyond all the encouraging talk, he helps them put the skills they have acquired in their mechanical engineering course to good use by repairing the homes of coursemates who are in financial difficulty in a programme he devised called the Student Home Outreach.

In this voluntary after-school activity, the students would help the family of a needy classmate by fixing electrical appliances in their homes, helping with plumbing problems or even mending furniture under Khalid’s expert guidance.

According to Khalid, fostering this tight kinship where each student can rely on the others for help when they need it is half the battle won.

But sometimes it’s also the little things that help to reinforce the self-esteem of his students. In his classroom, birthdays are

always celebrated in a big way. The other students take it upon themselves to not only design a card and sign it but they will go out on the campus to collect well wishes from many other students, faculty members and even the director himself. “It just makes everyone feel good and needed as a family,” he says.

Being an educator for more than 30 years, he knows that getting the support of a student’s family is important. “It is a tripartite framework – educators, parents and the student. Most of the parents have been supportive but sometimes, especially in a single-parent home, the parent needs encouragement too. So it’s always a hard struggle not just for the student but oftentimes, for his family as well.”

At the age of 59, Khalid still clocks in the long hours meeting up with his students when they need a word of encouragement or some extra coaching. “Sometimes when I get home, I’m totally drained and my wife would just shake her head. She would know it was another tough day.”

With impending retirement just a few years away, Khalid has no regrets about his chosen profession despite the mental and emotional toll it has taken on him. “It’s not the skills we impart but the shaping of attitudes – that’s the most important part. Teaching is a passion and we have a social responsibility to intervene and try to help our students however we can,” said the father of four. His two older children, inspired by his example, have followed in his footsteps and become educators too. For this, Khalid could not be a happier man as his legacy of shaping a new generation lives on.

There was once a student who was diagnosed with dyslexia, and thought of himself as the black sheep of the family. Having failed his national examinations repeatedly, unlike his siblings, he was ready to give up on his studies when he entered Khalid’s class. While Khalid encouraged him to try harder and believe in himself, his classmates too rallied around the boy, never allowing him to wallow in the negativity of self-doubt. Fast forward two years, and the student graduated with top marks, much to the surprise of his family members.

This is just one success story that Khalid has seen replayed time and again. While he knows that the journey will always be a long and difficult one fraught with uncertainties, he firmly believes that no student needs to walk it alone.

President's Award For Teachers
Past Award Recipients

1998

Mrs Lim Tai Foon
St. Hilda’s Primary School

Mrs Geetha Creffield
Anglo-Chinese Junior College

1999

Mrs Juliana Donna Ng Chye Huat
Nan Hua Primary School

Mr Wilfred Philips James
Dunman Secondary School

2000

Mrs Ng Peng Huat
Nan Hua Primary School

Mrs Caryn Ann Leong
Ping Yi Secondary School

Mdm Tan Liang See
The Chinese High School

2001

Mrs Chin Ngan Peng
Kong Hwa School

Mrs Nora Teo
Punggol Primary School

Mr Lim Chiow Huat
Broadrick Secondary School

Mrs Audrey Ting Yee Han
Nanyang Girls’ High School

2002

Mdm Stefane Tan Hugue Hwan
Meridian Primary School

Mdm Tong Wai Han
Ang Mo Kio Secondary School

Ms Koe Heong Yin
The Chinese High School

2003

Mdm Long Miaw Ying
Jurong West Primary School

Mrs Kheng Samuel nee Chua Mui Yee
Lakeside Primary School

Mrs Roger Teng Siok Fun
North View Secondary School

2004

Ms Goh Siew Hong
Admiralty Primary School

Mrs Pramageetha Velmurugan
Huamin Primary School

Mr Koh Cher Hern
St. Hilda’s Primary School

Mdm Rabiathul Bazriya
Compassvale Secondary School

Mdm Ranjit Singh
Pasir Ris Secondary School

 
 

2005

Miss Lim Siew Gek
Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School

Mdm Noorismawaty Bte Ismail
Jin Tai Secondary School

Mr Chew Tec Heng Edwin
Sembawang Secondary School

2006

Mdm Bong Fui Lian Shirley
Montfort Junior School

Mrs Tan Swan Liang Doris
Temasek Primary School

Mr Nur Johari Salleh
Deyi Secondary School

Mrs Goh Hui Cheng
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary)

Mr Sulaiman Bin Mohd Yusof
Sembawang Secondary School

2007

Mdm Yip Jee Cheng Jessie
Mayflower Primary School

Mdm Parameswary d/o Sundar Rajoo
Montfort Junior School

Mr Yeo Leng Quee
Peirce Secondary School

Mdm Norlita Binte Marsuki
Sembawang Secondary School

2008

Mrs Ong-Chua Li Ling Eileen
Haig Girls’ School

Mrs Lee Kok Hong
Temasek Primary School

Mrs Lim-Ng Yee Ping Diana
Coral Secondary School

2009

Mr Terry Tan Chee Liang
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

Miss Cardoza Sharon Ann
Farrer Park Primary School

Mdm Wong Lai Fong
Anderson Secondary School

Miss Lucy Oliver Fernandez
Catholic High School (Secondary)

2010

Mdm Emelyn Soon Bee Hong
CHIJ (Kellock) Primary School

Mr Devindra Sapai s/o Indrasapai
Seng Kang Primary School

Miss Teh Wan
Townsville Primary School

Mrs Mohana Eswaran
Regent Secondary School

President's Award For Teachers
Past Award Recipients

2011

Mdm Chua Mui Ling
Woodlands Ring Primary School

Miss Serene Han Tui Kin
Montfort Junior School

Mdm Dianaros Bte Ab Majid
Haig Girls’ School

Mr Chong Jack Sheng
Woodlands Ring Secondary School

Mr Ganesan s/o Raman
Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary)

2012

Mdm Anwara Khatun d/o Moklis Khan
Haig Girls’ School (Primary)

Ms Koh Su-Cheng
Da Qiao Primary School

Mdm Tan Ying Fong Irene
Telok Kurau Primary School

Mr Gejendran s/o V Krishnan
Geylang Methodist School (Secondary)

Mr Yap Boon Chien
Tanjong Katong Girls’ School

2013

Mdm Shakila Jamal Mohamed
Da Qiao Primary School

Mdm Chee Mui Choo Valerie
Xinghua Primary School

Mr Lee Beng Wah
Bedok Green Secondary School

Mdm Lee Yee Tyng
Hougang Secondary School

Mdm Lim Chye Ling @ Nurul Huda
Kent Ridge Secondary School

Mdm Chan Puay San
Innova Junior College

2014

Mdm Lim Yen Peng Linda
Chongzheng Primary School

Miss Rezia Rahumathullah
Da Qiao Primary School

Miss Sim Lucy
Guangyang Primary School

Miss Wong Yoke Chan Wendy
Geylang Methodist School (Secondary)

Dr Muhammad Nazir Bin Amir
Greenview Secondary School

 
 

2015

Dr Tay Lee Yong
Beacon Primary School

Mdm Tauled Tunisha Bte Mohd Paser
CHIJ (Kellock) Primary School

Mdm Safidah Bte Samsudin
Da Qiao Primary School

Mdm Halimah Bte Jumaha
Bedok South Secondary School

Mdm Tan Dai Hwee
Anderson Junior College

Mr Muhammad Salahuddin Bin Ibrahim
Serangoon Junior College

2016

Mdm Juliana Bte Johari
Qihua Primary School

Ms O Guat Bee
Temasek Primary School

Mdm Tang Sheng Lien Michele
Catholic High School (Secondary)

Mr Anil s/o Vasudevan
Marsiling Secondary School

Mr Tharmendra Jeyaraman
Siglap Secondary School

Mdm Phoon Lyvenne
Spectra Secondary School

2017

Mr Jahangeer Bin Mohamed Jahabar
Endeavour Primary School

Dr Ow Yeong Wai Mang
Henry Park Primary School

Mr Djohan Bin Abdul Rahman
Bishan Park Secondary School

Mdm Lim Hwee Sian
Cedar Girls’ Secondary School

Ms Kwa Lay Ping
Singapore Polytechnic

Ms Asrina Bte Abdul Samad
Institute of Technical Education

Acknowledgements

Our sincere thanks to the following people who made it possible to share these wonderful stories:
 

Mr Wong Siew Hoong, Director-General of Education
For your guidance and inspiration to the fraternity

Communications and Engagement Group, MOE
For collaborating on the stories and design of this publication

Principals
For recognising and affirming inspiring role models in your schools and institutions

Teachers
For supporting your colleagues and fuelling their passion

Parents
For acknowledging the efforts of our teachers in bringing out the best in your child

Students
For showing appreciation to your teachers who care for you

 

 

Copyright © 2018
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
SINGAPORE

All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the copyright owner.
Images used herein belong to their respective copyright owner.
The views in this book are expressedly those of the individual contributors.