Thursday 18 October 2012

9 Teachers Awarded the Inspiring Teacher of English Award 2012

They use tools as varied as YouTube, philosophy and technology in class
By Matthias Chew, The Straits Times, 17 Oct 2012

FUHUA Secondary's head of English, Mr Jared Quek, believes all students can write well - as long as they have a clear mind that thinks through the issues at hand.

So he introduced thinking skills and moral reasoning into his upper secondary English language classes - and won the Inspiring Teacher of English Award yesterday.

He was one of nine winners of the award presented by the Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times. The award, in its fifth year, recognises teachers who use innovative methods to improve students' English.

Mr Quek, 31, said his fusion of philosophy and English works - even in classes for academically weaker students.

His classes discuss topics like racism, the plight of street children and animal rights, a move he said was inspired by American educational reformer John Dewey and the Indian freedom fighter and poet Sri Aurobindo.

He said: "Even the Normal (Academic) stream kids are able to do it with enough guidance and patience. Once they do it, their writing is vastly improved."

Mr Quek's Secondary 3 student Howard Wong, 15, gave his teacher the thumbs up: "In the past, I was mainly getting Cs. After Mr Quek took over, I've been getting Bs and As. It's due to the clarity of the way he teaches."

Five of the winners teach in primary schools, while the other four teach at secondary level. They were chosen from a pool of 63 teachers nominated by students, parents, or other teachers.

At a ceremony yesterday at the National Library, the nine winners received their certificates from Senior Minister of State for Education Lawrence Wong.

Mr Wong noted that the teaching of English is particularly challenging because of the complex and diverse language environment here. Not all students grow up speaking English at home, he said, and even those who do may not be exposed to good English.

"So our English teachers have to be skilled practitioners, with a wide repertoire of teaching methodologies to suit the variety of abilities and learning styles within the classroom."

Some of the award recipients deployed technology in the classroom to get students to learn to love the language.

For Mr Muhammad Ahmad, 28, the video-sharing site YouTube "is my best friend". He uses music videos by pop stars like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars to help his Sec1 students at Tanjong Katong Girls' School understand that a narrative should be structured.

He said: "It's more engaging, since it's stuff they like to watch. And with visuals, they can see how a story plays out."

Technology also helps the shy ones speak up. Another winner, Eunos Primary teacher Rosvinder Kaur, 29, uses software that allows her pupils to record videos of themselves reading and speaking, to boost their confidence in using the language.

Other recipients of this year's award are: Ms Ignatia Wong, 47, from Yu Neng Primary; Ms Fong Wee Miang, 45, from St Hilda's Primary; Ms Jacqueline Yeo, 47, from Nanyang Primary; Ms Charissa Chan, 39, from St Margaret's Primary; Ms Chia Hui Ping, 30, from Nanyang Girls' High; and Ms Solastri Suyot, 48, from Tanglin Secondary.

Each received a trophy, a certificate and $2,000.

Said Ms Wong: "This award will motivate me to move ahead and work on even more innovative programmes for my pupils."

No comments:

Post a Comment