Winners of the 2017 Inspiring Teacher of English Award

Speech by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State
 Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education

WINNERS OF THE INSPIRING TEACHER OF ENGLISH - TEACHING AWARD 2017

Primary School Category

Mrs Mumtaj-Menon Ibrahim

Huamin Primary School

“I believe that educating the heart is as important as educating the mind. I enjoy teaching the English Language as it gives me an opportunity to develop confident learners who seek to learn beyond the classroom environment and who will eventually be able to contribute to the community in return."

"At Huamin Primary School, our approach encourages the development of self-directed learners and effective communicators. As digital natives, our students are also versatile in the use of technology to express their thoughts. By leveraging ICT, we can further ignite their passion for English Language as they learn to express their perspectives in writing. As a teacher, I am able to harness this passion and inspire confident lifelong learners for the future.”

Ms Sheela Devi

Temasek Primary School

“My personal philosophy is one that centres on ensuring that my classroom is an environment where pupils can give their opinions, ask thoughtful questions, offer ideas and be themselves. Debate, drama and Literature encourage this. It gives pupils opportunity to think critically and communicate their thoughts and ideas. English lessons then become interesting and pupils a lot more engaged."

"What gives me the greatest joy, is seeing a shy child or one who is lacking in self-confidence, come out of his/her shell to speak, act or conduct a presentation in front of his/her peers. I personally believe that with encouragement and proper support, every child can learn. To me, learning is a process. What is also important is the progress students make. These are things that continue to motivate me.”

Secondary School Category

Ms Michelle Tan Lai Yee

North Vista Secondary School

“The greatest fulfilment in teaching is to have various opportunities to influence the growth and development of a young person, both in and out of the classroom. Every day, life presents different opportunities for me to touch and inspire students. Whether it is in the area of student development or language teaching, I believe very strongly that every student matters. It is because of this belief that I endeavour to make my lessons relevant, enriching and engaging, so that I can ultimately meet my students’ needs. The beauty of English Language teaching is that it allows much room for the development of creativity, critical thinking and global awareness."

"My greatest inspiration all these years has been and will always continue to be my students. They motivate me to constantly seek new ways of engaging them and I am able to hone my craft as a teaching professional because of their openness to and active participation in the learning experiences I plan for them. Together, we co-construct knowledge, explore issues and learn how to use language to communicate meaning. Young people have opinions and ideas and will express them if they are given a safe space. I believe that my role as an educator is to help them find their personal ‘voice’ and help them fulfil their fullest potential.”

Ms Shalini d/o Thanakodi

Boon Lay Secondary School

“The English Language lesson presented as a social experience makes the language interesting and relevant to my students."

"I like to create a safe and fun-filled learning environment where students can grow in confidence and skills as they find their personal voices. I allow students freedom of expression in their journal entries. This enables me to learn from them, and I reciprocate by sharing of my experiences. Co-construction and cooperative learning activities help them gain different perspectives as they come together and share to build on each other’s knowledge."

"I also make it a point to create real-world tasks for teach¬ing Eng¬lish, especially for my low progress learners, so that they see the importance of the English language. For example, I task my Normal Technical students to fill in booking forms for tours and write letters to share their travel experiences. To prepare them for this task, I show them a documentary about a tourist spot. This allows them to simultaneously visualise, build vocabulary as well as develop their listening skills.”

Ms Sophia Yap Cheng Cheng

Bedok South Secondary School

“All learners deserve the best learning experience. I love teaching the English Language because it allows me to design different language experiences for my students. This gives me opportunities to explore different pedagogies to help learners in their language acquisition."

"I want to make language learning relevant to my students because I believe students who attain language mastery will be empowered to express themselves clearly. When I first started teaching English to Secondary 3G, a Normal Technical class, I saw much potential in them. This inspired me to enrich the classroom environment so as to enhance their learning experiences."

"The transformation of the classroom into a print-rich one includes a word wall regularly updated to help students retain words learnt. This has helped low progress learners achieve some success in language acquisition and has given them the confidence to use the language meaningfully.”

Junior College and Centralised Institute Category

Ms Cara Chew Heng Suan

Catholic Junior College

“I firmly believe that all students can learn, especially when they are engaged intellectually and emotionally. I try my best to engage them and get to know them as individuals, because I value them as individuals. I also believe that students need to be metacognitive learners. They should not just be aware of what they know and what they do not. They ought to understand why they learn the way they do. When I make my thinking visible, they make theirs visible."

"I also believe that teachers are lifelong learners. We do not just learn from experts, we learn from our students. My students have inspired me with their resilience, generosity, personal conviction and the intellectual risks that they have been willing to take. I have learned so much from them."

"What makes teaching truly gratifying is seeing students grow in ways that were unimaginable to them, and having ex-students become friends and, eventually, even colleagues.”

Ms Sharon Chan Wei-Lynn

Raffles Institution

“General Paper is an immensely valuable subject that trains students to think critically, evaluate different perspectives, and to take a stand and defend it. For this to happen, the students need to nurture clarity of thought, effective communication, and confidence. I am energised when my students and I discuss, as equals, issues of the day with the aim of finding different ways to frame and find perspectives. I remember a particular lesson a few years back where I adapted the formal debate structure to ensure that everyone in class had a chance to speak. It was thoroughly gratifying to see everyone, even the most reticent student, personally invested in offering well-substantiated views on the issue. As an English Language teacher, I feel an immense sense of achievement when students are able to assess their own or their classmates’ essays, and recommend effective ways to improve, and when they deliver their arguments succinctly and eloquently."

"Education may be a student’s fundamental right, it is, however, the teacher’s responsibility to empower her students to claim that right and leverage on education to achieve great things. I am privileged to be in this position of influence and that drives me to hone my craft, and give my best effort to every lesson and opportunity to impact my students. Despite having taught for 19 years, I am still discovering insights and new ways of teaching my subject. These opportunities to grow as a teacher and individual are precious to me because they drive me to be better at what I do.”

WINNERS OF THE INSPIRING TEACHER OF ENGLISH - LEADERSHIP AWARD 2017

Primary School Category

Mr Edwin Wan Yung Lin

Yio Chu Kang Primary School

“I have always loved teaching the English Language as it allows me to design different learning experiences for my students. As a department, we are also able to create meaningful and engaging school programmes to enable students to both learn the language effectively and come to love the language as well."

"I believe that for students to develop proficiency in the English Language, there must be a consistent reception and production of language that gives students ample language input, collaborative opportunities and platforms for sharing. I particularly enjoy the facilitation process of lively discussions with my students as we dissect topics of interest and current issues through their articulation of thought-provoking opinions and written reflections."

"Creative and unconventional teaching approaches help students to see the relevance of English language in authentic everyday contexts. Such approaches include exposing students to different textual genres, introducing them to inspirational authors and sharing language jokes and puns with them."

"One of the interesting things I have done over the years is to promote reading through storytelling sessions incorporated with magic. It motivates me as an English teacher when I see students read the books recommended at these sessions and are left wanting more!”

Secondary School Category

Mdm Kogilavani d/o Veerappan

Bartley Secondary School

“Every child has talents and gifts waiting to be discovered. As teachers, we play a key role in uncovering these hidden gems. I strongly believe that our students, regardless of their starting point, can be nurtured to reach their goals."

"Through English Language teaching, I bring into the classroom, lessons that not only teach an appreciation for the language, but also provide experiences that allow students to grow as persons of character. The English Language classroom should be a place where success engenders confidence, and setbacks spur greater effort and hope. My lessons always end with students cheering, “English for Life!” I share with my students the belief that achieving proficiency in the language will lead to meaningful relationships and ultimately, personal and professional fulfilment in life."

"I want my students to be effective communicators; unfazed by challenges and driven by a clear purpose. This vision inspires teachers in my school to design meaningful and engaging learning experiences for our students. The work synergy and dedicated efforts of the team has led to better outcomes for our students.”

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