Spectra students 'rediscover the joy of learning'

Minister Ng Chee Meng (at right) attending a demonstration lesson, by teacher Muhamad Sabar Adam (at left), with students.
Minister Ng Chee Meng (at right) attending a demonstration lesson, by teacher Muhamad Sabar Adam (at left), with students. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

School supports and builds students' confidence: Minister

The teaching environment at Spectra Secondary School motivates students to learn and provides them with the social and emotional support they need, said Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng during his visit yesterday.

"As I walked around, I talked to students randomly. Almost everyone told me they rediscovered the joy of learning," he said.

"The loving and embracing environment gives them not just the academic learning, but also the social, emotional support and the confidence... to learn."

The school in Woodlands, for students who qualify for the Normal (Technical) stream, had organised a three-day Open House from Tuesday to today.

It was targeted at Primary 6 pupils from schools in the North to experience what learning is like in Spectra.

Pupils from 11 primary schools, including Canberra, Beacon, and Greenwood, visited Spectra along with Mr Ng.

They attended demonstration lessons and visited the school's facilities such as its retail room, modelled on a FairPrice supermarket, and hospitality room, which looks just like a hotel room.

Principal Krishnan Aravinthan said that in the two years since the school started, he has noticed that the students' motivation and self-confidence had grown tremendously. "Our aim is for all our students to access the curriculum in the ITE (Institute of Technical Education) and do well there," he said.

Spectra took in its first batch of students in January last year. Students learn vocational skills such as mechanical servicing and retail services, on top of English, mother tongue languages and mathematics.

Mr Ng said that in time, the teachers at Spectra will consolidate its best practices to share with the education sector.

His visit came two weeks after a Sec 2 student fell to her death at Spectra. It is believed that Shina Adriana Hendricks tried to jump from the fourth to the third floor of a building when she slipped and fell.

Mr Ng said he was saddened by the incident, but did not provide updates on it.

"(We'll) let the school continue its support programmes for the (students) and parents, and... let investigations take its course," he said.

Mr Aravinthan said the school is still counselling students and teachers affected by the death.

"The students... have come to terms with what has happened... As a community, we let them share, express their feelings and thoughts," he said. "Death is always not easy to cope with at their age, but they are learning."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'Spectra students 'rediscover the joy of learning''. Print Edition | Subscribe