Teachers honoured for inspiring students

Ten teachers were presented with Inspiring Teacher of English Awards in a ceremony at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday. Pictured are (from left) Dr Lim Yi-En of National Junior College (Integrated Programme), Mr Marc Kenji Lim of Catholic J
Ten teachers were presented with Inspiring Teacher of English Awards in a ceremony at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday. Pictured are (from left) Dr Lim Yi-En of National Junior College (Integrated Programme), Mr Marc Kenji Lim of Catholic Junior College, Ms Dionne Chow Xin En of Serangoon Junior College, Mrs Tian Cheen Ngee of CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School (Secondary), Madam Shagun of Mayflower Secondary School and Ms Yogeswari Elangovan of Tanjong Katong Girls' School. The other winners are Ms Ilavarasi Sekaran of Cantonment Primary School, Ms Arafah Tajudin of Eunos Primary School, Madam Suzanna Hashim of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) and Mrs Tina Ng of Xingnan Primary School.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

They dug deep into their arsenal of tricks to help students develop a love for the English language

From using lyrics of a Stefanie Sun song to draw parallels between 19th century New York and Singapore to creating floor-to-ceiling walls covered with English tips, 10 teachers used an arsenal of tricks to help their students develop a love for the language.

Last night, they were handed Inspiring Teacher of English Awards in a ceremony held at the National Museum of Singapore.

The accolades recognise outstanding teachers of English language, English literature and the general paper this year.

Seven won the Teaching Award while three received the Leadership Award, which recognises heads of department, subject or level heads or coordinators, who led their schools in developing and putting in place effective English language programmes.

The winners were chosen from a pool of more than 50 nominees.

Among them was Ms Dionne Chow Xin En, whose general paper classes at Serangoon Junior College involve students using their smartphones to research issues then debate them.

"A rich classroom is one with two-way interaction," Ms Chow, 30, said. "When I teach GP, I see the tremendous value of the subject - how it develops not only the capacity of a person to speak and write, but also to think.

"I see how it allows people to take on different perspectives and to form an opinion based on an informed judgment."

At Xingnan Primary School, fellow winner Mrs Tina Ng, 52, its head of department for English, said all pupils from Primary 3 and up learn about current affairs through weekly newspaper reading periods.

On Tuesdays, there is no assembly and pupils head to class directly to spend half an hour reading Little Red Dot, The Straits Times' newspaper for primary schools.

Now in their eighth year, the awards are presented jointly by the Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times, and are supported by the Ministry of Education.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Education, who presented the awards, said: "The secret of inspiring a student is when a teacher connects with a child as an individual, as a whole person.

"When this happens, learning becomes something much more than diligence and attentiveness in class. The whole child becomes submerged in learning as a life experience."

The chairman of the Speak Good English Movement, Mr Goh Eck Kheng, said: "When teachers help their students acquire a good command of the English language in school, they are also laying a firm foundation for the communication skills which their students need to forge their own careers. Your efforts today are investments into their lives."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Teachers honoured for inspiring students'. Print Edition | Subscribe