Teachers awarded for inventive ways in bringing current affairs to classrooms

(Clockwise from left) Ms Tan Woon Foon, Mr Wang Yao Chang Melvin, Ms Ho Min Yu Mavis and Ms Bek Su Ling were presented with the inaugural Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Innovative Educators Award on Monday (Aug 28).
(Clockwise from left) Ms Tan Woon Foon, Mr Wang Yao Chang Melvin, Ms Ho Min Yu Mavis and Ms Bek Su Ling were presented with the inaugural Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Innovative Educators Award on Monday (Aug 28). ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Four teachers received the inaugural Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Innovative Educators Award at the SPH Education Symposium 2017 on Monday (Aug 28).

The award recognises teachers who have found inventive ways in the classroom to hone their students' current affairs knowledge and life skills using the news.

Ms Mavis Ho of Pasir Ris Secondary School and Mr Melvin Wang of Rosyth School received the award for how they used news from The Straits Times, while Ms Bek Su Ling of the School of Science and Technology, Singapore and Ms Tan Woon Foon of Teck Whye Primary School were recognised for how they incorporated news from Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao in their lessons.

Pasir Ris Secondary School was one of the schools that tested out the pilot version of NewsEd, a new portal launched by SPH that supplements news articles with learning activities for students.

As a history and English teacher, Ms Ho, 27, asked her students to reflect on the current affairs issues they read about on NewsEd through multiple avenues, such as discussions, essays, or even class debates.

Mr Wang, 32, the subject head of social studies and national education, was inspired by The Straits Times' News in a Minute feature, commissioning a similar activity in his classes where students had to write and present 60-second videos based on local or global news stories.

He said: "Social studies emphasises active citizenry. Complemented with our school's motto of being ready to serve, I wanted to focus on how students could give back to the community and this had to start from an awareness of modern society."

The topic of preparing and engaging students in current affairs was a key talking point during the symposium, which featured a panel that discussed the importance of students knowing how to critique and evaluate news.

In his keynote address, guest of honour Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education also touched on how students currently faced challenges in navigating a virtual world with an influx of information.

"We need to develop a new skill in our education space of dealing with this information, in curating it adequately, for them to make sense of it, as they go from primary to secondary school," he said.

This award is one of the first events of the new SPH Innovative Educators Programme, which seeks to eventually build a community of educators that use news resources to change the way students learn.