How Classroom Research Makes Me a Better Teacher
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Learn how Dr Nazir Amir instils a love for learning amongst lower progress students through classroom research
At the recent Graduate Student Conference on 28 October 2017, our Keynote speaker, Dr Nazir Amir shared his story on how doing classroom research has led him to become a more effective teacher, which in turn has had a positive effect on his students’ learning.
A trained engineer, Nazir made the decision to join the teaching profession after a relief teaching stint at Greenview Secondary, where he worked with Normal Technical (NT) students and was inspired to help these students see the potential in themselves. As a beginning teacher who was in search for ways to foster intrinsic motivation and engage his low progress learners in learning academic content in the different subjects, Nazir explored, identified and developed feasible teaching approaches that would work well for them. As part of his research, he developed the ‘Relevant, Appealing and Personal’ (RAP) pedagogical guideline. This guideline provides an additional way to help teachers consider factors to make lessons appealing and relevant not just to the real world, but also to the personal experiences of their students. The enjoyable and meaningful lessons developed through the RAP pedagogical guideline has contributed to the intrinsic motivation and sustained engagement of these students. This has in turn led to them develop positive attitudes towards their studies, particularly in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas.
The RAP pedagogical guideline also became the foundation of a project-based science curriculum Nazir co-developed with a community of teachers for lower secondary NT students. One example from this curriculum is a multi-disciplinary ‘Toy Story-Telling Project’. Through this project, students not only gained content knowledge in the different academic subjects, but were also given an avenue to showcase their creativity and inventiveness, while learning important values at the same time.
Dr Muhammad Nazir Bin Amir is a Master Teacher/Educational Support at the Academy of Singapore Teachers, Ministry of Education, Singapore. As a teacher who actively carries out classroom research, he continuously explores ways to intrinsically motivate and sustain the engagement of low progress students through enjoyable and meaningful lessons. Apart from being invited to present his work both locally and at international conferences, Dr Nazir has also published numerous research articles in international peer-reviewed journals and book chapters.
Dr Nazir has received multiple awards for his contributions to education. He was awarded the President’s Award for Teachers in 2014, the Fulbright Distinguished Awards for Teaching in 2016, the Nanyang Outstanding Alumni Awards in 2016, the Outstanding Physics Teacher Award by the Institute of Physics Singapore in 2015, three NIE Dean’s Commendation for Research Awards in 2012 and 2014, and the ERAS teacher research paper prize in 2013, amongst several others.
Dr Nazir’s interest lies in working with communities of teachers to bring the joy of learning to their students through enjoyable and meaningful lessons.