Reflection from Nanyang Alumni Service Award Recipient
Tuesday, 01 December 2015
NIE News, Dec 2015, http://www.nie.edu.sg/nienews/dec15/?q=contents/nanyang-alumni-award-winner-reflection
By NIE Alumnus, Mr Toh Hong Seng, Diploma in Departmental Management cohort of 2004
My time at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, was firstly for my postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at Bukit Timah campus in 1996. In 2004, I did my Diploma in Departmental Management (DDM) course at Margaret Drive. These were very enriching and memorable.
During my PGDE, my batch of Design and Technology teacher trainees was the largest they ever had. The workshop space at the Bukit Timah then was much smaller so the classroom space kept us closer and bonded as well as a class. We had more time to interact with each other. Dr Moo Swee Ngoh was one of my most respected lecturers because she showed me how to be a firm and effective teacher in the classroom. Her lesson on the History of Singapore Education Development left a deep impression on me. The knowledge has helped me to understand the role of education and also influenced my perspective and action as a teacher for all these years.
After teaching for seven years, I was back in NIE Margaret Drive Campus for my DDM course. There, I had the opportunity to go on a self-funded Overseas Visit and Attachment to schools in Perth arranged by NIE. It was an eye-opening experience to know the similarities and differences in the education landscape between Perth and Singapore. During the attachment, I had the chance to observe an inquiry-based science lesson in a primary school and learning community concept in a high school. I also made some good friends during the course and built a good network with my course mates. This has enhanced my work back in school; even today. It has also equipped me with knowledge and skills to lead the Aesthetic, Craft and Technology department.
My pedagogy methods have changed over the years. After teaching for 18 years, the students' learning modes are quite different from the day I joined teaching. In the early years, we were still using chalkboard and overhead projector (OHP). As we proceeded into the millennium, MOE IT Masterplan evolved and improved the teaching strategies in the classroom through the use of computers and laptops. My lesson delivery has changed from writing on blackboard to using digital slides and e-learning portal. ICT has enabled me to design and bring to life lesson and concept that require visual motion.
With the understanding of the PETALS framework, I also specifically design my lessons to cater to different types of students when I step inside the classroom.
My first reaction when I received the news was one of surprise. I was pondering in the back of my mind as to who had nominated me for the Nanyang Alumni Service award.
I feel honoured and appreciated on receiving the award. NTU has recognised and acknowledged my humble service to my NTU Buddhist Society Alumni and volunteer service in prison counselling programme. I am thankful to NTU for giving me this award.
“ I will take every task or encounter as a learning opportunity. I believe in whatever I do or face, I must not give up easily and strive on with diligence. This belief has always helped me to overcome any difficulties or obstacles in life. ”
This article first appeared in NIE's quarterly publication NIE News in December 2015.