Our warmest congratulations to Associate Professor Christine Lee, Head of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Academic Group, on being the first Singaporean and first Asian woman international alumni to receive the prestigious Teachers College 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award on 11 April 2015! This award has spanned 40 years since its inception in 1975.
Assoc Prof Lee was conferred the award in recognition of her key role in pioneering Lesson Study in Singapore. As President of the World Association of Lesson Studies, Assoc Prof Lee is internationally well-known for her invaluable contributions and tireless efforts in forging best practices in teacher development through lesson study. It also recognises her unyielding dedication and stellar service to the Institute for over three decades.
When reflecting on her humble beginnings as a geography teacher, she never thought that it would be the start of a most rewarding career. “I assumed that I would simply remain as a classroom teacher. I enjoyed teaching a great deal, especially sharing my passion for geography with my students,” she said. Her zest for educating young minds eventually landed her a Fulbright scholarship offered by the Ministry of Education to pursue her Masters degree at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University. After five years at NIE, she returned to the college to pursue her doctoral studies.
Above: Assoc Prof Christine Lee (second from left) together with Prof Susan Fuhrman (third from right), President of Teachers College, Columbia University, and fellow honourees
Assoc Prof Lee’s achievements at NIE has been nothing short of astounding. Over the years, she oversaw the development and launch of several higher degree programmes, the relocation of the School of Arts from the Bukit Timah Campus to the NTU Yunnan Garden campus and founded two academic groups – the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group and the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Academic Group.
She was also involved in many international projects, a particularly eminent one being the forging of the Joint Masters’ Degree programme between NIE and TC.
In her acceptance speech on receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award, Assoc Prof Lee dedicated it to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and added that her study opportunities at Teachers College were made possible with the aid of government scholarships.
Her accomplishments would not have been possible if not for her strong pillars of support. “I have been blessed with many sources of support – my family, my colleagues and my faith. I’m always driven by the fact that what I achieve is not for myself, but for others and for the larger good,” she shared.
Indeed, Assoc Prof Lee’s passion for education is a testament to all of us in the NIE Community. We salute you for your devotion and continue to be inspired to keep chasing our goals and dreams!
This article first appeared in NIE's quarterly publication NIE News in June 2015.