Mr Cesar Gabriel Seidler is an inspirational and dedicated chemistry and mathematics teacher. With over 35 years of teaching experience in Argentina and Israel, he plays a key role as Science Coordinator in his school, Aloney Yltzchak Youth Village, Israel.
On top of coordinating school-based science activities, Cesar is responsible for curriculum matters pertaining to the Excellence 2000 (E2K) Programme, which is committed to cultivating students’ independent learning and thinking.
For his innovative teaching in school, he received the following awards:
“Award for Originality and Innovation” (2012 & 2013) by the Israeli Centre for Excellence through Education and the Gildor Foundation (USA)
“Excellent Teacher Award” (2012) by the Israeli Centre for Excellence through Education and the Pratt Foundation (Australia)
During his two-week stint at AST (10–21 February 2014), he conducted a science laboratory lesson for Secondary 2 students at Broadrick Secondary and 4 Master Classes for teachers. On top of that, he also participated in a dialogue session with MOE HQ officers of Sciences Branch, Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD), and conducted an inaugural sharing session for HODs.
Science Laboratory Lesson
Cesar took reference from MOE’s Science Curriculum Framework and planned an inquiry-based lab lesson on acids and bases, incorporating all aspects of the Framework. In line with the spirit of inquiry, he introduced the lesson objectives and items required for the experiment, without any prior demonstration. Students were to follow the steps outlined in the worksheet and to observe the resulting reactions of the unknown solutions on litmus paper. Students then arrived at their definition of acids and bases based on their observations of the change in colour of the litmus paper.
What was interesting about his worksheet was how the affective domain was activated through the questions, as well as how the aspects of science in daily life, ethics and attitudes, and science and the environment were also covered in the lesson.
There was a segment for students to write down their feelings and emotions during the experiment. Science lab lessons seldom require students to articulate their emotions, and it was interesting to read the positive comments from the students. They were excited about conducting the experiment by themselves, and wrote that they enjoyed working with their friends to “find the cause of” the change in colour of the litmus paper. This desire to “find the cause” is, to Cesar, what teachers should be nurturing in students: the spirit of curiosity and discovery.
In this two-period lesson, Cesar showed that it was possible to incorporate all aspects of the Science Curriculum Framework. Cesar expressed how thrilled he was to find the guiding principles by which he had been designing and planning his lessons encapsulated and neatly condensed in Singapore’s Science Curriculum Framework.
The focus of the Master Classes was on “Chemical Change”. During his Master Classes, Cesar conducted experiments which challenged textbook definitions of physical and chemical change. Through simple, yet intriguing experiments, Cesar encouraged our teachers to inspire students to think critically, and to challenge textbook definitions. The teachers were impressed by his experiments, and were inspired to think of ways to pique the curiosity of students through similar experiments.
Sharing Session with HODs
Cesar shared with the HODs his educational approach based on the “Apollo 13” mission, and also gave them a chance to revisit their beliefs about education. He highlighted sentences taken from the Apollo 13 movie and encouraged HODs to consider and to discuss how they could be applied in the educational context.
Cesar himself is the epitome of life-long learning. His first language is Spanish, his being a non-English speaking Argentinian. After emigrating to Israel with his family, he then learnt Hebrew in order to teach in Israel. For the OEIR stint in Singapore, he specially took English lessons for six months just so he could communicate and connect with the Singapore educators. Truly, Cesar lives out his beliefs, and his desire to make learning an experience for students is admirable and inspiring. It has been an invaluable learning experience for all who have interacted with him, and it was encouraging to share this spirit of learning with fellow colleagues and students.
For video snippets of his experiments and Cesar’s resources, do visit the Outstanding-Educator-in-Residence group on OPAL.