Mr Michael Robinson (31 October to 11 November 2011)
AST’s 2nd OEIR
In November 2011, Mr Michael Gordon Robinson came as the 2nd OEIR. He was awarded the 2010 award for the National Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Social Studies Teacher, as well as the 2010-2011 Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator of the Year Award (Tennessee Holocaust Commission). He had also travelled to Prague, Vienna and Korea for conferences and research.
During his attachment from 31 October – 11 November, opportunities were provided for Mr Robinson to hold professional conversations with AST Geography Subject Chapter members, and staff from Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD) and the National Institute of Education (NIE). He also visited schools, and conducted a lesson on ‘Mental Mapping and Tourism’ with a class of Secondary Three Geography students. Master Classes for teachers were also conducted on ‘Food Resources, Health & Diseases’ which are the new topics in the revised Geography syllabus.
During the Master Classes, teachers were able to learn about useful and innovative pedagogies and resources for teaching the topics in the revised Geography syllabus. These topics include Health and Genetically Modified Food. Teachers experienced different hands-on activities and were provided with lesson templates which could be used in their classroom teaching to make learning more engaging for their students.
Mr Robinson also conducted a ‘Mental Mapping and Tourism’ lesson with a class of Secondary Three Geography students from Woodlands Ring Secondary School. About 10 teachers from Woodlands Ring Secondary and some cluster schools attended the lesson too. He used interactive activities to engage the students, and the feedback from the students was encouraging. Through this lesson, the teachers also gained a greater insight in ‘Mental Mapping’, a tool used to find out about the students’ perspectives and knowledge about the world.
During his attachment in Singapore, Mr Robinson also conducted a plenary session titled ‘Google, Starbucks, and Elvis: Transforming Social Studies Teaching for the 21st Century’ during the Academy Symposium on 10 November 2011. He shared his perspective of teaching in the 21st century, and got teachers to reflect on the pedagogies they used to promote engaged learning in their students. He also promoted the use of ICT in teaching.
Mr Robinson has indeed created a positive impact through his interactions during his two- week attachment in Singapore. Many teachers had been impressed by his passion for the subject, the wide range of resources which he willingly shared with them, his excellent communication skills, and his genuine interest in learning from teachers about the Singapore education system.