Having spent my childhood in Africa in a family of tailors and crafters, my philosophical outlook can best be summed up by the word “Ubuntu” which means “I am because we are”. I believe that one can not educate the mind without first accessing the heart.
I bubble over with excitement when sharing creative undertakings. I inspire and motivate students to take ownership, direction and responsibility for their learning. I foster in each child a love for meaningful, lifelong learning. I provide learning opportunities for students to become independent, autonomous learners in order to gain resilience, knowledge and essential life skills. I create a sense of awe and wonder about art, creative thinking, collaboration, investigation, innovation and risk-taking within the classroom. This, in turn, spills out into the school environment and the wider community.
I actively encourage my students to experiment, to be curious, to make mistakes and try again. These skills equip the child to think critically, holistically, beyond boundaries and out of the box with creative solutions. This flexibility of the mind is important for the child’s future; for the jobs, we and they have not yet envisaged.
My classroom can be best described as a safe space that values process orientated activities which create opportunities for self-discovery and authentic meaning. I scaffold and differentiate the students learning so they may find “flow” in their practice and the grit to master their creative thinking behaviours. I advocate and encourage student voice and choice. I model and provide timely and meaningful feedback through open and honest discourse. I consistently provide opportunities for the students to honour “thinking time” and reflection. I teach using the game and project-based learning method. I use real-life situations that are interwoven with thoughtful play and problem-solving to teach creative thinking behaviours as well as artistic technical skills. This cultivates curiosity, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, reflection and grit. These are seven future skills that I believe every student will need in order to be successful in the dawn of Artificial Intelligence.
My curiosity and love for learning have provided diverse opportunities for me to give so back to the school community beyond the classroom. Having previously taught in a school Special Needs with emotional behaviours disorders, I specialised in teaching teens that needed extra care and attention. I have become fascinated with how to prevent social and emotional problems rather than fixing them. My curiosity has led to further research on the neuroscience of the adolescent brain and Positive psychology. I love to share my knowledge with others through the lens of Positive Education.
As technology is developing I have become a “geek” who loves to tinker and learn anything digital. I am an Apple Educator and Google Level 2 Educator. Currently, I am tinkering with Augmented Reality and Cinema 4D.
I have an innate gift of staying calm when there is chaos around me. You will often see me juggling many plates with a big smile on my face. My growth mindset and ability to see other perspectives, allows me to be flexible. The ability to navigate social and process patterns easily, coupled with my deep social intelligence has led me to be involved in many planning committees and leadership roles over the years.
I believe that modelling prosocial behaviours encourages others to do so, therefore, I have been the co-lead of an Action and Service club, “Global Issues Network” (GIN). We have been a very successful club in middle school and have recently expanded into the High School. Additionally, I am the co-founder of the “Singapore International Artist Collective”. We are a not-for-profit arts-based collective of international artists based in Singapore aiming to build a community of artists who connect, create and collaborate through art.
Teaching is where I find my “Flourish and Flow” and I want to help others find theirs. If I could have one wish as a teacher it would be that my students take away with them the curiosity to experiment with creative thinking behaviours, the compassion to authentically follow Ubuntu and the confidence to foster a lifelong love of learning.
Ubuntu and my teaching philosophy
“Ubuntu”, translated into English means “I am because we are”. Ubuntu expresses the interconnectedness, compassion and the responsibility of individuals to each other while building and maintaining communities. The Ubuntu Culture is at the core of my teaching philosophy. My teaching praxis embodies seven Cultures of C’s.
The culture of Compassion, Care and Kindness (to others and one's self):
It costs nothing but the outcomes are inestimable. I am a strong advocate for social and emotional learning (SEAL), positive education and Well-Being practices. I believe it is crucial that we integrate these strategies into every aspect of learning to educate the whole child, not merely facets of an individual.
The culture of Curiosity and Challenge:
I provide students with a series of age-appropriate, authentic, inquiry opportunities to become independent, autonomous learners to gain resilience, knowledge and essential life skills. I inspire and motivate students while scaffolding their learning so that they can take ownership and agency of their education.
The culture of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
I actively encourage students to problem solve, experiment, to be curious, to make mistakes and try again. I am a strong advocate for Project Based and Inquiry Learning. The skills learnt from Project-Game-Based and Inquiry Learning equip the student to be curious, think critically, holistically, beyond boundaries and out of the box into creative solution finding. This flexibility of the mind is vital for the student’s future.
The culture of Collaboration and Interconnectedness:
The class should be a safe and supportive environment for every student so that they can have the confidence to explore, experiment and learn through collaboration and learning communities. I create a sense of play and curiosity about collaborating, investigating, innovating and risk-taking within the classroom; which should in turn spill out into the school environment and the wider community.
The culture of Creativity and Innovation:
It is crucial that I nurture and weave a creative thread through every student. Creativity and innovation matter and should be shared and celebrated. When students engage in creative and innovative activities, their soft skills and Meta-cognition develop. They learn about socialisation and formulate individual passions.
The culture of Choice and Ownership:
I value and respect student voice and agency. I believe that by promoting a culture that encourages student voice, I am supporting students to be authentic and have agency over their learning. In turn, fostering in each student positive learning habits and a love for lifelong learning.
The culture of Citizenship and Community:
I reinforce positive relationships and collectively create a learning community that extends beyond the school walls. It is crucial that we teach our students how to be respectful, culturally sensitive and responsible global citizens, even better, to be Global leaders, working for this world, not in the world.