Speech by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information, at the NIE Teachers’ Investiture Ceremony at 9:30am on Tuesday 7 July 2015, at the Nanyang Auditorium, Nanyang Technological University

Published Date: 07 July 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Ms Chan Lai Fung, Chairperson, NIE Council

Professor Tan Oon Seng, Director, NIE

Colleagues

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

A very good morning to all,

1.I am very happy to join you at this morning’s Investiture Ceremony, where we welcome 435 graduands of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) to the teaching fraternity in Singapore. This year, MOE has also awarded 36 Education Officers the MOE Postgraduate Scholarships and 6 Education Officers, the MOE Postgraduate Awards to deepen their professional expertise. Please join me in extending our heartiest congratulations to all graduands! Let’s also take a moment to thank all the family members, mentors and supporters of our graduands and awards recipients.

Remembering the Pioneers and Forging Ahead

2.This year, Singapore celebrates her 50th anniversary as a nation. The Golden Jubilee of our nation also marks the 50th anniversary of the Singapore Education Service.

3.We have made great strides in our education system since the first year that Singapore emerged as a newly independent nation. Our pioneer teachers played a pivotal role in establishing a good education system built on sound fundamentals. They shaped nation building by instilling common values in our children in all aspects - moral, cognitive, physical, social and aesthetic or what is termed in Chinese as 德智体群美. All these despite the severe constraints of few teachers and limited resources.

4.The significant contributions of the pioneer educators to the education system have continued to influence future generations of educators like yourselves. We will, and must, continue to nurture our Singapore Teachers and give you our full support to build upon the great work our pioneer educators have done.

Growing our teachers

5.To do this, we will strengthen existing professional development efforts. As Minister mentioned at last year’s Work Plan Seminar, we will make a major qualitative leap in our teachers’ professional development over the next five years. To achieve this, we will focus on high-impact learning and developmental activities.

6.First, we will be providing more opportunities for deeper specialisation for our teachers. Specialisation will help teachers like you to develop mastery over content and pedagogical skills. This, in turn, will benefit our students.

7.I understand many teachers have come together to form subject chapters under the Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST) and to form other networked learning communities (NLCs) to share good practices in teaching. An on-going research project by Master Teachers at AST of 32 NLCs from all levels (Primary, Secondary and Junior College) across 8 subjects revealed that many teachers find that their involvement in the NLCs has transformed their professional practice in instruction. Teachers also reported that their participation in NLCs has created opportunities for them to learn with one another, from one another and on behalf of other teachers in their own schools.

8.MOE is committed to support subject chapters and NLCs to explore new and better ways of teaching, and to provide pedagogical leadership in the different subject disciplines. I urge each and every one of you here to leverage this platform and continue to deepen your expertise and sustain your professional development through participation in the subject chapters and the networked learning communities. For example, experienced teacher leaders in Subject Chapters facilitate professional learning for our Beginning Teachers. In these sessions, they share their wisdom of practice as well as the joys and challenges in their personal journey as a teacher.

9.As a beginning teacher, there are many more experienced colleagues whom we can learn from. In the last few years, many deserving, competent teachers have been appointed as Senior or Lead Teachers in our schools. Together with middle managers, they are a rich source of learning in matters relating to pedagogies and approaches on motivating and supporting our students. Many of you will have the support of specially trained Instructional Mentors to accelerate the development of your pedagogical skills in the context of your school’s profile of students. How much you will learn will also depend on firstly, how intentional you are in your application of learning and secondly, in your reflection of where you have done well, where we can all do better. With your continued growth, we hope that you will eventually be ready to mentor future cohorts of beginning teachers.

Outstanding Role Mode

10.At this juncture, I would like to highlight some of our outstanding graduands who have demonstrated attributes of passion and dedication in their mission for nurturing and educating their students.

11.Ms Soh Shan Shan, a Mother Tongue student teacher from the PGDE (Primary) programme, was able to use creative and a diverse range of pedagogical practices to motivate and engage her students during her final practicum stint. For example, she used self-made props and teaching aids to develop stories that related to the content that was to be taught during the lesson. In encouraging her students to give feedback about her teaching, she created a prop akin to a traffic light so that her students could clip pegs (with their names on it) to either the red, yellow or green lights to indicate the level of understanding for the lesson that was taught to them. For her outstanding effort and performance, she was awarded the NIE Practicum Book Prize.

12.Mr. Ng Seng Chang, a student teacher from the PGDE (Secondary) programme, worked in the software industry for 20 years before deciding to join the teaching service. Despite having a Masters in Software Engineering and taking a pay-cut, he was focused on answering the call to be an educator. His decision to join the teaching fraternity despite the sacrifice was a testament to his dedication to the future generation.

13.These students demonstrate qualities that NIE endeavours to develop in Singapore’s future educators. As you formally join the Singapore Teaching Service, I encourage you to hold fast to the core values and attributes central to the calling for all educators.

Conclusion

14.While I am confident that NIE has prepared you well for the challenges and opportunities that await you as you embark on your career with the education service1 , I am equally confident that you know your need to constantly learn does not end here at this graduation ceremony.

15.I would urge you to constantly learn and adapt to changing job requirements. All of us can learn on-the-job, from your mentors, from your peers, and through formal courses in NIE and AST.

16.As educators, your desire for lifelong learning sets an example for your students to follow. I look forward to your contributions to our nation as you strive to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to you by parents and your students.

17.Today, we are gathered here to celebrate your success, and your choice of a noble vocation. Together, let’s make the next 50 years an even better one for the future of our nation.

18.Thank you.

Footnote
  1. NIE has been ranked among the top 10 teacher education universities worldwide by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) in 2015 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/nus-ntu-among-top-10-in/1811558.html?cid=TWTCNA
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