General News

Hwa Chong Educator Conferred Inspiring Teacher Award

15 Oct 2018
General

We extend our heartiest congratulations to Dr Audrey Cheong Su-Wei (Senior Consultant/Corporate Services) who has been awarded the Inspiring Teacher of English Award (Junior College Category). This award is a national award for English teachers in Singapore schools that acknowledges teachers who ignite a love for the English language and are effective in helping their students speak and write accurately. It is presented by the Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times, with support from the Ministry of Education.

Dr Cheong’s sense of purpose as a General Paper tutor comes from seeing herself charged with the responsibility of nurturing in the next generation the critical habits of mind necessary to participate thoughtfully and fully in democratic discourse. This is evident in a student’s nomination of her for the award:
               “While there were no right or wrong answers, Dr. Cheong encouraged us to think critically, and to think for ourselves, never just absentmindedly agreeing or borrowing someone else’s opinion for convenience. Furthermore, we were encouraged to continue thinking about questions that we may not have arrived at conclusions to in class. Enquiry, after all, is not a destination, but the journey there.”

Dr Cheong’s passion for the subject is driven by her teaching philosophy which is:
               “…underpinned by the simple belief that what we do in the classroom matters because it has a ripple effect on society. Who we all become as individuals, the identities we take on as citizens of a shared community, and what our societies will become are written within classroom walls. Every single day that we step into the classroom is another opportunity for the teaching fraternity to teach from an authentic sense of self, to advocate knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and to construct more enlightened societies.

               I believe the use of language lies fundamentally at the heart of understanding our world and our place in it. Just as language shapes our thoughts, so too does our worldview alter with the ability to articulate various frames of reference through which we see the world more brightly and less polemically. This comes primarily from appreciating linguistic nuance. Indeed, the General Paper classroom is just one of the ways in which I see myself charged with the responsibility of nurturing in the next generation the critical habits of mind which support dignified discourse, reasoned rebuttals, and responsible language use.“

Emphasising the importance of innovative pedagogies in the classroom, Ms Judy Tan (Principal Consultant 2/English) remarked that:
               “While a skills-based approach to GP is systematic, there is always the danger that students apply advice only as demonstrated or acquire only real-world knowledge. This is where Dr Audrey Cheong draws from her wealth of knowledge to breathe life into GP and the English language. She shares that she would draw her classes’ attention to poetry and prose she knows to be accessible to even novice readers. Such exposure allows her to encourage eloquence and delve into the definitive developments in eras past whose influence can be discerned in present-day concerns. While it requires a fair amount of effort to enthuse those who may not be intuitively attuned to nuanced language use or what the humanities reveal about man and civilisation, it is a challenge Dr Cheong works at surmounting.”

In addition, Dr Chung Wen Chee (Deputy Principal/Corporate Services) attests to her care and concern for her students:
               “Dr Audrey Cheong breathes life in her students, motivating and strengthening their self-belief….With her immense knowledge of current affairs, she is often referred to as "an encyclopaedia, dictionary, newsroom”. With research as her other forte, she encourages her students to pursue their passion and dreams and explore the world.”

From Left to Right: Dr Chung Wen Chee (Deputy Principal/Corporate Services); Dr Audrey Cheong; Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Finance and Education; Mr Jason Leow, Chairman Speak Good English Movement.

For further details on the winners of the award, please refer to: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/9-teachers-recognised-in-11th-edition-of-the-inspiring-teacher-of-english-award

and

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/english-teachers-who-spur-critical-thinking

Photo Credits: Speak Good English Movement

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