Kelvin Yew, 32, a General Paper teacher at Millennia Institute falls into the category of “great teacher”.
His performance at school had led to him being nominated by three of his Third-Year students for the annual Inspiring English Teacher award.
The award is given to outstanding English teachers who have been played a strong role in motivating their students to master the English language. This year, a total of nine teachers received the award, including Yew.
So what formula did Yew adopt in his teaching that has made him an inspiration?
“There is no fixed way to teach English,” said Yew. “You need to engage the students, teach in different ways, crack jokes and also conduct group activities to keep them on their toes.”
Yew’s out-of-the-box teaching style has helped keep students like Atikah, 19, a current Third-Year student in Millenia Institute, engaged with the lessons.
”Mr Yew always comes into the lesson with new things to share with us, to keep us engaged and interested in the subject,” says the student.
Yew also employs the use of media and new media to better illustrate his lessons. One of his recent initiatives led to his students’ letters being published in The Straits Times’ YouthInk section, and their thoughts being aired on 938 Live during a campus forum.
“Still, they did not have good argumentative skills,” said Yew, which he emphasizes very much to his students in learning the language.
Yew believes that part of mastering the language requires being able to argue one’s case, which would mean one has built up the ability to be understood, whether in speech or in writing.
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To develop these skills, he encouraged his students to inculcate the daily habit of reading the newspapers and even online blogs, at least to have opinions on relevant global and social issues.
Over time, his efforts have paid off as most of the graduated students that have entered university and are doing well in terms of language.
But in closing, to all other teachers who still find teaching a struggle, Yew has this to say.
“The pure motivation for teaching must come from within — wanting to give into the lives of the students. In your lessons, students are given a chance to speak good English, a chance which some of them may never have at home.”