Mr Patrick Goh is constantly on the lookout to recognise student’s efforts and positive behaviours. Each time he hears a good story of a student exhibiting virtues or the 7 Habits, he would put up the story on the level’s noticeboard to motivate other students to emulate the behaviour. Together with the Assistant Year Head, Mr Victor Lim, he also started the 7 Habits Excellence Awards to recognise his students with a unique collar pin and a certificate.
As Year Head for Middle Primary, Mr Goh sets high expectations for his students by requiring high standards of work, behaviour and self-discipline. At the same time, he provides a high level of support to ensure that his students are able to meet up to the expectations.
“Each morning, I check on the students’ attendance, follow up closely on those who are absent and check on their well-being when they return to school. During recess and lunchtime, I go down to the canteen to connect with the students. Such frequent conversations help to build stronger teacher-student relationships.”
2 years ago, Mr Goh started a Supervised Study Programme for some Primary 3 and 4 students outside the usual remedial schedule. He roped in the Middle Primary teachers and brought in student mentors from tertiary institutions to supervise the students and engage them in activities that would develop their social and collaboration skills. The programme was so well-received by the students that those not initially targeted for the programme requested to join in. The students became more motivated, felt more connected to the teachers and were able to experience greater academic success. Peer relationships were also strengthened as students helped one another and bonded through the activities. Due to the success of the Supervised Study Programme, it was then extended to more groups of students.
Mr Goh, who was formerly a Head of Department for Science, embraces all types of learners and is always enthusiastic about experimenting with new ways to engage the different groups of students. He started two level interest areas for Primary 3 and 4 students – Makerspace and Visual Arts. He believes that creativity and curiosity are key ingredients for success. To bring out such natural qualities in the students, Makerspace education gives the students a chance to invent and create, while Visual Arts expands a child's ability to interact with the world around him and provides new skills for self-expression and communication.
Last year, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, he partnered a GovTech Service Designer to run Design Thinking projects for students in the Accelerated Programme to Enhance students’ eXperience (APEX). To excite the students, they issued this note: “You have been selected to work on a MISSION to create a FUTURE Blangah Rise Learning Campus.” They conducted six virtual Zoom sessions for the students. The students formed groups to look into four aspects of future school – Green BRLC, Learning BRLC, Inclusive BRLC and BRLC Community. Through the project, they developed the socio-emotional competencies required of Design Thinking – empathy and resilience. They learned how to craft meaningful interview questions and carried out interviews with their peers, teachers and parents to truly understand what the “end user” wanted.
Reflecting on the rich learning experience they had created for the APEX students, Mr Goh shares, “We want learning to happen everywhere, not just within the four walls of the physical classroom.”
Mr Goh believes in building strong partnerships with parents. He reaches out to parents through his termly level letters to parents, face-to-face meetings, emails and phone calls.
One parent wrote, “I have confidence in you and your colleagues to handle the issues the children have been facing. Thank you for supporting my child; we are grateful for this. Keep up the good work.”
For his efforts and contributions, Mr Goh was awarded the 2020 LEAP Award, which stands for “Listening Educator for Advancement and Progress Award”. The award was launched by the late former President S R Nathan in 2011 and awarded by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan annually to recognise exceptional teachers who have made a positive impact in nurturing their students from the heart.
Mr Goh has this to share with all educators: “Each student is unique in his or her own ways. We need to take the time to know and understand them. Each child wants to be heard and wants our attention. When we affirm students’ efforts and positive behaviours, they will strive for excellence.”