“Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but life itself” – John Dewey
Ms Esther shares in the belief that education, especially at the Primary level is part of the social process where children learn how to interact with others, treat others with kindness and empathy and to expand their perspective. If you first meet Ms Esther’s form class, one of the questions her students might ask is “How are you feeling joining us in class today?”. Students are also empathetic in class where differences amongst students are respected and celebrated. Ms Esther has created a virtues board for students in the class where students who display various virtues would get a badge, which further highlights the focus on character development in her class.
Ms Esther encourages curiosity as children experience the world and learn new knowledge. During both English and Social Studies lessons, Ms Esther would always remind students that the aim of learning is not to merely acquire knowledge but more importantly, to ask questions. She also firmly believes that children are problem solvers and thinkers who make meaning through his or her individual experience in the physical and cultural context.
To encourage problem solving, Ms Esther would take the time to understand students’ needs and listen to their thought processes. When students go to Ms Esther with a problem, instead of solving it for her students, she would instead ask “How can we solve this problem together?” With this paradigm shift, many of Ms Esther’s students now solve their own problems before informing her of the steps they have taken to solve their problem.
The problem-solving skills that she impart to her students are necessary for children to recognize and regulate their emotions, develop a sense of responsibility, and handle challenges. Most of all, she hopes that students will continue to grow in the RISE values- respect, integrity, self-discipline and empathy.