“Changing Mindset” 改变心态
Dear Parents, Staff, Alumni and Pupils
“Changing Mindset” 改变心态
Welcome back to Term 3 of 2010. I hope everyone has had a good holiday spending time with each other in the family.
PM Lee recently emphasized the importance of family ties and the time spent together. I can't agree more. A stable and strong family unit is also important to the growth of the child. Statistics and research in America have shown that children's academic success and school readiness increased significantly when they come from families which are stable and closely-knit. You may refer to the website below for one such article. But, of course, the opinions on this issue could be divided. Nevertheless, I am sharing with you one aspect of the opinion on this issue where family ties are concerned.
(pls see this website for more info click here)
Today, I would also like to touch on changing mindset. Friends and colleagues who know me are aware that I have been suffering from adult eczema. Steroidal creams and moisturizer were my daily staple. While I am aware of the medical side effects from using steroid, I thought I could not do without it.
During the holidays, I had a mindset change. I decided to stop steroid totally and resort to natural therapy or alternative medicine instead. It started when a colleague of mine recommended me to drink a kind of ionized water. After trying it out for a few days, it seemed to work. So I was encouraged to read up more. And then one thing followed another. My diet is also undergoing some changes. A good book which I have read that inspired me a lot is “The Enzyme Factor” by Dr Hiromi Shinya. He was the doctor who invented colonoscopy. Dr Shinya believes that the foundation of our health is in our diet. You could read his book for more information.
The change in my approach towards the treatment of my eczema is a mindset change. From an initially skeptical view of alternative medicine whose claims are largely derided in the mainstream western medical community, I am now won over by the success stories I have read and heard. Enough evidence (at least to me) is available to convince me that alternative medicine works and I am prepared to press ahead. I am into my 13th steroid-free day and this has never happened before. To me, this is a significant change as only slightly less than a month ago, I was still sworn to steroid and its indispensability in my eczema treatment.
What has this mindset change got to do with Ai Tong and teaching and learning?
This little episode in my life is related to a lot of things that I have talked about in my previous letters as follows:
a) Teaching and Learning
After taking over the helm at Ai Tong, I have been engaging my colleagues in change. Of course this is nothing new to Ai Tong staff. Afterall, the school would not have been able to come so far under the able leadership of many ex-Principals and staff if it had simply stuck to the familiar.
But our challenge lies in taking on the changes to take Ai Tong to the next stage. I am glad to say that we are making small but significant progress. The launch of the P4 Language Arts Programme is one example. The change to teachers' approach in their own professional development through teacher research is another. There are many other examples to recount here. But all these initiatives are not shooting in different directions. Essentially, they are grounded on our school vision to create a “Vibrant Community, (of) Dynamic Learners”.
b) Parents' and Pupils' Mindsets
In the last few months, I have had good interactions with parents and pupils. Through our interaction, I have also emphasized the need for parents and pupils to change their mindset.
One aspect of this mindset change is the need to grow our pupils' soft skills, something which needs to be balanced with our pursuit of better academic results. While some parents are worried of these changes, I am glad they have supported the introduction of formative assessment in P1 to P3. I am also heartened to know that parents are supportive of our emphasis on character development.
Another mindset change is in the importance of balancing academic with CCAs. I can't emphasise more the interdependence of the two. I have seen how good performance in CCAs, which also build pupils’ character, often spills over positively into better academic performance. Two P6 pupils I would like to highlight here are Natasha from P6C and Teddy from 6E. Not only are they shining in their respective sports (Volleyball for Teddy and Volleyball, Track and Field for Natasha), their academic performance is also gaining ground as they are now able to re-focus their energy on it. The time they have spent on CCAs is not wasted. Not only have they developed leadership through participation in these CCAs, they also learnt to focus, exercise self-discipline and forged strong friendships. The character they have built up in their CCAs contribute to this academic improvement, I believe.
In conclusion, changing mindset is important as we navigate the future. Keeping an open-mind (our school value) is another way of looking at changing mindset. Without open-mindedness, we may find it increasingly difficult keeping up with the global changes in technology and work practices.
May I wish everyone a fulfilling week ahead. Enjoy yourselves but don't forget to spend quality time with your family.
Tan Yap Kin
28 June 2010