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Mrs Mary George Cheriyan, Deputy Principal, Centre for PeRL and Community Engagement
Mary graduated from the National University of Singapore with Bachelor of Arts (Honours). She was on a teaching scholarship from the Public Service Commission. She majored in History and English Literature with a minor in English Language. She then acquired a Diploma-in-Education from the National Institute of Education. In 2010, she graduated from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy with a Masters in Public Administration, on a scholarship from Raffles Girls’ School (RGS). Mary has extensive experience in Gifted Education (GE) principles and practice as a teacher (taught History to GEP classes and English to Express) and subsequently, as Head of Department (of GEP dept). In this role, she supervised curriculum and professional development, ensuring fidelity to GE principles. She also set up and helmed the Staff Development Committee and the National Education Committee that remain robust.
When RGS embarked on the Raffles Programme, Mary was appointed Director of Academic Studies (2004-08). She developed structures and processes that have facilitated school-wide implementation of the GE curriculum. She spearheaded innovations such as Curriculum Mapping, Performance Task and use of the Understanding by Design framework.
Currently, Mary is a Deputy Principal, managing the RGS Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning and Community Engagement portfolios. She aims to engender informed practice through a school-based research ecosystem that strengthens theory-practice nexus. She also steers Professional Development in the school.
Mary actively participates in the educational fraternity, locally and overseas. She facilitates discourse in curriculum innovation, pedagogical research and Professional Development through platforms such as the annual PeRL Open Classroom and biannual Reflective Practitioner Symposium and internally, through Good Practice Day. She also presents papers and offers Consultancy to other organizations.
Mary received the National Day Efficiency Medal (2006), Long Service Award (2012) and Commendation Award (2015). She also received an Educational Leadership Award from the World Education Congress (2017). She is a certified trainer in Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe; Clayton), Developing Performance Assessment (Alberta Assessment Consortium) and Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction (Erickson). She is also trained in Critical Thinking (Richard Paul) as well as Differentiated Curriculum for the Gifted (Van Tassel-Baska; Kaplan).
Mrs Lucille, YAP-CHUA Puay Lan, Head of Consultancy (Lead Specialist), Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning
Lucille graduated from the National University of Singapore with Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Second Class) on a teaching bursary from the Public Service Commission, Singapore. She majored in Economics and Geography with a minor in Statistics. She then acquired a Diploma-in-Education from the National Institute of Education (NIE), focusing on the teaching of Geography and English.
In 1993, Lucille joined the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) department at Raffles Girls’ School, after a eight year teaching stint at the defunct Ghim Moh Secondary. In her capacity as an educator in the GEP, she has gained extensive experience in Gifted Education principles and practices. Subsequently, she served as Head of Affective Education (1998 – 2010) and Senior Teacher (2002 – 2010) till her appointment as a teacher-specialist, at the RGS PeRL in 2010. In 2013, she assumed the role of a Lead Specialist.
As a lead specialist, heading the Consultancy Office, Lucille oversees the consultancy programme and the training workshops that facilitate job-embedded professional development for the educational fraternity, in and out of RGS. As a classroom practitioner, Lucille truly understands the deep-rooted desire within teachers to enhance their self-efficacy and professionalism, in terms of pedagogical decisions and practices in the classroom. She has attended many training workshops like R. Paul’s Critical Thinking, T. Buzan’s Mind-maps, S. Kagan’s Co-operative Learning, A. Costa’s Habits of Mind, L. Erikson’s Concept-based Curriculum and R. Brink-Budgen’s Critical and Inventive Thinking for personal growth and empowerment.
In the area of professional sharing or discourse, Lucille initiated the organization of the annual Open Classroom and the biennial PeRL Symposium to acknowledge and advance the power of teacher leadership through the provision of a platform for interactive professionalism. She made presentations on many IT- and CT-based lessons and conducted numerous workshops on teaching pedagogies at both local and international forums and/or conferences, for example, Redesigning the Raffles Programme Geography curriculum at the South Zone Cluster Sharing, 2010, “Teaching and Learning: Geography That Matters” at the South East Asian Geography Association, 2010 and “The Use of the Logic of Reasoning in the Teaching of Humanities” at the ‘Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Thinking: Time for a Re-think, 2013.
Lucille has also looked into the production and publication of the in-house biennial PeRL publication, INSIGHTS I, II and III (2012, 2014 and 2016).
AZAHAR Noor, Teacher Specialist, Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning
Azahar graduated from the National University of Singapore with Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in History and Geography. He started his career at the Singapore Trade Development Board (presently called International Enterprise Singapore) and had served as the Centre Director and Commercial Secretary at the Singapore Embassy in Vietnam between 1999 and 2002. In 2003, he was involved in consultancy work in Laos to train Laotian officials in export promotion. In the same year, the International Trade Institute of Singapore recruited him as a member of a consultancy team to Pakistan to help develop the country’s international trade sector.
Azahar started his teaching career in 2004. He obtained his Diploma-in-Education from the National Institute of Education and practise as a teacher in Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) since 2005. As a classroom teacher, he has taught Social Studies, Geography, History and Area Studies. In 2012, he obtained his Master of Education (Gifted Education) from the Nanyang Technological University which covers specialised modules such as Educational Research, Conceptions of Giftedness, Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction and Critical and Creative Thinking. Additionally, Azahar is also trained in Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe) and Fostering Critical Thinking through Philosophy for Children.
In his current role as a Teacher Specialist at the RGS Center for Pedagogical Research and Learning, Azahar is involved in developing the Center as a hub for research, curriculum innovation and pedagogy. He has also conducted practitioner inquiry into classroom practices and involved in research projects in practitioner inquiry, differentiated instruction and critical thinking. He has also conducted local and international workshops for educators. In 2015, he conducted a seminar on Nurturing Reflective Practice through Practitioner Inquiry at the Asian Conference on Education in Kobe, Japan. In 2016, he jointly conducted an international workshop on Professional Development at the EDUCA Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Azahar’s professional interests include critical thinking, differentiated instruction, mastery learning and the role of a teacher-researcher. As a classroom teacher, he understands the need to bridge the gap between educational theories and classroom practice, and is constantly reflecting on what works and how can we make a curriculum high quality in its design and, at the same time, responsive to student needs.
YEN CHUAN Tan, Teacher Specialist, Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning
Yen Chuan graduated from the National University of Singapore with Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Chinese Studies. Her area of specialisation is in Chinese Language. Prior to joining RGS PeRL, she taught Higher Chinese in RGS and was a Year Four level coordinator preparing students for Higher Chinese “O” levels. She is currently an advisor to teachers doing practitioner inquiry and is also an educational researcher for school improvement. She earned a Master degree in Education at The University of Western Australia with the focus on research knowledge and skills.
Yen Chuan focuses on innovation, critical thinking and ICT to address students’ diverse learning profiles and language proficiency. With the one-to-one laptop programme, she is able to empower diverse learners to connect, communicate, collaborate and create in an interactive technology-rich environment.
As a teacher-researcher, Yen Chuan’s research interests include teachers’ professional development, practitioner inquiry and knowledge creation. She has carried out many research projects on critical thinking, differentiated instruction, performance tasks, professional learning communities and practitioner inquiry. She has been actively contributing to professional sharing and learning for the wider education fraternity, both within and outside RGS, through presentations at local and overseas conferences like “Performance Task as an Alternative Assessment” at AARE-APERA Conference, Sydney, “Teachers’ Readiness in Practitioner Inquiry” at Redesigning Pedagogy Conference, National Institute of Education, 2013 and “Differentiated Instructions for High Ability Diverse Learners: A Case Study in a Secondary School in Singapore" at the Eighth Asian Conference on Education (ACE) in Kobe in 2016.
Her research work is also seen in the SingTeach e-magazine: "Preparing Teachers for Practitioner Inquiry" in Issue 52, 2015 and “High ability learners are not homogeneous” in issue 58 2016. She has also published her research findings in Insights, an in-house RGS publication.
She has also set up an educational blog for knowledge sharing and professional discourse. Her blog has attracted more than 40 entries within 2 years, engaging both local and overseas educators.
In the area of consultancy, she has conducted professional learning clinics and workshops on assessment, practitioner inquiry and differentiated instruction for educators, in and out of school.
MASTURAH binte Abdul Aziz, Senior Research Executive (Specialist), Centre for Pedagogical Research & Learning
Masturah graduated from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) with a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering and a Masters’ degree in Information Studies. Her area of specialization is in information science, such as human information behavior, information management, and research and data management.
Prior to joining RGS PeRL, she was with the National Institute of Education, NTU, working with secondary students and youth in a digital-storytelling research project. She is currently involved in the development and management of the research support system for teachers and staff in RGS, which includes providing research skills support and training, overseeing research and data management frameworks endorsed by PeRL, and implementing various initiatives which promote a research-oriented, knowledge-creating culture.
She also conducts school-based research which complements various initiatives and strategic directions set by the school, such as on the professional learning community in RGS, Practitioner Inquiry efforts, and the Performance Task, which is a school-wide implemented summative assessment for students. The research findings have been used for school improvement as well as shared on various platforms in Singapore and overseas, such as in the AARE-APERA conference and Redesigning Pedagogy conference.
She is involved in the editorial work and publication of Insights, a biennial in-house magazine on RGS research and best practices. Her research work is also reflected in the SingTeach e-magazine: The Professional Learning Community:Facilitating "Teacher Thinking" to Solve Classroom Problems" in Issue 61, 2017
Anderson, K. T., Stewart, O. G., & Abdul Aziz, M. B. (2016). Writing ourselves in: Researcher reflexivity in ethnographic and multimodal methods for understanding what counts, to whom, and how we know. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 47(4), 385-401.
Aziz, M. B. A. (2016). Effect of the Information Use Environment on Social Capital in a Socio-Religious Community in Singapore (Thesis, Nanyang Technological University).