What is your role at IIL?
I have been a teacher here for almost 10 years and have taught Y7-9 Art, STEAM (Innovation and Technology), English Literature, and Drama. I have an MFA from the Royal College of Art in the UK, and also an MA in Education, with my recent research focussing on how we can encourage empathy amongst children who speak different mother-tongue languages.
How do you like to teach?
My favourite way to teach is to get students excited about the subject they are studying and see how it can have personal meaning for them. I believe that real, deep learning happens when students can apply an idea across several disciplines – for example, Year 9 English is studying the graphic novel of Anne Frank – they are learning to “read” an image, which also incorporates elements of art history, but they are also currently researching modern day conflicts. This research entails students writing diary entries about them from the point of view of a young person facing that conflict. We also had an important recreation of this Annexe last year, supported by Maison Anne Frank. This way, students can more easily “step into the shoes” of Anne Frank, while also learning about past and current global issues.
Recent research shows that reading encourages empathy – you step into another’s perspective. This was exciting teaching, as it also linked up with other disciplines in the school. We try to do this often. This kind of study also helps students apply different aspects of an issue to both their learning and also to their everyday lives. Cross-discipline learning is important for the requirements of future thinkers and leaders – no one can know exactly what the future requirements will be for the students that we are teaching now, but we know it involves collaboration, divergent and creative thinking, empathy and an understanding of how we are all connected to each other, globally and across socio-economic and cultural areas.
What do you enjoy most?
I love teaching all my classes, but the best part of teaching is when a student has a “lightbulb moment”- this might be a student understanding a complex subject or truly understanding the point of view of another who might be quite different to/from themselves. I feel very privileged to teach such incredible, curious, kind and creative young people. I love this school and I love our learning community, especially the fabulous young people who entrust us to teach them.