WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Unlike entry to Primary Schools, admission into Secondary Schools is based on meritocracy. PSLE results are used as key admission criteria. Discuss everything related to PSLE and selection of Secondary Schools here.

WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Postby kiaaik » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:26 pm

WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history
Secondary school teacher makes history come alive through use of roleplay and interactive lessons


By Amelia Tan Hui Fang
Mar 25, 2012
Straits Times

Like a time-machine traveller, the World War II Japanese soldier burst into the classroom. That dramatic entrance gave goosebumps to some of the 40 seated Secondary 2 students, even though they knew the sword-wielding Japanese sergeant was their history teacher, Mr Malcolm Tan.
No sir, it was not going to be another typical history lesson about the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945.
'Today, you will learn about our way of life,' Mr Tan intoned, as his spiel began.

A laptop's speakers blared out the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo, and the students had to bow and shout 'Banzai!' (the equivalent of 'Long live the Emperor!').
For the next 50 minutes, Mr Tan was not just a history teacher at Chung Cheng High School (Main). He was role-playing a Japanese sergeant in 1942.
A history buff, Mr Tan, 35, has been using his interactive method to engage his students since 2001, first at Bendemeer Secondary, and now at his present school.
'My aim is to open the doors of the mind - to make history not boring, but alive and relevant,' said Mr Tan, who has been teaching at the school for close to two years.

He has such interactive lessons up to six times a year.
His other 'personas' include a Japanese general, a British soldier, a 1950s riot policeman, British Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, and even Adolf Hitler.
And where did he get those immaculate costumes? They are mostly replicas or original items bought from online stores and eBay. He spends an average of $50 on each item.
Until two years ago, he merely dressed the part for each special history class.
But a visit to Hampton Court in England in 2009 - where he saw a re-enactment of King Henry VIII's life during the Tudor Age - inspired him to tweak his lessons. He now 'becomes' the person he dresses up in.
'It was so real, so alive and amazing. From then on, in my lessons, I took on the role of the people I play,' he said.
To prepare for these special lessons, he researches his characters beforehand, and tells his students personal details - such as of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong's four wives.
He also gets his students to 'develop empathy' by getting them to re-enact historical events.
For his lesson on the 1956 Chinese Middle School riots - coincidentally, Chung Cheng was among the schools involved - his students staged mock protests, marched around the school bearing posters, and gave rousing speeches.
He said: 'When my students try to find out more on their own - develop an inquiring mind - that's when I feel I have done my job.'
History is a passion carried over from his childhood days when he visited the wax museum at Sentosa with his parents, and listened to his grandmother's account of the war.
Even though history lessons - while he was studying at Victoria School - were all about 'reading and highlighting the textbook', he remained keen on the subject.
In 2008, the National Institute of Education-trained graduate did his master's in history at the National University of Singapore.
The principal of Chung Cheng High School (Main), Mr Pang Choon How, supports the interactive teaching style of Mr Tan, who won the 'Most Engaging Teacher Award' that the school gave last year.
One of Mr Tan's students, 14-year-old Jonathan Chan, said the lessons have inspired him to read up more.
'I'd go online to search for more than the information from the textbook, and find out more about, say, the Japanese.'
Fifteen-year-old Tng Shu Hui failed history in Secondary 1, but got a B in Secondary 2 last year after she was taught by Mr Tan.
She said: 'I never had a history teacher like him before; he gave us confidence to study history and we were encouraged to learn more.'
ametan@sph.com.sg

Background story

His goal
'My aim is to open the doors of the mind - to make history not boring, but alive and relevant.'
Teacher MALCOLM TAN
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The result
'I never had a history teacher like him before; he gave us confidence to study history and we were encouraged to learn more.'
TNG SHU HUI, 15, who failed history in Secondary 1 but got a B in Secondary 2 last year after she was taught by Mr Tan

kiaaik
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:45 pm
Total Likes: 1


Re: WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Postby Miracle Child » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:43 pm

Such dedicated teacher with so much passion...

Miracle Child
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:46 am
Total Likes: 1


Re: WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Postby Imami » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:39 pm

It's nice to know there are still such dedicated teachers around...

Imami
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10839
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:04 pm
Total Likes: 36


Re: WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Postby optimistforum » Wed May 23, 2012 1:26 pm

Hi

Interestingly, as I write this post I am watching a BBC Documentary: The Fall of Singapore. The premise of this documentary is that British military advice/training to Japan in the 20s and 30s, as well as bungling in the 1937/38 re-fortifications of Singapore meant that the British Empire expected attack by sea, instead of by land (as actually happened) through the Malayan Peninsula.

If you can access BBC i-player, I would recommend watching it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=t ... 0singapore
optimistforum
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:14 am
Total Likes: 6


Re: WWII Japanese soldier bursts in... to teach history

Postby daisyt » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:28 pm

Very creative way of teaching history. This method should spread to more schools and other subjects.

daisyt
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:54 am
Total Likes: 0




Return to Secondary Schools - Selection