19 Jun Dr Vicknesha Santhirasegaram, the Head of Science
It is unusual to find PhD holders teaching at an international school, but that is exactly the kind of coaches you’ll find at Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS).
Meet Dr Vicknesha Santhirasegaram, the Head of Science at GOTS who is changing the way scholars learn the subject.
“To learn science you have to get your hands dirty. You cannot just read about it.
“At GOTS we make sure they get hands-on experience and do plenty of experiments so scholars have first-hand knowledge of the lessons,” says Dr Vicknesha who has a double major in Chemistry and Biology from Campbell University in the United States.
“I’ve always had a passion for science. I believe this has rubbed off on the scholars as they tell me how they much they enjoy learning it here because it is definitely different.”
But what prompted Dr Vicknesha to change strides and join GOTS last August after several years teaching and lecturing tertiary students?
“While I enjoyed my time teaching older students, I noticed many were lacking in their science ‘foundation’.
“We spent a lot of time brushing up and I wondered how I could help,” says Dr Vicknesha, who earned her PhD in Food Science from Universiti Malaya.
“That was when I decided to teach younger children. I have always loved teaching – I guess I got that from my mum who is also a teacher – and wanted to spread my wings.
“I figured if I could teach younger children the basics of science, it would help them when they go to institutes of higher learning.”
She says GOTS’ 21st-century approach to education is what attracted her to the school.
The school focuses on developing well-rounded scholars who are able to stand on their own after leaving school.
The scholars are encouraged to learn using various methods and are required to think for themselves.
Dr Vicknesha was initially worried she might not get the job as international schools usually only hire Masters graduates.
“However, Ms (Veronica) Shepherdson (GOTS co-founder) was willing to give me the opportunity as she wanted somebody to head the science department.
“I came up with the lesson plans for the primary and secondary schools and helped set up the two labs in the latter.”
She adds scholars at GOTS are exposed to science at a young age with even those in pre-primary picking up the basics. The youngsters, however, are taught science in a fun way.
To learn more about GOTS’ definitely different teaching methods, contact our education consultants at 010-295 6340 or visit www.gots.edu.my
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