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Insights into Inquiry-based Learning by an ex-student

I am a former student who graduated from Raffles Girls’ Schoool (RGS) in 2013. Recently, I had the opportunity to intern at RGS for 2 months.

During my stint there, my Geography teacher, Mrs Eriyanty Mohammad, invited me to join her and Ms Nurashikin for an excursion with some Year 1 students. The excursion to Peninsula Plaza was for the Regional Studies Programme (RSP) students to gain some insights into the Burmese community in Singapore. I jumped at the chance almost immediately. I fondly remember going for such excursions while I was a student and my RSP teachers had also taken us to Golden Mile Complex and Lucky Plaza for us to have a better understanding of some foreign communities in Singapore.

Personally, what I enjoy most from excursions like this is being able to find out more about the different communities through conversations with those who are part of those communities and immersing myself in some aspects of their culture and traditions. It is always very exciting to learn new things from members of these communities—be it shopkeepers or patrons—and they almost always willing to share with you. On this particular excursion, the students had to complete a worksheet, where they were tasked to assess the physical environment of Peninsula Plaza and answer questions about Peninsula Plaza and the Burmese community in Singapore. Some of these questions could only be answered by the shopkeepers and their Burmese customers. I sensed that the students had a great time interacting them and were keen on finding out more about Myanmar.

I believe that it is activities like these that keep the curiosity in us alive. These activities provide the platform for exploration and investigation, enabling students to learn to question, evaluate and be inquisitive. It is perhaps easier for students to be mere receivers of information. However, I feel that there is greater value in uncovering new knowledge through research and exploration, with support and guidance given by teachers. For me, I found it easier to retain what I had learnt from such activities as opposed to regular lessons and I enjoyed this inquiry-based learning as I constantly found myself being challenged and engaged.

My experience in the last 2 months has given me a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes before lessons are taught and how lessons are made more engaging and meaningful for students. While I may not have been able to experience what it is like to teach a class of students, I feel that I am now better able to appreciate the efforts that have been put in by my teachers to ensure that I am growing not only as a student but also as a person. I am grateful to all my teachers who have shaped my learning experience in RGS and made it a truly memorable one.

Posted by:

Thet Thiri Ko

Class of 2013

Raffles Girls’ School

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