ITE alumnus-turned-lecturer serves up raps and poems during lessons to engage students

This article was contributed by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

Sim Renfeng, Russell
Lecturer/Airport Services & Human Resource, ITE College East
Recipient of the ITE Teacher Award 2020

Russell Sim’s students are most excited when it is time for him to ‘rap’ up his lessons.

The Airport Services & Human Resource lecturer from ITE College East, who is trained in both Info-comm Technology and Hospitality – “I wanted to have different strengths when I am out in the workforce” – translates complicated lesson facts and figures into rap lyrics and poems, which students find interesting and easy to commit to memory.

A Nitec in Multimedia Technology graduate himself, Russell knows that ITE students are kinaesthetic learners and can absorb concepts much better experientially.

As such, he came up with various out-of-the-box teaching methods, like having students record videos of themselves explaining concepts they have learnt, and sharing these videos among their classmates.

To make ‘dry’ topics like law more palatable to his students, Russell creates animation clips and even includes humourous selfies of himself wearing a legal wig, in order to sustain their interest. He also scours the Internet for educational videos and incorporates them in his lessons.

Russell remembers his days as an ITE student fondly, when he was given numerous opportunities to take part in competitions and excel in his course. The exposure he got build his confidence and enabled him to progress to the Polytechnic and university subsequently.

Ever thankful to ITE for changing his life, Russell decided to come back to ITE as a lecturer, to inspire and groom the next generation of ITE students. He views himself as a lapidary who lovingly polishes his students as raw stones and transforms them into gems, valued by society.

For his dedication in teaching, Russell was presented with the ITE Teacher Award 2020 on Sep 30.

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