Principal’s Musings

Showing 61 through 70 of 83 principal available.

  • 25 Aug 2016

    Remembering President SR Nathan

    This morning, I spoke to all NJCians about the contributions of President SR Nathan to Singapore.

    President Nathan exemplifies the best of “service with honour”. President Nathan has served Singapore with distinction for several decades, from a junior civil servant to the one who occupied the highest office in the land.  His life has been described as one of an indomitable will to overcome the many obstacles that he faced.

    I met President Nathan on a few occasions when I was Principal of Victoria School in the early 2000s. Victoria School supported the President’s Challenge (PC), an initiative of President Nathan in 2000, to  bring the community together to do their part to help the less fortunate. Victoria School helped in the  management of the PC website and contributed to the sponsoring of a PC-Bus. When we were invited to the Istana to meet President Nathan, we were touched deeply by his concern for the less fortunate and for students.

    Let us all follow President Nathan’s life of service to the nation and of paying forward so that future generations will continue not only to benefit but to also serve and pay forward to the generations after them.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 25 Aug 2016

    Funtasia 2016

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, was Funtasia Day.

    Funtasia is a biennial event organised by NJC’s Alumni and School, with the support of PAACT. This event brings the NJC community together for a benevolent cause. Proceeds from Funtasia will be channelled to school improvement projects for the benefit of students.

    Funtasia is without a doubt one of the best days for NJC.  We saw the boundless spirit of everyone involved, enjoyed the appealing games designed by inventive and creative NJCians, and revelled in the the joyful and lively atmosphere throughout the day.

    My heartfelt thanks go to the alumni, staff, parents and students who have made Funtasia a success.  They have all worked hard over the past 6 months (and more).

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 18 Aug 2016

    SH2 Preliminary Examinations

    SH2 Preliminary examinations starts on Monday, 22 August 2016.

    NJCians would know that preliminary examinations serve various purposes. Preliminary examinations are designed to be similar to the final examinations, so as to show how students would likely perform.

    While the prelim grades have no bearing on the final results (a student can score Ds in a Prelim, and As in the Final exam), students would look at their prelim results and would work hard in the areas where improvement is needed, and improve their grades in the final exam. Teachers use prelims as a warning system, to find out which students would need to push harder, or would need guidance and help.

    To all SH2 NJCians, do the best that you could for the Prelims. Make your performance match your potential. As long as you know that you have tried your best, you will continue to improve.

    I extend my best wishes to every SH2 NJCian.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 03 Aug 2016

    National Day 2016

    On August 9 2016, we celebrate our 51st National Day.

    For many of us who were involved in last year’s 50th National Day celebrations, the myriad feelings that engulfed us having crossed 50 years of nationhood were both nostalgic and expectant. We recalled the past with the various displays and marching contingents, and at the same time primed ourselves for the future employing high tech equipment to showcase past acheivements.  Many of our pioneer generation leaders had walked ahead of us, after having done their utmost to create and build a thriving and prosperous Singapore.

    This year, the National Day Parade will be held for the first time at the new National Stadium, a modern edifice much different from the one that previously sat on the same site. While the new National Stadium has the latest technological features, the old stadium was the place where we built fond memories especially from football matches. The stadium was packed with Singaporeans of all races and religion supporting the Singapore Team. Such scenes have not been replicated for a long time.

    It must be the wish of all Singaporeans that National Day be celebrated not just for the economic progress that we have made. More important is the sense of nationhood that we have been building and will continue to build regardless of race, language and religion.

    Majullah Singapura

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 14 Jul 2016

    Temperature Taking

    I spoke at Assembly on Wednesday on the need for every member of the NJC community to be able to respond effectively to emergencies. The ability to respond is premised on cultivating habits, sometimes through repetitive drills and exercises. Habits are behavioural routines repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously.

    In Japan, where earthquakes are relatively common, students have cultivated the habit of responding quickly to impending signs of an earthquake. They respond quietly and efficiently as a result of the earthquake drill which they have learnt. Every single child knows what to do because their behaviour has become habitual.

    I have insisted that for the temperature taking exercise, each and every NJcian must exercise responsibility by bringing a thermometer to school.  Unfortunately, for this morning’s exercise, there are still some NJCians who have forgotten to bring their thermometers. This would mean that habit formation has not taken hold and that more opportunities would have to be created for NJCians to practice so that habits take hold.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 22 Jun 2016

    Article in Straits Times on “Pushy Parents”

    The report in Page A3 of the Straits Times today focuses on a 5-year NUS research study on the influence of parents on the development of children. The study suggested that parents who are more “intrusive” have children who are more likely to develop high levels of self-criticalness compared to children who have less “intrusive” parents.

    Parents should take heed of the results of the study and reflect on how they interact with their children, in particular the conversation topics. Are the conversation topics narrowly focused on performance, academic or otherwise, or do the conversations span a large number of topics and about process?

    The tips offered in the Straits Times article are similar to those I have spoken with parents about (see Principal’s Musings 20 May 2016):

    • Treat your child as a unique person and do not compare him/her with another child.
    • Support your child in his/her learning and allow errors to be made.
    • Know and understand your child well.
    • Allow your child his/her own space to learn.
    • Focus on effort and praise achievement.

    This report serves as a good reminder for all of us to think hard about how we as adults help young minds and hearts develop cognitively, socially and emotionally.Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 09 Jun 2016

    What have you been reading?

    Before the start of the mid-year break, I wrote about a few “to-dos” for every NJCian.

    We are into the second week of the break and you should have spent bonding time with your family, enjoying family leisure activities. You would have read a book and be prepared to read a few more.

    I have been reading too. Two books I am currently reading are Pico Iyer’s “The Global Soul” and The Lady and The Monk”.  The books deliberate the meaning of home, celebrate the joy of travel and reflect on the tranquility of keeping still. Reading these two books makes me ruminate on the Singaporean identity and its manifestations.

    Another book I have almost finish reading focuses on communication within the family. The book’s title “I Only Say This Because I Love You” highlights the challenges of intra-family communication. The author asked a great question – Why does talk in the family so frequently go in circles, leaving us tied in knots?  She identifies and analyses the causes for breakdowns in communication and provides a “remedy” based on framing and reframing. Here in school where we spend time communicating with  students, parents and fellow staff members, learning to reframe would serve us well.

    I will let you know in two weeks the books I would have read. In the meantime, do continue reading.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 25 May 2016

    Mid-Year Break

    The mid-year break starts next week on ends on 26 June 2016.

    Spending time with your family should be at the top of your list of things to do. Research has shown that time spent in everyday family leisure activities fosters greater emotional bonding within the family.  The academic success of a child is found to be associated with having parents who frequently communicated with them. This entailed parents talking with their children, listening to them, and answering their questions.

    Research has also shown that teenagers whose parents are involved in their lives tend to exhibit fewer behavioral problems. Parental involvement includes asking about children’s lives, encouraging their interests, giving good advice, and spending free time with them in various activities.

    Another item which should be on your list of things to do is to read. The benefits of reading are already well documented and I have spoken about these at many assemblies. Your reading diet should be a good spread of fiction and non-fiction. So read at least 4 books, one a week, over 4 weeks of the mid-term break.

    Finally, find some time for yourself to relax and recharge. This is so that you will come back to school lively and joyful, and be ready for the next semester.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 20 May 2016

    Raising a Child

    On Monday, 16 May 2016, more than 1500 parents and their children visited NJC’s open house. We are grateful for their interest in NJC.We held 8 half-hour briefing sessions for parents and children. I spoke at 2 of the sessions on “Raising a Child”.

    My belief has always been that schooling complements parenting in raising a child. As such it is critical for parents and teachers to be able to know the child well and to be able to act on what they know of the child to help the child grow.

    What does “knowing a child” mean?  To me, “knowing a child” comprises:

    • being informed and vigilant observers of a child;
    • viewing each child as unique, as a distinct and distinctive individual; and
    • responding intelligently and compassionately to what you see and sense in your children
    Following knowing, we need to be able to act on what we know by:
    • responding to gaps that a child might have in different areas of development;
    • fostering a child’s strengths, talents and affinities;
    • maintaining an intellectual life at home and in school;
    • fostering optimism and a positive view of the future; and
    • ensuring not to harm through words and deeds.

    Parents who would like to have deeper knowledge of the above points could attend the next open house to be held in October.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 18 May 2016

    Response to Zika

    The swift response to the first ever case of Zika virus reported in Singapore and the declaration that the Zika patient has made a full recovery demonstrated the resolve of Singapore to ensure that challenges are met and overcome.

    Various agencies worked together to ensure that the necessary measures were taken to secure the welfare and safety of residents in the affected area. The Ministry of Health screened the patient’s household members, and the National Environment Agency (NEA) intensified vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population.

    At NJC, we activated fogging of school grounds and misting of classrooms on Saturday and Sunday. We procured mosquito repellent patches for students. We also worked with the NEA to do a thorough check of school premises for mosquito breeding sites and with NEA’s advice carried out a regime of checks. We co-ordinated with RGPS, our neighbour, to tackle this problem together.

    On Monday morning, I spoke with NJCians on the responsibilities that every NJCian has to ensure that NJC is kept clean and mosquito free. Vigilance is required of every student.

    We must thank our colleagues including Mr Zainal (VP/Admin), Mr James LIM (VP/EO), Mr Patrick Tan (OM/School), Mr Choong (OM/Boarding School) and the cleaning staff who worked hard over the week. I must especially commend the cleaning staff for their effort in clearing and cleaning the drains, a tedious and back breaking task. They worked together and showed great spirit.

    This episode reminds us all to remain calm when responding to any incident.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour