What do you think of Singapore?
Gemma: I really love it! This is my first time in Singapore and there is so much to see and do, for example last weekend I went to the National Museum which I thought was fantastic. Also, Singaporean food is amazing.
What’s your favourite Singaporean food?
Gemma: It’s got to be chicken rice with lots of chilli sauce.
What will you bring to the Young Learner programme here at the British Council in Singapore?
Gemma: Having taught young learners of all ages for over 14 years with the British Council and been responsible for programmes in both Morocco and Bahrain before coming to Singapore, I believe I have a strong understanding of what makes an effective learning environment for children of all ages, whether they are just getting started like our children in Nursery 1, are starting to prepare for the PSLE or are thinking about the next steps once they leave school.
What do you believe is the key to successfully engaging children in learning?
Gemma: In my opinion, regardless of the age of the child, every lesson must be relevant, comprehensive, varied, challenging and of course, enjoyable.
Relevance is about meeting the needs of the child at the particular point they are at on their English journey.
When I say comprehensive, I am talking about the child’s understanding of what is happening in the classroom and what is expected of them.
As the saying goes, variety is indeed the spice of life, and children like their adult counterparts need this, balanced with routine, to keep them focused and engaged in what’s happening in the classroom.
It goes without saying that children need to be challenged, without this there is no progression
And as for enjoyable, we know that we learn better when we like what we are doing and so this must be present in any young learner classroom.
What do you love most about your job?
Gemma: Teaching children has always been my passion, and although I don’t get to teach much in my current role, what I do enjoy is passing on that passion to my team through the regular training in the latest ideas and methodologies that we organise for our teachers, through the course materials we are constantly developing and improving specifically for Singaporean learners and through the support we give to parents.
Tell us one fun fact about you.
Gemma: I have a Moroccan cat.