Home > Epistle > 2012 > March 2012

March 2012

ASCD 2012 – Our learning experience
Darkroom for photo processing at Beacon School
Keynote session at the ASCD conference
Our team at Singapore Mission to the United Nation
Our Team at Drew University, with Jeffrey Kuan, Dean of the Theological School

In March this year, a team of 4 teachers from PL flew half-way round the world to USA for a wonderfully enriching learning experience. We were fortunate enough to be close to New York and that was where we started our learning journey, with a visit to St Hilda’s & St Hugh’s high school, where we sat in on a Chinese Mother Tongue Language class. We were intrigued by the pupils’ excitement to learn and practice conversational mandarin and the teacher’s ease of use with the Interactive Whiteboard. Besides visiting this private school, we were also welcomed at the Beacon School (a premiere public school), and the Drew University (in New Jersey). Mr Victor Go, our school’s expert photographer, was fascinated with Beacon school’s dark room, and we were all intellectually engaged in various educational discussions with the Deans and professors in the university. 

Another memorable stopover for us was the visit to the Singapore United Nations Mission where we were involved in lively discussions on the importance of character building and creating social awareness of world issues in our pupils. We took the opportunity to visit many exhibitions, museums and art galleries before heading over to Philadelphia for the ASCD conference. This year, the focus was on the use of Web 2.0 tools in education and the importance of giving our pupils the skills and knowledge to help them become global citizens, equipped with sensitivity to cultural differences, good communication skills, and savvy and discerning in the use of technology. It was a great learning opportunity and we are thankful for the learning experience. 

Teachers’ Reflections 
One thought kept running through my mind throughout this entire trip – gratitude. I felt very blessed to be a Singaporean, to be a teacher in Singapore and to be, specifically, a teacher in PLMGS. As much as we’ve learnt from our compatriots in US, we’ve also seen them struggle with budget cuts and other challenges while in Singapore, we are blessed with a government that prioritises education and a school that believes in developing its teachers and giving us opportunities to learn overseas. With our minds broadened, our bodies refreshed and our passion for education renewed, we hope to share all this with our fellow PL teachers. 
Ms Annabella Ong 


On 9 March 2012, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra performed to a 620-strong audience at the Agape Concert Hall. Led by the orchestra’s Young Associate Conductor, Derrel Ang, the programme for the evening included excerpts from Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Aram Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite and Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. The orchestra also performed Dr Kelly Tang’s Symphonic Suite on the Set of Local Tunes which is a medley comprising Home, Chan Mali Chan, Bunga Sayang and Singapore Heartbeat. From the enthusiastic applause by the audience, it was obvious that they enjoyed the evening very much.

Badminton clinched 3rd Placing for Both Divisions

The School Badminton Team took part in the East Zone Inter-school Badminton Championships held in Feb and March. The ‘B’ Division team was led by Captain Ng Yon Mei (Sec 4C1A) as well as Vice-Captains, Tay Jia Eenn (Sec 4A2) and Ho Yu NIng (Sec 3A2). The ‘C’ Division team was led by Captain Cheryl See Toh (Sec 2-6) as well as Vice-Captains Natasha Widjaja Liauw (Sec 2-5) and Diane Tan (Sec 2-4). Both teams played very well and did our school proud. After rounds of exciting matches with strong opponents from various schools, our players from both the ‘B’ Division and ‘C’ Division clinched 3rd placing and successfully advanced to the nationals. 

Rail Corridor Ideas Competition - the Youth Challenge (for Secondary Schools)

Journey of Possibilities
Rail Corridor Dream
Rail Reconstructed
Rail Corridor Proposal
Spiral Tree Top Walk

We congratulate the following teams for their achievement at the Rail Corridor Ideas Competition organized by Urban Redevelopment Authority. 

1st Prize: "Spiral Tree Top Walk" 
From Secondary 3A2: Ho Yu Ning, Jamie Lim Si Min, Jean Lim Le Hui, Jeanette Tham Mei Yu and Karina Lalchand Sheri 
Jury Citation 
The jury were captivated by the youthful vibrancy of this proposal that was not only imaginative, but clearly addressed the needs of many different groups of people. The expressive graphite drawings, the level of detail, and the exuberance of the ideas captured the spirit of what the Rail Corridor could be. 

Honourable Mention: "Rail Reconstructed" 
From Secondary 1-3: Amanda Jane Wong, Amanda Lai, Amanda Leo and Amanda Tan 
Jury Citation 
The zip-line is a whimsical idea that deserves mention. 

Honourable Mention: "Rail Corridor Proposal" 
From Secondary 3A1: Gionnieve Lim, Kang Li Xin, Kate Koh, Kimberley Lim and Kimberly Kiong 
Jury Citation 
The jury appreciated the thought put into enhancing the visitor’s experience via the elevated cycling track and the nature watching facilities. The panel also appeals visually with the use of vibrant colours. 

Honourable Mention: "Journey of Possibilities" 
From Secondary 4A3: Elsa Sim Rui Jia, Esabelle Lau, Serene Foo, Genesa Tan and Gillian Goh 
Jury Citation 
This entry highlights the verdure of the Rail Corridor. The tunnel of intertwined trees and vines was particularly appealing to the jury, who felt that it could make the Rail Corridor a magical attraction. 

Honourable Mention: "Rail Corridor Dream" 
From Secondary 3C1b: Katherine Tay Suet Fern, Gracia Seo Min Yi, Ho Ying Yi, Jacyline Ong Jia Lyn and Natasha Leong Yan Ling 
Jury Citation 
This stands out for its sophisticated graphics that are novel, almost surreal. 

Guzheng in Harmony 2012 Concert

The award-winning Guzheng Ensemble of Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary) staged the Guzheng In Harmony 2012 concert successfully on 24 March 2012 (Saturday). This concert served as a preview of the programme the ensemble would be performing at Harrogate Youth International Festival for Music and Performing Arts in London. The youth festival is one of the largest music festivals in the world gathering the young and talented performers from all over the world including Canada, Germany, Poland, Scotland and England. 

It was also a heartwarming concert. The Guzheng Ensemble took the opportunity to express their gratitude to the school, alumni PL-Lites, parents as well as the three generations of Principals, namely Mrs Winnie Tan, Mrs Lee Siew Choo and Ms Pamela Yoong. 

After the Guzheng Ensemble played Amazing Grace, the last song on the programme, the audience refused to leave the concert hall as they were awestruck by the stunning musicality and musicianship displayed by the the ensemble. Finally, Mr Thum Soon Boon, the conductor of PL Guzheng Ensemble, acceded to their request and conducted the Guzheng Ensemble to perform an encore as the final piece to close the concert. 

PL Duathlon 2012

Instead of having the usual traditional track and field meet, PL has been having unique sports days for the past two years to create new experiences for the pupils. In 2010, a triathlon was organised and involved the pupils in skipping, swimming and running. In 2011, we organised the PL Records in which we strived to break our own personal records in the 20 activities as well as to set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records for the biggest number of people eating apples at the same time 

On 23 March 2012, we organised the inaugural Duathlon – the PL Hot Wheels . Held at the East Coast Park, it was a morning of races on wheels, either on the bike, skate scooter or rollerblades. Participants would either cycle for 5 km or skate scoot or rollerblade over a 2 km distance, followed by a 2.4 km run, completing the race on their own or with a buddy. In partnership with PLMGS (Pri), the Primary 5 and 6 pupils from PLMGS (Pri) were also invited to participate in PL Duathlon.   

The pupils enjoyed their experience thoroughly as they cheered for their friends or participated enthusiastically in the events. Pupils who did not get to compete in the race were not left out. They took part in a 2 km mass walk led by their respective house captains and cheerleaders. They cheered their hearts out in support of their respective houses. 
Special mention should go to the Lee House for walking with a 96-feet banner. Having won the Cheering Competition with their great house spirit, the Lee House also emerged overall champion. The PL Duathlon definitely offered a unique sporting experience for the PL-Lites. 

Pupils’ Reflections 
Being in the Sports Committee 2012 is an experience that I'll never forget. I am really grateful for being chosen as a sports leader. This opportunity helped me to learn many valuable lessons which I'll always bear in mind, especially the need to persevere during difficult times and frustrating moments. The time sacrificed for brainstorming and planning for the Sports Day have brought about successful outcomes and I appreciate all the guidance and help from the teachers and seniors. The recce trip and meetings were fun as I got interact with my peers and seniors. New friendships were forged as we got to know one another. I also learnt about teamwork through organising this event. Taking charge of the Sports Day was something new for me and it was an unforgettable experience. If I were given a chance to be part of the team next year, I certainly would want to, and this time I’d like to guide the juniors just like how my seniors had mentored me. 
Cherilyn Tang, Secondary 3A2 

The planning for the Sports Day has benefited me in two ways. Firstly, I learnt to be a better leader and to organise an event on such a large scale. I grew as a leader as I learnt to solve problems and had to be prepared if things did not go as planned. Secondly, this opportunity has given me the chance to get to know more people, work in a team and learn about co-operation. At the planning sessions, I learned to listen to suggestions and feedback given by others. I really enjoyed my time planning for the sports day. Although there were some hiccups on the day itself, we managed to resolve it as a team and we had a successful Sports Day. I look forward to planning more of such events. 
Charilyn Ong, Secondary 3A1 

Hong Kong Cultural Immersion and Twinning Programme

First day in schoolHeading for lessons with hk buddiesHaving lunch with hk buddies
With hk buddiesLearning journey to hk wetland reserveSigning of the MO

On the 10 March 2012, 18 girls from PL, accompanied by 3 teachers, went to Hong Kong for a Twinning Programme with the Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School (HKBUAS) Wong Kam Fai Primary and Secondary School (Secondary school). 

The trip consisted of two days of learning journeys to places like the Ngong Ping Village, the Hong Kong Wetland Reserve and the Hong Kong Museum of History. The girls even got to do some shopping at the Ladies Market in Mongkok, an area highly recommended to visitors to Hong Kong. 

For the three days that followed after, the PL girls attended lessons in the HKBUAS school, otherwise known as A-school. At the end of the school day, the girls went home with their respective Hong Kong buddies and had two nights of homestay in their buddies’ homes. 

The trip ended with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary) and HKBUAS Wong Kam Fai Secondary School. This was a significant event for PL as it symbolised the start of a partnership between the two schools in Singapore and Hong Kong. 

The learning journeys were definitely enriching and unforgettable for the girls and the teachers! Through these journeys, the girls learnt a lot about Hong Kong’s landscape and rich history. They also learnt about the similarities and differences between Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Perhaps the most memorable part of the trip was when the PL girls stayed with their Hong Kong buddies for two days and attended lessons in school with them. Initially, it was a very unfamiliar experience for the girls as they had to live in the same house and interact with Hong Kong students who were brought up in a totally different culture from them. In addition, the language that was commonly used during lessons and even in their buddies’ homes was Cantonese. Despite the language barrier, the PL girls and Hong Kong students were able to find common interests and got along very well. The PL girls were very much involved during the lessons and enrichment activities within the school, some even helping to campaign for the student union group that their Hong Kong buddies belonged to. 

In a nutshell, the PL girls were able to experience life as a Hong Kong student; an experience that is definitely hard to come by. 

Pupils’ reflections: 
“I enjoyed the trip very much as I have made new friends and experienced how it was like to live like a Hong Kong teenager! I have also picked up some Cantonese phrases and my friends and I came back with a Hong Kong accent!” 
Yeo Li Xuan, Secondary 2-2 

“Strong friendships have been forged on this trip and my Hong Kong buddy still contacts me even after I have left Hong Kong. The pupils in the class were very kind to me during my stay there and even brought me to some places in Hong Kong where teenagers like to hang out after school!” 
Seet Yong Woon, Natalie Secondary 2-4 

“I would strongly encourage the next batch of Secondary 2 pupils to go for this trip as I have really learnt a lot from it.” 
Matthea Loo Wei Ern Secondary 2-2

St John Zone 4 First Aid and Home Nursing Competition

Reporting for competitionNursing Cadet team displaying their foot drill
Nursing Adult team coming in as first runner-upPL SJAB 2012

On 24 March 2012, the Zonal First Aid and Home Nursing Competition was held in PLMGS (Sec). Three teams from our school's St John Brigade took part in the competition. The girls put in much effort to prepare for the competition and performed to the best of their ability at the competition. 

Competing against strong teams from nine other schools, one of our nursing cadet teams (lower secondary) clinched 10 thplacing out of 13 teams. Led by Esther Ng from Secondary 2.1, her members included Shalina Daniel (Secondary 2.1), Agnes Rachel Lau (Secondary 2.8) and Rennie Yeoh (Secondary 2.6). Having placed 9 th out of 13 schools, the other nursing cadet team also won the Best in First Aid Award. The team was led by Ting Qi Jun from Secondary 2.1 and her team members included Emily Foo (Secondary 2.3), Gayathri (Secondary 2.3) and Kayshandra (Secondary 2.5). 

Our nursing adult team (upper secondary) clinched the 2 nd prize and won the Best in Foot Drill Award. The team was made up of team leader, Phaedra Lee (Secondary 3A1), team members Lim Ke Yi (Secondary 3A1), Abigail Thomson (Secondary 3A1), Nicole Yip (Secondary 3A1) and Fenalla Foo (Secondary 3B3). Phaedra also clinched the Best Leader Award, while Abigail and Nicole won the Best in CPR Award. 

We thank God for His guidance and provision over the past months. We are also grateful to the school for allowing us to use the school compound as the competition ground. To God be the glory. 

Pupil’s Reflections: 
Being in the competition team, I have gained much experiences, knowledge and values. In addition, I have grown in perseverance. During the preparation, my team and I felt that we could not manage our time and often felt like giving up. We also faced many challenges like conflicts among members, but together as a team, we managed to overcome them. Through all these, I feel that I have become a better person, learning so many things that cannot be learnt through textbooks. I have also realized that I have grown much in confidence. I used to stutter when I speak. Though I still stutter, but it is definitely better and I am not afraid of sharing my opinions now. 
Phaedra Lee, Secondary 3A1 

Trip to Corelli School of the Arts, NZ

In the light of PL's attainment of the prestigious National Arts Education Blaze Award, we continue our journey towards excellence in the Arts by looking further to institutions outside of Singapore to create partnerships that would mutually benefit both schools. 

In early March, Ms Adeline Loh and Ms Audrey Chia left on a 5-day educational trip to visit a reputable arts school in Auckland, New Zealand. Corelli School of the Arts is a small private Arts school with a strong academic programme. It functions as a full school with students ranging from about 6 to 18 years with students graduating from the school with a certificate similar to the equivalent of our GCE A-Levels. The school was chosen as it has a strong focus on excellence in the Arts with good academic achievement. 

This was a reconnaissance trip to explore possible collaborations to open up learning opportunities for both schools in the area of arts and the integration of arts in academic education. The visit was indeed enriching as Corelli is a school that is highly committed to arts education and from the professional sharings and discussions with the teachers, we found much to learn from the arts practices there. The discussions held with the Principal and teachers drew out numerous possibilities for student learning and rich cultural exchanges. It is without doubt that PL will learn much from the tie-up and bring back valuable lessons for the study of the arts. 

We aim to take PL to the next height of excellence in the Arts by going international for a more diverse education in the arts to deepen and broaden our knowledge of how arts education can be further integrated and enhanced in school.