President's Award for Teachers 2018 Awarded to ASC's Ms Tan Lay Khee

Congratulations to Ms Tan Lay Khee on being awarded the President's Award for Teachers 2018! The award gives national recognition to the critical role teachers play in moulding the future of our nation.

Lay Khee strongly believes that a teacher should be teaching students, not just the subject. The subject “Introduction to Pharmacotherapeutics” aims to develop students’ understanding in the use of medications to treat medical conditions. However, Lay Khee recognises the need to look beyond building students’ knowledge in medication usage. Lay Khee sees the importance to inculcate professional ethics, not only in choosing the most suitable medication for every unique patient, but also to demonstrate empathy in handling patients. Lay Khee enjoys sharing her past working experience especially ways of how she has overcome challenges in handling patients when she worked as a pharmacist so that the authentic examples could help students appreciate the relevance.

Lay Khee demonstrates the attributes of dual professionalism through her active engagement in both industry and pedagogical research projects on top of her teaching and academic development duties in her school.  Lay Khee is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the research project funded by the Ministry of Education Tertiary Education Research Fund (MOE TRF) grant from Apr 2016-Mar 2018. As the PI, Lay Khee led the team in the development of a student self-assessment framework based on empirical data from research sites across different schools in Temasek Polytechnic (TP). Lay Khee also partakes in research projects in collaboration with industry partners such as a retail pharmacy chain in Singapore. As the Co-Principal Investigator for this research study in 2015, Lay Khee designed a project to engage students to collect and analyse data on pharmacists’ practices in dispensing anti-cholinergic medications. The project provides opportunity for authentic learning as students engaged in real-world problem solving.

As a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Mentor in the School, Lay Khee had invited fellow colleagues (novice PBL facilitators) to her classroom to observe her PBL facilitation-in-action so as to support and develop peers’ confidence and competence in PBL. A fellow colleague found observing Lay Khee’s lesson a “stimulating experience” and has motivated her to strengthen her questioning skills in PBL while another commended that Lay Khee has impressed him “as an excellent mentor who was extremely encouraging and was very good at drawing ideas and thoughts from her mentees."

Lay Khee’s teaching philosophy is aptly summed up in her own words.

“It is impossible to teach everything, and students need to learn how to learn. To build students’ capacity in lifelong learning, students need to be empowered to judge their own learning. Only when students know where their learning gaps are would they be able to expend effort to bridge that gap. To do so, I recognise I need to relinquish my power to some extent so that I can guide my students by their side."