Frederick Koh

Founder, White Group Mathematics

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To teachers/educators: are your current teaching methods inspired by previous mentors who taught you?

How many of you teachers out there have been so greatly inspired by great mentors previously as a student such that traces of their teaching methodologies / advices have been consciously/subconsciously adapted and incorporated into your classroom routine? I, for one, do.


  • May 6 2013: I am inspired by some of my mentor teachers from my past, but not as much in my teaching pedagogy. More in the inspiration and joy of teaching which they brought to their craft. Far less in their pedagogy due to much of it being simply outdated in the present era. Now, mentors who I have worked with in education more recently, yes, absolutely I have taken classroom management styles and pedagogy from them and adapted it to my own classroom.
  • Apr 7 2013: More or less I think I learnt a lot from my teachers:teaching enthusiasm comes from some of them still motivating me in my teaching job.
    I remember all my teachers' love they gave me when I was a student.I feel very lucky for that.It also one of very important reasons for me to give my love to my students as much as I can.
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      Apr 26 2013: Thank you for sharing. I applaud you for paying it forward. Peace.
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    Apr 7 2013: Appreciate your response. One of the key influences which has clearly rubbed off me is improvisational teaching. On occasion, armed with nothing more than a pen (and of course my trusted gray matter), I would deliver a full lecture on calculus or vectors. Never failed to imbue a healthy dose of confidence within students as far as my abilities are concerned. Pretty positive I acquired such a style from the maestros who coached me while I was in school. Peace.
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      Apr 7 2013: I can do that too, but I think that is just experience. My memories of teachers improvising without preparation are actually not so positive.
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        Apr 7 2013: Experience counts for something no doubt, however it is the first hand witnessing of masterful teachers in constant action (a privilege I was fortunate to enjoy) which would inherently influence one's style when he/she becomes an educator down the road. Hence if I may be more specific, I am talking about delivering a lesson with panache, sort of like a performance. To keep the audience entertained and enlightened, regardless how dry the subject matter might be. This IMHO is the real definition of successful improvisational instruction. Peace.
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          Apr 7 2013: This aspect is natural to some of us and not to others, certainly, even if we have observed good speakers. I do know people work on effective speaking and sometimes do that by explicit analysis and copying of others.

          One can see good speaking of this kind modeled in many venues, from the classroom, to the family gathering, to the place of worship, to the stage...
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        Apr 13 2013: I am afraid you are digressing. The essence of consideration is not so much of good speakers in general, but of effective teachers who can ingeniously disassemble sophisticated concepts into palatable forms for the audience of learners to easily internalize, capturing their full attention all this while.

        With regards to your observation that copying others can bring about one's greatness, I am not quite sure I agree with you. I prefer to look on the gentler, more forgiving yet not untrue side of things, ie one can be instead inspired to travel further, to create something which is genuinely his/her own. We can be so much more than just copycats . Peace.
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    Apr 6 2013: I am sure there are aspects of the pedagogy of outstanding teachers from whom I have benefited that are part of my practice and also that there are attributes of really awful teachers that I avoid. I have taught so long that I cannot reliably trace things I do to original influences.

    As you have examples in mind from your experience, please do share them!