Pointers from the good guide of ACE Academy
Horace Cheng, facilitator at ACE Academy, is a firm believer in inspiring and guiding students to learn rather than merely feeding them with information. He does not see himself as a teacher but more of a guide and pointer to facilitate students’ learning. He tells Wong Yat-hei he hopes to help students to learn by getting them to develop the correct way of thinking and engaging them in a mental journey.
What is your academic background?
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree at Seattle University in the United States.
How do you start your day?
I start by checking my teaching schedule, then I prepare for my classes by studying my lesson plans and getting the materials ready. I also test class activities and experiments to make sure they are interesting enough and can be done by students. I teach in the afternoon.
What does your job entail?
I am a facilitator – I do not teach, I facilitate. It is easy to find a simple piece of information nowadays. A way of thinking, however, is not something you can easily acquire by just googling it. It is something you will have to experience yourself.
Instead of feeding my students a stack of words, I take them on a mental journey. We discuss and discover scientific concepts through different scientific experiments and activities. I stir things up and the students learn in the process.
I am also involved in activity development and testing, equipment maintenance and packing, and other forms of class-preparation work.
What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The major challenge here is to be able to turn something that seems boring, academic and technical into something that is fun and requires hands-on activity so that students can learn in the process.
What are your plans?
I love working with kids. Teaching kids requires a lot of skills, patience and creativity. It is a profession. I plan to keep on inspiring children and to pass on my passion in science and technology to them.
Any advice for those who are interested in teaching?
The most important thing is you must love working with kids. You have to be patient and detail-minded. A one-hour class can take you three days of planning and preparation from scratch. Also prepare yourself to face challenges. Always look from the students’ point of view. Knowing their way of thinking and learning can help you to know how to teach well. Do research and read books and other materials that are related to what you are teaching.