Principal: Ms Ng Ngoing Keng
The popular American sci-fi author Ursula Le Guin wrote, ‘It is good to have an end/ to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.’ Four years after merger, Tanglin Secondary School is well on our journey towards achieving our vision of nurturing Tanglinians to be the Leaders of the Future, Pride of the Community. As we continue our journey into uncharted waters, it is important for us to enjoy the experience of exploring new lands and seeking new horizons.
On this odyssey, we embark on various exciting activities, gain valuable experiences and help our students enjoy success. As we steer our students towards their next port of call, we aim to spark in them a sense of wonder and curiosity so that their lives are enriched and they have what it takes to continue their lifelong journey of constant learning and discovery.
This is especially important with the significant changes to the education system over the past few years, as well as in the years to come. As mentioned by Minister Ong, if learning is just marked by constant stress and a lack of joy, it would be almost impossible for students to remain lifelong learners. Therefore, in Tanglin, we try to meet our students’ needs by providing a wide range of different opportunities for Tanglinians to find joy in learning.
More recently, Minister Ong has also mentioned that Singapore will be doing away with streaming. He likened it to having “one broad river, with each fish negotiating its own journey” instead of “fishes swimming down three separate streams.” Tanglin has already started on this process by having students of different streams mix through the house system and cohort camps. In addition to that, VIA projects will be carried out at CCAs rather than at class level.
We attempt to deliver an innovative curriculum that aims not just to provide Tanglinians with sound academic education, but also one that is balanced and well-rounded, developing them to their full potential. Through authentic projects, we hope for them to discover their talents, hone their strengths and nurture them into individuals who give back to society.
Some programmes which attempt to achieve our objective include our Applied Learning Programme: Tanglin PLUS, the Tanglin Arts Programme, YES!, and the CAPTSLAM -TSS Mentorship Programme.
Our ALP, Tanglin PLUS, stands for Perspectives and Literacies in Understanding Society. Students gain broader perspectives and acquire literacies that help them navigate this VUCA world. In providing authentic student learning experiences, we have engaged partners like the Singapore Botanic Gardens to support our programmes. Through these wonderful opportunities, students are not only equipped with the 21st Century Competencies like effective communication and critical thinking skills, but also develop a better understanding of the country they live in and are prompted to reflect on how they too can contribute to the larger society.
Tanglin’s distinctive Learning for Life Programme is in the arts, where every Tanglinian is exposed to different art forms such as guitar, dance and the visual arts. Not only do the students learn these art forms, they also get to perform and showcase them. This not only allows our students to discover their interests, but also hone their talents and skills.
The Arts Fiesta@TSS, started last year, aims to reach out to our community through the arts and build an inclusive society that embraces people with different talents and abilities.
In addition, students’ horizons are also broadened through collaboration with partners such as the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the National Arts Council which offer exciting glimpses of career opportunities in the arts scene. One such platform for students to pursue their talents and deepen their skills is the NAFA-TSS Dance Education Twinning Programme. We believe in the importance of giving our students the space to express themselves creatively so that they become more confident of themselves and their ability to give back to society. In November last year, we collaborated with APSN Tanglin and put up a hip hop dance item at the performing arts festival at Resorts World Sentosa.
YES! stands for Young Engineers’ Space, which is our collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to promote our students’ interest in STEM education. SIT lecturers and undergraduates mentor our students to give them a glimpse of how the STEM subjects can be applied and nurture their aspirations for further studies.
Under the mentorship programme with NUS, undergraduate volunteers from the College of Alice and Peter Tan mentor our CCA leaders to help build their character and resilience. These volunteers and our students then travel overseas to interact and engage in cultural exchange.
More than being recipients of the kindness of others, we also want to pay it forward by stepping into the shoes of role models as elder brothers and sisters that others can look up to. A relatively new and bold initiative is our mentoring programme with Clementi and Qifa Primary School. Our own student leaders collaborated with the prefects from these two primary schools to work on a school event or project. Under our student leaders’ guidance, the Primary 4 and 5 Clementi Primary prefects learnt to plan a team-building component for their Primary 3 Bonding and Leadership Day. The Qifa primary prefects on the other hand learnt problem-solving skills from us. Many of our student leaders involved in this initiative were part of the mentorship programme with NUS.
The mentorship tie-up is one of several programmes which helps our students in their journey of self-discovery. This year, we are embarking on a new approach to Values in Action programmes, where students come up with their own initiatives in their CCAs. This is indeed meaningful as students not only get to find out more about the many segments of our society who need their help in the research process, they can also better use their talents and skills nurtured through their CCAs to give back.
We are extremely proud of our Tanglinians who have taken the initiative to contribute to the larger community. One example is our recent graduate, Maximus Lee. Maximus initiated a breakfast programme for his schoolmates last year, where he served loaves of bread to friends and schoolmates who did not have time or the resources to have breakfast before coming to school. Maximus welcomed all students to join in the get-together and made them feel part of the larger school community.
If our students are the enthusiastic passengers on our ship, our dedicated and passionate staff are the crew who steer the vessel through the seas and towards wonderful new destinations. They are willing to go the extra mile to create a conducive environment for learning for Tanglinians
Our teachers understand that to be the best that they can be, they must continue to learn and innovate. Only then can they continue to be effective in addressing our students’ changing needs. We are also proud to have teachers who are also keen to share our learning with others both internally and externally.
There’s a quote that goes, “Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finishing line, that we fail to find joy in the journey.” As we seek to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves, let’s remind ourselves to find joy in learning and teaching and remember that we need each other on this odyssey, standing shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand. I believe that when we do this, we will be able to live by the school motto: Everyone is Unique, All can Succeed.