5 Graduate Student Teaching Award Winners and 1 Honor Roller (Semester 1 AY2021/2022)

We are pleased to announce that five of our graduate students have recently won the Graduate Students’ Teaching Award (GSTA) for Semester 1 AY2021/2022!


1. What inspires you to teach?

I love learning! I find the process of learning to be highly enjoyable. I recognise my privilege to learn in a safe space and I am grateful to all my teachers who have encouraged me to seek answers to my questions. I wish to impart this love for learning to students.

2. What are some of the major challenges you face as a teacher?

I tend to feel nervous when speaking to a crowd as I worry that I may not be communicating as well as I hope to. However, I try my best to overcome this preparing my tutorial materials well and writing out a script to fall back on!

3. Why do you think you are an effective teacher?

I aim to create a positive and non-judgmental learning environment by maintaining an approachable front, and I always encourage my students to ask questions and share their ideas freely.


1. What inspires you to teach?

I was fortunate to have been taught and inspired by several other educators which has kickstarted my interest to teach. I remember one tutor telling me this vividly, “if you are able to help your peers understand the concepts, you likely also know the materials well enough”. This has benefitted me greatly in understanding concepts as I talk through them with my peers. Hence, I wish to pay it forward by inspiring others to also learn and enjoy learning via teaching. It also inspires me when I see students gaining mastery in the content that they previously struggled with. This makes me feel that I have made a difference in their journey.

2. What are some of the major challenges you face as a teacher?

One major challenge is in reducing the complexity of a concept so that it remains accessible for students who only recently exposed to these domains. This was challenging because we are familiar with the assumptions of the different statistical tests or concepts and so we might gloss over certain information. However, for students who are new to these tests and concepts, they might find the leap in logic challenging or confusing to understand. Hence, I try to ensure that I keep the slides simple enough while maintaining the rigour of the curriculum.

A separate challenge is in keeping the students motivated throughout the module. Because students sometimes might face doubts or uncertainties as they experience difficulties with the content, I try to encourage or acknowledge their efforts whenever possible. I also try to make myself accessible so that the students feel comfortable to reach out and ask me questions of any difficulties. This admittedly takes up a bit more time, but it does alleviate the concerns of students who are more worried about their performance.

3. Why do you think you are an effective teacher?

I think that a two-way communication helps a lot. Many a times, what I expect students to have difficulty in aren’t what they face troubles with. Since then, I’ve consistently asked students to feedback or to highlight areas which they feel I could be clearer in or wished I had placed more attention on. That really helped to improve their understanding and also my confidence along the semester as I see more heads nodding when I explain the concepts. Besides that, spending 5-10 mins to recap key concepts from the previous lesson appears to help students be more confident in what they know. Students often do know how to address the questions, but sometimes they lack the confidence to attempt them in class.


1. What inspires you to teach?

My students, both past and present, are a huge source of inspiration to me. It always brings me immense pleasure when students are passionate about the topic, actively engage in class activities, and ask good questions.

Also, I just like to help others la… hahaha… so it’s really fulfilling when I can be of assistance to students, both academic and beyond ~

2. What are some of the major challenges you face as a teacher?

One of my biggest challenges was to inspire my students to appreciate developmental psychology, particularly those who come into the first day of class thinking they will despise this module simply because they hate children, which is erroneous thinking. I argue that one could still be interested in psychological processes that underpin human development without liking kids (but more on how I try to overcome this in the next question).

3. Why do you think you are an effective teacher?

I think it helps that I’m enthusiastic about developmental psychology, so I guess some of that rubs off on my students #emotionalcontagion… so I guess that helps to attenuate the initial hate that some students experience?? Not sure LOL.

Also, I try to make the concepts “come alive” by applying them to real-life situations and encouraging students to do the same. The real-life application of concepts helps deepen their understanding of the concepts and find value in them.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I constantly ask critical thinking questions to get them to question the validity of certain psychological phenomena and not accept them at face value. Engaging in critical thinking is becoming an increasingly important skill, especially when one is constantly inundated with information in this “information age.”


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