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Mr Desmond Hoo, Director

Mr Hoo teaches English for Secondary School at Basecamp.

Desmond is a firm believer in progressive learning. He believes that learning is a continual process and it need not be onerous and dry. 

He brings in character development insights into the GCE 'O' Level English syllabus through games and hands-on illustration of writing concepts to keep lessons fun and engaging. His students enjoy his lessons as they learn more through experience rather than by rote.

Having started his career as an educator, Desmond was voted the Most Awesome teacher at an autism-focused school for two consecutive years in his ongoing 3-year special needs education tenure. Concurrently teaching at a leading learning centre in Singapore, Desmond gained extensive experience in teaching the MOE English syllabus (1128 & 1190) with valuable insights on global perspectives.

Desmond graduated with a 2nd Upper Honours eqv. in Communication Studies from SIM University, and was awarded the Vincent Khoo Kah Tat Award.

Helping learners improve and get good grades

How does your education align with your teaching today?

My tertiary training equipped me with the techniques to communicate new techniques of traditional concepts to students. There are a myriad of techniques out there which are good for students, but the clear delivery of the same might be found wanting. With a new status updates on social media platforms, or a new fad like the fidget spinner fighting for their attention daily, it is crucial that education keeps pace with directing their attention towards what matters in the long term. Instant gratification are often too short-sighted, which is a pain to ratify down the road. My education in Communications helped train my mind towards innovative teaching methods.

What are the exam skills that you will focus on?

Though we are in the business of future-proofing our students' education, we are also mindful how they need to be prepared for the existing exam formats and requirement. Thus, apart from exposing weekly to the current affairs and trends of the world, I use the same themes to cover all components of the Paper 1 (Writing), Paper 2 (Comprehension), and Paper 4 (Oral Communication). I will cover the answering techniques for all of the above, save Listening Comprehension.

More than just grades

What is your subject useful for in the future economy?

English is a language subject which will transcend all developments of the modern economy. In spite of the technological advancements, connectivity and communication becomes all the more crucial for their survival in the future. To understand how English plays a part in our education system in the future, we must first understand its place in the past. Communication has been a tool for survival since the Stone Age, where homosapiens communicate to achieve a certain goal together for greater success collectively. Likewise, English will remain a corner stone for all collaborations, be it in the virtual space or physical domain.

In fact, written communication will be ever more crucial when face-time lessens with the "shrinking" of the world through technology. Clear communication will be a much needed skill in the future economy.

How will I help students be ready for the future in my teaching?

The first 30 minutes of the lesson will be dedicated inform students of the latest trends of the week's theme. Students will watch videos, TED talks, and news reports of the development, and then discuss how this applies to their world today. This exercise forms a two-pronged benefit where student gets to be exposed to the current and future affairs; and practising the skill of putting thoughts/opinions to paper, forming sound argument through exposition.

The next 30 minutes will be the skill focus of the lesson, where students will learn how to apply the given concept (usually already covered in school) in the exams. This portion will help to concretise or gain relevance in what they have learnt in school. Honing this skill is important in their future careers where they have to constantly be kept abreast of new skills or learning in order to do their jobs more effectively. Such practices inculcate the spirit of learning.

The last hour of the lesson will be independent practice, having the opportunity to put what they have learnt in the last hour to actual exam components. In doing so, clarify with the right questions and understand that practice makes perfect, a piece of learning that you would know to be essential in our survival even today.