Everyone can learn: There are no boundaries in learning. Only FEAR of failure will keep one away from learning. – Brenda Yeow
Retired Educator / Principal Brenda Yeow has been nurturing children and young adults, imparting values and preparing them for life since she joined the education service in 1963. Catch a glimpse of her heartbeat, values and passion as a learner and educator.
Interview by Angeline Koh
AK: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Brenda: I was a teacher, science textbook writer, school principal and school inspector for 43 years before I retired in December 2005. Since 2006, I embarked on various roles including that of a Childcare Quality Advocate from 2011 to 2013.
AK: What keeps you teaching for so many years?
Brenda: I love children. I see every child as a unique individual who deserves the best. I believe every child can learn and be nurtured to his fullest potential. When given the opportunities, he will soar and shine.
AK: You said that values, when properly imparted, will go a long way in developing a person to become a citizen of the world. Could you elaborate?
Brenda: Values drive behaviour. They are the ideas and beliefs we hold. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of personal values. They guide us in our life journey – be it at home, in school or workplace.
Citizens of the world hold certain values that drive them to be people of good character, that is, they are people of integrity, compassion, honesty , and they take pride in whatever they do; they care for others and are respected by others.
Caring for others, for example, is a value; so is the freedom to express our opinions. Values can range from the commonplace, such as the belief in hard work and punctuality, to the more psychological, such as self-reliance, concern for others, and harmony of purpose. Guided by the right values, one will normally not go wrong in whatever one does.
AK: As an educator, how do you think storytelling can help in imparting these values?
Brenda: People of all ages, especially children, love to listen to or read stories. A good story can capture the children’s attention. Children are by nature curious, they love to explore. Through stories they get to learn about happenings of the past, places they have not visited or adventures not within their abilities.
Stories also encourage thinking and wondering; they create curious individuals who will ‘dream’ and explore beyond their surroundings. Through the good and bad characters in the stories, children also learn to differentiate right from wrong.
AK: You participated at a digital storytelling workshop organised by the Council for Third Age Inter-generational Learning Programme (ILP). Was it difficult learning IT? In what way was it meaningful?
Brenda: Learning of IT was not difficult. But a new skill must be put to practice, if not it will soon be forgotten.
Telling my own story is more natural – I am able to express it with true feelings.
AK: The purpose of the ILP is to link youth and seniors together. How did the storytelling process help in this?
Brenda: Besides, learning the IT skills from the youth, I also had the opportunity to get her views of values and attitudes of the youngsters towards education in the present society. I shared stories of my childhood, teaching experiences in the past and present and also my view of value/character education. She was quite thrilled by the experiences I had.
AK: I always seem to bump into you at places of learning. What keeps you learning?
Brenda: Curiosity – I wanted to find out and learn more and to upgrade and update my knowledge for self development as well as to be able to impart the latest information to those who attend my sharing or workshop sessions.
AK: Brenda thank you for sharing your thoughts. Any parting advice you want to leave with us?
Brenda: Everyone can learn: There are no boundaries in learning. Only FEAR of failure will keep one away from learning.