A Peak Behind the Scene – Learning about the job of our Science Educators (Life Sciences)

Nguyen Pham Dan Anh is a Secondary 4 student who underwent an internship at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) in 2015. She has written this blog post during her internship at SCS.

Nura is one of the Senior Science Educators at Science Centre Singapore, under the Life Sciences Department. I got the chance to sit down and ask her some questions about her job here at the DNA lab, teaching biology and organizing events.

DNA Lab photo

What is a typical day of work for you?

Nura: “A typical day would comprise of classes both in the morning and in the afternoon. At other times when there are no classes, I also develop laboratory programmes.”

What do you teach to the children?

Nura: “I teach Biology. For primary level classes, I will teach them to use the microscopes, about cells, how to extract DNA. For higher level classes, sometimes, we teach them how to analyse DNA. For even higher level classes, like the Junior College students, we teach them how to extract and analyse their own DNA.”

What are the responses from the children whom you teach?

Nura: “The children really enjoy what they are doing because it’s really nice and hands-on. There are even some students inspired to go into Biology after attending the classes!”

How do you prepare your lessons?

Nura: “Different educators design different classes. After all this development work, we get the certification. For all the items (props, equipment) required for the lessons, we have very capable lab assistants like Miss Mirah to ensure everything is in place.”

What do you most enjoy about being a science educator?

Nura: “Actually, I like seeing the students enjoy science, especially when we are able to change their perception of science so that they begin to like the subject. I enjoy being part in this process.”

Why did you decide to become a science educator?

Nura: “I’ve always liked working with kids. I enjoy teaching but I don’t want to go into full-time teaching, so I chose this job.”

Have you ever wanted to put teaching to a halt and do some researching?

Nura: “I’ve done research before. Each work has its own interesting aspect but I like to interact with people more than to do research.”

What impact do you hope to make on the children?

Nura: “I hope to help them enjoy themselves while learning and not feel like they’re being forced.”

You are the one who initiated and carried out the project Kampong Science. Where did you get the idea from? Can you explain the name Kampong Science?

Nura: “Kampong means village. Long time ago, people lived in villages, not apartments. Kampong gives us the feeling of something historic.

Kampong Science was a collaboration with Regular Senior Volunteer Project (RSVP). They had the Science Volunteer month in September 2015. So, before that, there were a lot of events leading up to it. One of the events that they do with us was this Kampong Science event, linking to SG50. There are a lot of things about our heritage, giving it back. At the Science Centre, we want to make it slightly different. People typically showcase and play the games from our grandparents’ time. We also want to show the technologies and the science behind the game. They can learn through playing.”

What do you think about how students are taught science in schools?

Nura: “Well, when I was a student, students just copy down what the teachers said. I don’t know whether it’s still the same now but science is supposed to be explorative. With science, you can discover the world!”

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