Get to know Mark Renie, OWIS Suntec’s new head of school, and find out what he’s doing to future-proof students.
If there’s one thing we at HoneyKids love, it’s getting to know the brilliant people behind Singapore’s top international schools. We were lucky enough to chat with Mark Renie, OWIS Suntec’s new head of school. Not only has he been in the international education industry for 18 years, he’s lived in five cities across four countries in Asia, an experience that’s allowed him to foster many lifelong friendships and given him the skills to successfully prepare future global citizens. Here’s what Mark has to say about working at OWIS Suntec…
Hi, Mark! You’ve been working in education for 18 years. What is it about teaching and leading that inspires you?
What inspires me most is knowing that we are preparing our students to succeed in a world that is unpredictable and dynamic. Today’s children will be faced with many challenges along the way and will be called on to address serious global issues. They will need to develop a growth mindset, resilience, and the future-proof skills to be successful global citizens of tomorrow. Supporting my teaching team to help them reach this goal inspires me and informs how I approach my role.
What’s your philosophy towards education?
I believe that school should be a safe and secure learning space for children. The experience they have during these critical years shapes their view of themselves, their potential, and others around them. An engaged, happy, confident, and empathetic child will grow up to be an individual who appreciates and understands differences, boldly protects and advocates for others who are less fortunate, and truly makes a positive impact on the world around them.
How do you think students can benefit from an OWIS education?
There are many elements of OWIS that set us apart from other schools in Singapore while benefiting our students. Our commitment to a values-driven learning environment that emphasizes communication and collaboration helps develop critical skills in our students. Our diversity and celebration of multiculturalism encourages international mindedness within our community. Our student-centered and inquiry-based approach fosters a lifelong love of learning among our students while exposing them to a rigorous curriculum.
Above all, the kindness that underpins everything we do in our community ensures that our students are empathetic and caring individuals who are committed to making the world a better place.
Can you share any lessons you’ve learned about communicating and connecting with kids throughout your years in education?
The most important lesson I have learnt in my time as an educator is to listen and observe. Listening to a child tell a story or recount an experience allows you to connect with them on a personal level. It also lets them know that they are respected and their ideas and opinions are valid and valued. Observing children allows you to recognise those who might be in need of an encouraging word. Lunch is the perfect time for listening and observing as students are eager to tell you all about their lives over a meal. It is also the best time to see how members of the school community treat each other.
What would your students be surprised to know about you?
I love gaming and am a big advocate for educational games. Educational games allow educators to engage learners while providing them with wonderful learning opportunities. With the continued rapid advancements in technology and the inevitable generational gap that has emerged, gaming is one way that this gap can be bridged.
Thank you, Mark!
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This post is in partnership with OWIS.