HoneyKids had a chat with Dr. Heather Millington, Nexus International School’s new head of secondary, to get the lowdown on why she loves her new job.
If there’s anything us HoneyKids folks love, it’s getting to know the people who make a difference in our kids’ lives daily. Which is why we were psyched to get to know cool school Nexus International School (Singapore)’s brand new head of secondary, Heather Millington! We chat with Heather to understand how her teaching philosophy, passion for inquiry and learning in all forms melds well with Nexus’ culture and approach to education, and why she’s so excited to be part of the school.
Meet Heather Milington from Nexus International School (Singapore)!
Hi Heather! What do you think makes Nexus different from other schools?
At Nexus, we call our children ‘learners’ and not ‘students’, reflecting the core purpose that we are all here to learn. The school’s guiding philosophy, The Nexus Way, aligns with my own values, where learners are encouraged to inquire and learning is not passive.
What do you love most about the school?
While the space and facilities are impressive, it’s the people that make it. Through my conversations with various people, I’ve found that the learners and staff are proud to be here. The learners are happy and creative and have a real can-do attitude. I cannot wait to hear more of their ideas as we go forward.
What do you think about the community at Nexus so far?
I haven’t yet fully experienced our whole community with the current Covid-19 situation, but from the children, parents and staff I have met, I am amazed at how truly international everyone is! The highly qualified staff come from across the globe and have worked internationally in several places; the learners often speak three or four languages. It is very inspiring. There’s a real sense of family and, maybe because of so many different nationalities, it feels warm and homely.
What is the culture like at Nexus?
Learner-centred! Everyone shares a common purpose: to help learners succeed and grow. Children are supported in developing their sense of identity so that they can be confident and contribute to the local and global society. Learning is active and the teachers are creative with their lessons. For example, I joined a maths lesson and the children were in a very animated discussion about Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio. They were using real life experiences to find perfect ratios in nature and iconic Singapore architecture.
How do the teachers make learning fun?
At Nexus, the school’s emphasis is on personalised learning. Teachers strive to understand each learner, find out what they can do and the type of guidance they need to achieve their goals. I’ve found that Nexus teachers are constantly collaborating to ensure their learners receive the support they need to meet their next steps in learning. Learners contribute to lessons and use technology and other means to share and shape ideas. Ideas are valued and learners feel safe to contribute. Nexus teachers also look to create an environment that has academic rigour and high aspirations but in a way which reduces pressure on learners by ensuring learning is made fun.
Why do you think this approach makes a difference?
It helps that the focus is on learning and not teaching. Most people can give instructions but it takes real skill to help someone learn. The approach in helping someone learn is different and does not work if it is entirely led from the front.
Does this align with your personal teaching philosophy?
Yes, I believe that holistic education empowers learners in making a difference. The world is changing rapidly – jobs are being automated, new careers are emerging. Learners need to be open-minded and have a broad skill set so they can adapt and continue to be successful. Most things in life can be used as learning opportunities but you can only do this if you feel valued.
Thank you, Heather Millington!
To learn more about life at Nexus International School (Singapore), check out www.nexus.edu.sg.
This post is sponsored by Nexus International School (Singapore).