Jeff Koh Hock Tong struggled as a student, barely passing his classes and receiving low scores on exams. He was unmotivated, but also lacked a mentor who could give him the individual academic attention he needed. So, thinking school just wasn’t for him, Koh started working part time while studying to retake his exams as a private candidate.
Things changed when Koh met a polytechnic lecturer who patiently worked with him to break down the lessons into smaller, more digestible parts and helped him find the motivation he was missing. He eventually graduated as one of the top students in his electrical engineering course, then with a First Class Honors in university.
After some time in industry, he decided to return to academia as an educator at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) so he could help students that were like his younger self. Now Mr. Koh is the section head for National ITE Certificate (Nitec) in Mechanical Engineering at ITE College Central and has inspired and motivated many students over the past 10 years. He was among seven educators to receive the prestigious President’s Award for Teachers in Singapore.
The award recognizes educators for innovative approaches in their curriculum that help bring out the most in their students. Mr. Koh uses make-a-thons—competitions where students form teams to solve a real-world problem—to help his students gain confidence and valuable skills that can translate to their future careers. For these projects, the students use Fusion 360, which is easy to learn and allows them to go from design to manufacturing quickly—small successes that increase their motivation to learn.
Learn more about Mr. Koh’s inspirational make-a-thon projects: