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Top-notch teaching is a recipe for success

Luke Gillin has experienced an array of high-quality teaching since first walking through the gates of AIS almost a decade ago. Now in Year 12, the logical and analytical student shares his thoughts and experiences about two of his favourite subjects – mathematics and biology – and the teachers guiding him towards success.

According to Luke Gillin, the team of expert educators and specialist teachers at AIS inspire students to capitalise on the school's many opportunities. By encouraging friendly competition and setting high but manageable standards, students can maximise their potential in an engaging and academically stimulating environment.

With plans for a future career in genetics research, 16-year-old Luke is passionate about the life sciences, with a particular interest in biochemistry. So it's no surprise that biology is one of his favourite subjects.

"Biology lets me understand and appreciate the complexity of life," says Luke. "My fascination stems from being able to understand my body and the mechanics that go along with it. For example, the idea of evolution, or the billions of cells that work in conjunction to keep me breathing, truly amazes me."

As a result, Year 12 biology teacher, Mr Trent Richardson, plays a significant role in developing Luke's in-depth understanding of the subject.

"Mr Richardson is an expert in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), and his infectious enthusiasm, passion and comprehensive knowledge are very motivating. I'm always excited to attend class, and Mr Richardson is a major reason for my continuing interest in the study of living organisms."

"His interactive teaching style reinforces engagement and helps to steadily progress our understanding. And he incorporates real-life, relevant examples when explaining, empowering us to solidify and master complex biological concepts.

"Additionally, Mr Richardson has shown me how crucial it is to be excited about learning, and because of this, I have become more diligent with my self-directed study. Plus, he encourages us to do our own research, enabling us to apply this knowledge to our interests."

However, biology is not the only subject with which Luke has a particular affinity. He is also a dedicated mathematician.

"Math is a subject that lets me develop my problem-solving skills by tackling some of the universe's most interesting phenomena. The presence of math in the real world is evident, and the skills I learn in class allow me to view the world from more of a theoretical perspective which I find extremely captivating."

Luke has been under Mr Stuart Evans' expert tutelage for the past two years and has found an empathetic, relatable and accommodating mentor in the experienced math teacher.

"Mr Evans is a proactive, approachable teacher who knows every detail of every concept. Aside from being an excellent educator, his greatest skill is understanding his students – how we feel emotionally and mentally – to help us make the most of the IBDP experience.

"He supports us to work at our own pace, so we can focus on specific areas that may need more attention. And he introduces relevant examples to make lessons more engaging, which enables us to better visualise the concepts. 

"Most importantly, he has taught me the value of consistent practice and perseverance. When I struggled last year, his continued encouragement saw me receive a satisfying score in my Additional Maths course. Understanding how to turn mistakes into learning opportunities is a life lesson I cherish."

And if that wasn't enough, the highly motivated student is likewise enjoying his IBDP English paper.

Says Luke, "It facilitates our understanding of real-world issues through critical analysis of the media we consume and takes an interesting, contemporary approach to language and literature, which is intriguing."

In fact, Luke has been enjoying the entire two-year IBDP, but he does admit the course has its challenges.

"The IBDP prepares us for university, and my peers and I have developed a high level of understanding across every subject while also gaining the independence we need to succeed. Time management is probably the biggest challenge for most students, and the IBDP requires self-discipline and organisation. However, it helps us build strong relationships with our peers, and the skills we develop are incredibly rewarding."

When Luke isn't focusing on academics, he is actively involved in various co-curricular activities to further enhance his school life.

"I'm prominent in AIS's musical community, playing the saxophone in the concert band and guitar in the rock band. I like to be involved in school sports too. I'm captain of the swim team and a member of the basketball, volleyball and rugby teams. And I enjoy the athletics activities the school offers.

"Being at AIS for nearly ten years has allowed me to develop my leadership skills as well. I have been a House Captain, an SRC member and now, the new Head Boy. I am extremely grateful and appreciative of the opportunities that the school has provided for me."

Luke with biology teacher, Mr Trent Richardson
And with math teacher, Mr Stuart Evans