Learning a new subject can be a daunting prospect – especially when most of your classmates have already been introduced to the topic in previous years. But thanks to his hard work, dedication, and the outstanding mentoring of his teacher, Mr John Rogers, Kanggyun Kim (Andrew) has moved from strength to strength in his International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) economics studies.
“This was the first time I had studied economics,” explains Andrew. “Most of my friends had done IGCSE economics, so compared to them, I had no idea about this subject.”
However, with the support and guidance of Mr Rogers, Andrew has flourished, gaining a strong appreciation for the valuable lessons the subject has to offer.
“I find economics intriguing as it helps me understand how the world works. It makes me feel smart as I can now describe different economic situations happening worldwide, such as the causes behind hyperinflation or recession, which I often see on the daily news. The most exciting part is applying these economic theories to my life, like knowing when to invest money and the best options available.”
According to Andrew, Mr Rogers’ classroom is an engaging, safe and reflective space where students feel comfortable raising questions and querying content to improve their learning.
“Mr Rogers’ classes were always entertaining as he would cite several real-world examples for each different economic theory to make things more relevant for us. And if we needed more clarification, he was always happy to explain it again, using more accessible terms and examples.
“Plus, we would always be given a short quiz whenever we finished each topic. This was incredibly helpful in reinforcing our knowledge and preparing us for actual tests. Also, he would sometimes crack scary jokes about our exams which made our whole class nervous but were hilarious at the same time.”
However, it wasn’t only the bad jokes that Andrew enjoyed. The sixteen-year-old was a big fan of Mr Rogers' interactive teaching style and the way in which he encouraged his students to grow and constantly challenge themselves.
“He placed a firm trust in us, and instead of being disappointed if we didn’t perform as well as we had hoped, he gave us time to improve, guiding us to be better and not make the same mistakes again. Mr Rogers told us that learning occurs when we step out of our comfort zone and that if we can’t escape the fear of making a mistake, we will never learn – even when we grow into adults. So instead, he would suggest we try things by taking a simple action, such as reading the textbook or asking for help if we find the content a struggle.
“After listening to this advice, I started to view the concerns that I faced while learning differently, and instead of getting anxious, I studied and focused on the ways to improve and become a great learner.”
In fact, Andrew has found AIS to be an extremely supportive environment throughout his educational journey. Since joining the school as a Year 7 student, he believes his teachers have empowered his peers and himself to reach for the stars and maximise their potential.
“AIS teachers are very supportive. If I'm grappling with a particular concept, rather than just telling me the answer, they guide me to find the correct answers by myself and improve my critical thinking skills, which is very important for IB. If I feel depressed or have mental health issues during my exams, my teachers stay next to me, and we try to solve the problems together. In academics and health-wise, AIS teachers try to champion their students to be the best.”
And with that in mind, the highly-motivated Year 12 student has undoubtedly made the most of the opportunities AIS has provided over the past five years, including the first stage of his pre-university IBDP course.
“This year, I had to write a huge number of internal assessments, finish up my CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) experiences and projects, and learn a subject I had never encountered before, called ToK (Theory of Knowledge). But it was amazing to see myself becoming a desired global citizen while doing these things.
“Throughout IB, I have started to discuss and evaluate issues from different perspectives, and it's become a habit now of making perfect claims by stating adequate evidence and examples. IB also makes me aware of society's current issues and induces critical thinking about how to solve the homework that my generation needs to solve.”
As for what the future holds, Andrew has been so inspired by AIS's faculty and IB curriculum that he is seriously considering a career in education.
“I have several dream jobs in mind, but an IB teacher is definitely on my list. I have seen great IB educators in this school and am intrigued by the idea of teaching students. Although it’s still early days, in the future, I hope to become an IB teacher like those at this school and guide my students brilliantly to create my own vibrant class.”