I was born and grew up in the international community of Hong Kong, which gave me a global outlook from a very early age, including a familiarity with the many different cultures around me. This was a hugely enriching context in which to find out about the world, allowing me to develop an appreciation of what different cultures value in terms of behaviour and learning. This diversity encouraged a rather open minded and flexible attitude to life, and in my case the experience that learning is most meaningful when it is personal.
I've always been passionate about travel and exploring the world: its natural beauty, variety, people, wisdoms and customs, arts and history, etc.. I enjoy meeting a wide range of people and hearing about their experiences and views. I have always enjoyed working with children and engaging with their thinking and imaginations. In fact I have been interested in learning and education throughout my life. Learning and teaching are most satisfying when there is a dialogue, space to discuss freely and to think creatively. Good teaching is inspiring, deep understanding is inspiring, observing the wish to learn is inspiring. Creating learning situations where children become more thoughtful, more curious, more fascinated and more open minded has always been very rewarding for me.
Education and work experience
I attended university in England, first studying psychology at Nottingham University followed by a PhD at the London University Institute of Education. My research was about children's levels of understanding of what they read, and this developed my interest in the relationship between how ideas are presented and what is actually understood. I became interested in concept-mapping and other techniques which could be used to improve understanding. The area of creativity also fascinated me, including the question of how best to meet the educational needs of bright and gifted children. All these aspects come together in my work as a curriculum developer where I create materials that inspire and allow children to learn more creatively, with more depth and understanding, to take a wider perspective and see more connections, to enjoy their learning more.
Since living in the Netherlands I have been developing materials for teachers and children to promote a broader, deeper, more satisfying and more integrated approach to learning. I have developed a method of representing enriched themes (projects or topics) as visual overviews, a kind of enriched concept map which organizes the thematic information and includes stimulating questions and learning activities. These enrichment materials are for regular (mixed ability) groups in primary and (lower) secondary schools, as well as specifically meeting the needs of gifted children and their teachers.