Muhammad was on track to be an engineer, but a teaching assignment with at-risk students at a secondary school redirected his path. As part of his PhD research he developed the RAP teaching approach (‘Relevant, Personal and Appealing’) for STEM subjects to better engage students, particularly those less academically inclined. He designs his lessons so that they relate concepts to the real world and students’ own experiences, and are appealing enough to keep students intrinsically motivated and on task.
His curriculum consists of multi-disciplinary projects, like building toys for telling stories to special needs children, and making candy floss to explore thermal physics. This approach has contributed to a 100% pass rate in exams, and students who failed science in primary school now achieve distinctions in science at graduation.
Muhammad has shared his approach with other teachers across Singapore and internationally through articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, workshops and mentoring. His work has been recognised with numerous awards, including the President’s Award for Teachers in 2014 and the Public Service 21st Century Innovation Award in 2015.
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