Learn Like King’s Bangkok by Harry Roberts: Head of Design and Technology
King’s College International School Bangkok believes our 3 pillars - Academic Excellence, a strong Co-curricular Programme, and Pastoral Care System - can strengthen and pave the way for all of our students’ futures. Teachers are the key to childrens’ success, so we always select the best.
Enter Harry Roberts, heading up two key, new departments here at King’s Bangkok: Design and Technology (DT) and Food Technology. These are based in three areas of the school: the Cooking Room, Design and Technology studio and Robotics lab, all of which have recently been decked-out with state-of-the-art equipment and supplies for the students to experiment and create with. He joined our school ready to harness his international experience and ensure that the children have a chance to ‘engage positively with the world and to harness the benefits of technology’, which he believes is extremely important in the digital age and for the leaders of tomorrow.
We recently had a chance to chat with Harry about his thoughts on teaching and his experiences:
1. What is your teaching philosophy? What is your main aim as a teacher?
I believe that knowledge empowers you with the ability to make positive life accomplishments. When students are in the classroom, they can rest assured that the main focus will be their learning; the way in which my lessons are taught and planned will be done with the students’ best interests in mind. My goal as an educator is to lay down a stimulating platform where students can explore, feel challenged, be creative thinkers in whatever they do, and be the best they can be.
2. What is your teaching experience? Tell us about your past roles and how long you have taught. What are some of your proudest moments as a teacher?
Before I decided to become a teacher, I worked as an illustrator and product designer in Germany. I had the opportunity to work with Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and worked on many car designs. On leaving Germany, I studied to be a secondary school teacher and have been in the profession for over 24 years teaching mainly Design and Technology, but also specialising in sculpture and ceramics in Art and Design. I have been very lucky over the years as a teacher and head of department as I have worked and led in both small and large schools but my fondest memories are from schools in Cornwall, where I was born. Looking back, my teaching career has been packed with proud moments, but the ones that stay with me the most are the smiles of achievement on my students’ faces.
3. Why is DT important? How does everyone, not just aspiring engineers, benefit from it?
DT gives young people the skills and abilities to engage positively with the world and to harness the benefits of technology. They learn how products and systems are designed and manufactured through a range of exciting projects, how to be innovative, and how to make creative use of a variety of resources, including digital technologies, to improve the world around them. Design and Technology is a phenomenally important subject. Logical, creative, and practical, it’s the only opportunity students have to apply what they learn across a range of subjects but especially in Maths and Science - directly preparing them for future careers in areas such as Product Design, Architecture and Engineering.
Students studying Design and Technology will be able to express themselves through innovative and imaginative design thinking and to create real, sustainable products that have an important function in our daily lives. Students at King’s Bangkok will be given the best designing skills to prepare them for the modern world of design and ideation. They will be able to recognise design needs and develop an understanding of how current global issues, including integrating technology, impacts today’s world.
4. A lot of schools don’t offer Food Technology, Design and Technology, or access to Robotics equipment. Why do you think King’s Bangkok has placed importance on these subjects and provided such modern facilities for the students?
The Design and Technology department at King’s is well resourced so students can be exposed to a range of learning experiences and key skills. We can offer the traditional design-and-make but also robotics and food technology. These subjects are very important as we head into the future: robotics will play a huge part in future design and manufacturing, healthy diets are key to good health and students are taught how to prepare and cook healthy meals. We even use Lego, as it has come a long way since the modest brick. It helps our students understand coding and building robotics as well as have lots of fun along the way!
5. What would be your best piece of advice for students who have never studied any of these subjects before, or who are struggling, or who are scared of making mistakes?
When students are struggling in DT, I always remember this quote, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” –Steve Jobs
I explain to students DT is all about building ideas and if you make mistakes it’s a part of the building process. It is going to be fine and if everything was perfect it wouldn’t be complete fun!
Coming to King’s has been an exciting journey so far and I am relishing the challenges that are ahead.
6. King’s Bangkok is a community centred around kindness. We also uphold the values of good manners and wisdom. What do these values mean to you?
As a parent, I have always taught my own children to be kind and caring towards others. To be polite and well mannered around people and those you love. As a school community, caring for each other is very important. The values of kindness and wisdom are free and should be used whenever the opportunity occurs in our daily lives. King’s Bangkok celebrates all these things and I am very proud to be a part of our school values.
It is inspiring to learn about Harry’s passion for all his subjects and that he focuses on applying students’ broader knowledge in different subjects to design and create projects. Active consolidation and problem solving is something that we at King’s Bangkok find to be key in academic and wider success, and so applaud Harry and the entire DT and Food Technology department for its efforts to encourage this among our students.