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A Better Way to Teach
Assistant Superintendent Edwin Neo of the ICA is infusing new training methods into his lessons, in and out of the classroom.

When Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Edwin Neo joined the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) five years ago, the thought of becoming a Home Team trainer never crossed his mind. Now, as a Specialist Trainer at the ICA Training Command, he conducts training modules on how to perform systematic and safe searches on vehicles at our land checkpoints. 

Having noted how traditional lessons can be dry, ASP Edwin decided to refresh his training curriculum by injecting interactivity and creativity into his teaching. The end result – trainees who are even more engaged and inspired. 

In recognition of his efforts to incorporate fresh training methods into his lessons, the 30-year-old received the Home Team Trainer of the Year Award at the Home Team Training Excellence Award Ceremony in November 2018. 

Home Team News ICA Edwin Neo
Having completed an operational appointment at Woodlands Checkpoint, ASP Edwin is now eager to share his ground lessons with ICA trainees. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

What made you review your training materials? 
In the past, training was often conducted from a “one-way” perspective; trainers would go into a classroom and just teach, but we didn’t always know if trainees actually understood the lessons. From our time on the ground, we know how vehicle searches should be conducted. So we wanted to internalise our experiences to add value to our training, so that our trainees can learn better. 

How did you change your training curriculum? 
I attended SPECTRA, a course organised by the Home Team Academy and designed in conjunction with the National Institute of Education International, and it broadened my knowledge of how lessons can be developed so that they are more varied and interesting. I learnt to leverage on technology to make lessons livelier and more creative. 

So, when I got back to Training Command, I redesigned my curriculum to include more activities. This helped my trainees better understand how the lessons can be applied to their work. Over time, I also incorporated more games, role-playing, demonstrations and gallery walks, and I noticed that my trainees becoming more engaged and attentive. 
 
Home Team News ICA Edwin Neo 02
In the classroom and beyond, ASP Edwin is committed to making sure ICA trainees get the best possible training. PHOTOS: ICA

What are some challenges faced by Home Team trainers? 
We have to keep an open mind and remember not to be judgmental. Our trainees come from different backgrounds and have a variety of learning patterns and needs, so we have to acknowledge these differences and constantly challenge ourselves to do better. 

Sometimes, we also have trainees who’re more introverted and quiet. The challenge then for us trainers is to encourage them to take part, to further their learning. I always tell myself before I start a class that I must have a game plan for how to make the process of learning more exciting.

What do you love most about being a Home Team Trainer? 
The thing I find most fulfilling about being a trainer is the impact we have on trainees. Trainers don’t only impart knowledge, we also imbue the right attitude and provide them with the skills they need to do well in their tasks. 

Towards the end of a recent basic course I conducted, one trainee came up to me and shared how I’d inspired her to be a trainer. That was really motivating, and it spurred me on to want to do more.



Home Team Training Excellence Award Ceremony 2018
The Home Team Training Excellence Award Ceremony 2018 was held on 21 November 2018. This year, 14 awards were presented to Home Team trainers for their commitment to teaching excellence. Congratulations to all our Home Team award recipients!
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 20 December 2018
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