Retraction of invitation to hearing-impaired teacher “a mistake”, says MOE

“Susan Elliot has spent three decades in education and taught thousands of students. She is bright, articulate, and has a great sense of humor,” writes Mr Anthony Mullen on the Teacher Magazine website. “She teaches social studies and history to mainstream and hearing-impaired students-all in the same classroom. Her unique ability to teach social studies and history to both “regular” and hearing-impaired students in the same classroom is a remarkable display of master teaching.”

Her credentials were so impressive that the Singapore Ministry of Education invited her to the Teachers’ Conference to be held  in September in Singapore this year.

However, when the MOE learnt that Ms Elliot was hearing-impaired, it withdrew its invitation to Ms Elliot. According to Mr Mullen, who was named the 59th National Teacher of the Year in the United States, the MOE attributed the invitation and then its retraction as a “miscommunication”. “The so-called discovery and subsequent retraction of her invitation was an act of disingenuous statesmanship because the Singapore education officials knew all along that Susan was deaf,” said Mr Mullen whose article was widely circulated on the Internet and social networking site Facebook.

In reply to a query by The Online Citizen over the incident, the MOE said “the withdrawal of our invitation to Ms Susan Elliot was a mistake on our part” which resulted from “our misunderstanding about the need for interpreters and her professional experience.”

The MOE says the chairman of the Organising Committee for the September conference has since spoken to Ms Elliot personally to convey the ministry’s apologies. “We should have clarified these matters before making the decision,” it said in its reply to TOC.

“Ms Elliot has accepted our apology and the Organising Committee is delighted that she will participate at the Teachers’ Conference in September. We look forward to her contributions in making the Conference a success,” the MOE said.

The conference, held once in two years, is an opportunity for teachers to be engaged in in-depth inquiry into educational issues and pedagogical concerns. Internationally renowned speakers and fellow teachers will share on educational issues. The conference will focus on two key ideas: the professional practice and the practitioners. One of the strands of the theme for the meeting is “Enhancing the professional practice of teachers” and the other is on “Teachers as learners, teachers as leaders.”

The event will take place on 6 September and 7 September at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore.

Andrew Loh


Read more about the Teachers’ Conference here.

Picture from:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments