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Faculty Friday: David Burke

David is originally from Shellharbour, Australia. He worked in a number of schools for over 13 years as a Primary Teacher for the New South Wales Department of Education and held Assistant Principal roles in two schools. David took leave from Australia to explore an opportunity at KIS in Jeju and loved living and working in Korea. Next stop was Singapore at Chatsworth International School. He arrived at Dwight Seoul in 2020.

1. What is your role at Dwight School Seoul?
Dean of Technology and Innovation.

2. As the Dean of Technology and Innovation, what technology hardware or applications do you think are most important in the classroom?
I’m a big believer that the most important resource in a classroom is a quality teacher. You can have the most expensive technology in a classroom but it’s the leader of learning and the environment they foster that really has the biggest impact on student learning… and Dwight teachers are great!

As a school using Apple computers, we do so to establish a consistent environment of creativity and productivity. Macs have really good creative software applications, along with the collaborative tools of Google Workspace. Our students and teachers are well equipped with technology in the classroom, allowing them to explore, make and create.

3. What made you decide to work in an education setting? And what is your philosophy?
I was fortunate to have had many amazing teachers throughout my time as a student at school. As someone who had benefited from many enjoyable years in primary and secondary education in NSW public schools, I believed I too could make a positive impact as a teacher for future generations of students. My philosophy is that all students deserve respect and an opportunity to discover their talents and individuality, whilst learning to work together and share in the creation of a happy and safe learning environment.

4. What do you like the most about working at DSS?
Our students are wonderful! Working across the whole school means I get to see so many of them, they make coming to work each day a delight. Also, it is great to have so many great colleagues who I enjoy both working with and spending time with.

5. What are your interests and or hobbies?
I enjoy exploring where I live, following sports (particularly Cricket), and really enjoy reading about history or watching interesting documentaries.

6. Who inspires you and how?
I take a great deal of inspiration from people who are long term strategic thinkers, can envision a better way of doing things or can articulate to everyone how things can, should or will be improved for the benefit of everyone. People like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are typical examples of those who’ve challenged norms in technology. There are also a number of people in education I’ve met or listened to who have inspired me, particularly those who challenge the way schools traditionally operate, by redesigning the organisation of schools to better suit the needs of students. Special mention to Peter Holmes who inspired me to introduce a 1:1 device program at my own school in the early 2010s. Since then I’ve always worked in 1:1 school environments and couldn’t imagine it any other way.

7. What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
Recently, I enjoyed reading Third World to First by Lee Kuan Yew (2000). Mr Lee was the founding father of Singapore and is largely credited for Singapore’s transformation into the modern and prosperous city state that exists today. I consider Singapore to be my second home and gaining an insight into the country’s development, long term planning and Mr Lee’s forethought on global situations that are now evolving was quite a fascinating read.
8. What is one fun fact about you that others may not know or may surprise them?
My friends tell me I am good at voice impersonations!

9. Why would you tell a prospective family to choose DSS?
Our school community is truly international. We have families from all over the world. Our school is not too big and everyone can get to know each other. Of note, our teaching staff is comprised of numerous people from Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States and more!
So in addition to making friends from different countries, students also have the benefit of a varied group of teachers from all over the world. We are truly international.

Keep an eye out for the new DSS News on YouTube, premiering September 10, to see just how great Dwight is.

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