In summer 2001, at the Hong Kong international airport, he left Hong Kong to continue his education in the United States. There was a curious question that popped in his mind. "I'm leaving here for better education but what is really better in American education system? Is it possible to hybridize the great features from Oriental and American education systems?" He was 16, with absolutely no intention to be a teacher in the future. He stepped his feet on to the American soil, seeking the holy grail in education.
Since then, Mr. Chan has been comparing and analyzing education systems and teaching methods whenever he travels to. He stepped into classrooms in China, Brazil, France, and Hong Kong. He found that there is one core practice that creates sustainable learning and understanding: conceptual teaching and learning. It definitely sounds simple but the execution of such teaching requires great depth of knowledge. During his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, he spent his time exploring students struggle in chemistry and math learning. As he began his career at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, he put research-based practice into his teaching and shared his insights on conceptual teaching in chemistry to the professional community (National Science Teachers Association annual conferences). These professional contributions also earned him a position at Rice University as a facilitator to train chemistry teachers.
Mr. Chan is known for his passion in teaching and education of every single student. He understands that building trust in students mind is the first step in effective teaching. To build such trust, he presents curriculum materials from students' perspectives. He relates materials to students daily life. He presents topics that would induce their curiosity. He teaches to prepare students' better future.
UTeach is a nationally renowned STEM teacher preparation program at UT Austin. Mr. Chan was invited to present during the opening plenary session at the UTeach Annual Conference (2017). Mr. Chan shared how UTeach changed his life and prepared him to be a successful science educator.
When William Chan, AP environmental science teacher at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, moved to the United States from Hong Kong as a teenager, he’d grown accustomed to one pedagogical approach in the classroom: lecture. It wasn’t until he joined the UTeach program at UT Austin that he was able to reframe education to view it from a student-centered perspective... [Read More]