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Son of Malaysian migrants wins Aussie state’s local hero award

 | November 14, 2017

Maths teacher Eddie Woo, who provides free ‘Wootube’ video tutorials, is lauded for his approach in destigmatising the subject which is usually seen as difficult and inaccessible.

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Son-of-Malaysian-migrants-wins-Aussie-1PETALING JAYA: The son of a Malaysian couple who became a sensation in Australia thanks to his series of online mathematics tutorials for schoolchildren has been recognised with the 2018 New South Wales (NSW) Local Hero Award.

Sydney-based high school teacher Eddie Woo was among four recipients of the province’s Australian of the Year awards, presented by its premier Gladys Berejiklian during a ceremony in the city yesterday.

His “Wootube” videos, uploaded on YouTube, have garnered more than six million views with a rapidly growing following that has reached about 104,000 subscribers so far.

According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), Woo found that his videos had become highly popular after he created some online tutorials for a bedridden student with cancer five years ago.

He began by uploading videos for the pupil who was too frail to attend school.

“My job is to inspire young people, to hold them up to a higher standard and say you can do better than that,” he was quoted as saying after receiving the award.

“Online lessons broaden my reach and my ability to teach way more than I physically ever could,” he added.

In a statement on the awards, the judges said: “Arguably Australia’s most famous mathematics teacher, Eddie Woo makes maths fun.

“With infectious enthusiasm, the father-of-three’s unique and caring approach to teaching destigmatises mathematics as an inaccessible and difficult subject.”

In an interview with Australia’s ABC News, Woo said his parents, who were both born in Malaysia, had migrated in the 1970s, leaving their families and careers.

“They moved to Australia largely because the education system in Malaysia and many of the opportunities for people growing up in Malaysia are extremely limited.

“They were very insistent that we make English our first language,” he said, adding that he and his two siblings were born in Australia.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Woo, who teaches at Cherrybrook Technology High School in Sydney, has now partnered with online company Mathspace to categorise videos to match curricula across the country.

He also plans to align his more than 3,000 videos with curricula around the world.

“I am trying to expand my reach, not just for students but teachers too,” he was quoted as saying.

“We recently had the HSC (examination), which resulted in a huge spike in traffic on the page.

“Teachers hundreds of kilometres away are now able to use my material to help in the classroom, which is incredible.”

It was reported that the NSW Award recipients are among 32 state and territory recipients who will compete for the four Australian of the Year titles which will be announced on Jan 25 next year in Canberra.


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