Kho Ee Moi

Affiliations: 
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Evolution of the Primary School Social Studies Curriculum in Singapore: From ‘Moulding’ Citizens to Developing Critical Thinkers

"Most educators in democratic societies are of the view that citizenship education is crucial for the continued existence of a society. There is, however, a lack of agreement about what the goals and purposes of citizenship education should be. Most researchers agree that Social Studies is utilised for three primary purposes, viz., socialisation into the norms of society; acquisition of disciplinary concepts and processes; and the promotion of critical or reflective thinking (Ross, 2006). In Singapore, Social Studies is an important vehicle for citizenship education in Singapore. This paper examines the development of Social Studies as a subject for citizenship education in primary schools and shows that the purpose of Social Studies has for many years, focused on socialising the young into the norms of Singapore society. The primary goal has been the development of moral, law abiding and patriotic citizens. This goal has remained constant although towards the 21st century, there is recognition of a need to include the development of critical thinking in the Social Studies. This, however, is still a fledgling goal and more deliberate effort is required to achieve this. "

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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