Junior College

Shifting Scales of Time and Space: Establishing Connections Across the Humanities

"Meaningful understanding of history and geography involves being able to identify and establish connections across time and space scales (An et al., 2015; Bain, 2005; Baker, 2003; Foskett, 1999). Nonetheless, one key problem in the history and geography curricula of schools today is this lack of connectivity and sense of scale. Thus, it is appropriate to find out how to help teachers and students expand their disciplinary thinking towards a more holistic (or interdisciplinary) approach that encourages them to shift scales and make connections across time and space. To answer this question, this article proposes a potential conceptual framework in which History and Geography, as interdisciplinary subjects, can conduct meaningful dialogues with each other so that students and teachers can extend their thinking to deepen their understanding of both disciplines and to identify connections across scales of time and place. This framework will be introduced through two initiatives, The Historian’s Lab (HL) and The Sustainability Learning Lab (SLL), funded by an EduLab grant, and currently being developed by the staff in the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group (HSSE AG) in the National Institute of Education (NIE), (Singapore). However, it is important to note that this framework is a work-in-progress and will be further modified and developed as the project moves forward."

Causal Layered Analysis: Deconstructing Singapore’s 2015 General Election

"In explaining social phenomena, students are taught to explicate the causal mechanism between independent factors and a dependent outcome. However, this could lead to a superficial analysis of the phenomenon if students were to focus on precipitating factors. Hence, this paper contends that JC students should be exposed to complementary analytical approaches in order to transcend conventional frames of analysis. Inayatullah’s (2004) “Causal Layered Analysis” (CLA) could be an appropriate method to encourage students to unpack surface-level factors by drawing out their underlying and deeper causes. The CLA comprises four levels of analysis: the litany (precipitating causes), social causes (systemic causes), discourse/worldview (ideational causes) and myth/metaphor (core narratives). This can be illustrated by applying CLA to Singapore’s GE2015, which would suggest that the electorate’s voting patterns are not just the outcome of varied precipitating factors, but also the product of the existing political system and ideas about the nation-state."

Developing Historical Habits of Mind through Inquiry

"Teaching history is not simply about getting students to learn “the right stories” or getting them to absorb transmitted knowledge about the past; it requires teachers to find means to develop students’ historical understanding and to help these students make sense of the knowledge imparted through daily classroom instruction. As many of us already recognize, the knowledge we have about the past is never “given” or “just there” for the taking; the manner in which we come to know what we know about the past requires questioning, imagining, contextualising and (re-)constructing. History education researchers across many national contexts would agree that students need to be taught to understand the nature of historical knowledge – how such knowledge is constructed, how evidence is used to develop interpretations or support claims, how evidence/interpretation is adjudged as valid or credible, etc. "

How High’s the Water, Mama? A Reflection on Water Resource Education in Singapore

"Iconic American singer-songwriter Johnny Cash recalled in song a boyhood experience of watching his parents monitor flood conditions at their 1937 Dyess, Arkansas, home by counting the number of front steps the water had risen; 1 step = 1 foot (0.305 m): How high's the water, mama? Five feet high and risin' In introducing his 1959 Columbia release, Five Feet High and Risin’, Cash noted (AZLyrics, 2000-2015): My mama always taught me that good things come from adversity if we put our faith in the Lord. We couldn't see much good in the flood waters when they were causing us to have to leave home, But when the water went down, we found that it had washed a load of rich black bottom dirt across our land. The following year we had the best cotton crop we'd ever had."

The Population White Paper: The hidden rationale for Singaporeans’ concern

"Singapore commemorates its golden jubilee this year with a slew of nation-wide events. This celebration serves as a point of reflection for Singapore’s achievement in the past 50 years. However, it is also timely and crucial to reflect on issues that had sparked tensions amongst the citizenry. The promulgation of the Population White Paper (PWP) and its impact on Singaporeans has been an issue widely written by many academics but the rationale for Singaporeans’ reaction over the PWP has yet to be explored in greater depth."

(Re)constructing the Nation? Representations of Public Housing in School Geography Textbooks

"Within education literature, scholars have argued that schools play an important role in social reproduction. However the literature on the role of specific subjects in this process is less examined. Within geography education, there is a growing interest and critical examination of the purposes of geography teaching. These accounts suggest that the content of school geography fulfils particular social purposes and national ideologies."

The Place of History in Multicultural Education

"As a multi-disciplinary subject, history education has been perennially a case of interpretative management of narrative mythologies. In this, multicultural education as a reform process that strives for dignity, equity and social justice has a natural home in history education not just by affirming and empowering pupils marginalised by hegemonic narratives but through its potential in nurturing multicultural values that can benefit all pupils."

Economic Pragmatism and the ‘Schooling’ of Girls in Singapore

"Women in Singapore today are considered by many to be modern, liberated and progressive. They have been accorded many opportunities for education and employment since the 1960s and appear to have made great strides in many areas of economic and social life in Singapore. An official survey outlined women’s socio-economic and educational achievements in Singapore between 1987 and 1997 thus (Department of Statistics, 1998, p.1) "

‘Little India’: Diverging Destinies in Heritage Spaces

"As a colonial legacy of the spatial and political management of immigrant groups, Little India has evolved during Singapore’s post-independence era to service the needs of a developing community. While closely identified as an ‘Indian’ space by Indian Singaporeans, it has developed significant appeal to other locals and foreign tourists, as well as migrant workers from South Asia."

Anxieties Over Singapore Students’ Conceptions About History and The Past

"Understanding history can be an intellectually challenging task for many students in schools. It requires students to contemplate issues, events and people who had lived in the distant past and who are often far removed (from them) in time and familiarity. Such challenges, however, have seldom been satisfactorily addressed in many history classrooms in Singapore. "

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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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