Junior College

The Role of Geographical Investigations In Developing Students’ Cognitive Thinking

"In Singapore, there has been a shift in education towards more inquiry-based learning to equip students with skills for the future. Geographical Investigations (GI) have been introduced as a form of geographical inquiry where students participate actively in knowledge construction through fieldwork. Fieldwork deepens students’ understanding of content and aids in students’ affective, social, and cognitive development. However, there is limited local research on the value of Geography fieldwork in influencing students’ cognitive thinking. This paper, therefore, examines the role of GI in developing Secondary students’ cognitive thinking in Geography. Using a case-study approach, Secondary 2 students in one secondary school were interviewed before and after their GI on the topic of Transport. Data was analysed using an adapted model of Bloom’s Taxonomy. All students showed an improvement in higher-order cognitive skills after GI, specifically in the development of higher-order cognitive thinking skills and deeper thinking at particular cognitive levels."

A Dialogic Teaching Approach: Talk Moves to Deepen Students’ Understanding in the Geography Classroom

"In most Singapore classrooms, lessons are typically characterised by the traditional Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF) instructional sequence. Such an approach limits students’ ability to engage in meaningful classroom discussions and is contrary to achieving 21st Century skills. This paper analyses the power of dialogic talk in the classroom to engage students in more critical thinking and learning. This paper examines how the quality of dialogue and learning outcomes in the classroom will be influenced when students are conferred more authority in the classroom and positioned as significant figures of knowledge construction. This topic of study is significant as the foundation of Singapore geography is underpinned by an inquiry approach, where knowledge construction is anchored upon asking key and guiding questions."

Teaching Place, “Placing” the Learner: Understanding the Geographies of Place

"In this paper, I underscore the importance of “placing” the learner, or allowing them to engage in place-based learning activities to understand the concept of place. This is in support of arguments that hold place as open and fluid. Such a view of place is particularly relevant in this globalized age where transnationality characterizes many of our social relations. I draw on a place-based class activity that I did with my AAG10D (Singapore in Asia) students at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore in 2016 to emphasize the importance of place-based activities and their implications for understanding the geography of place. We focused on two translocal places in Singapore - Clarke Quay and Lucky Plaza - which are widely held as places for, respectively, expatriates and low-waged migrant workers. Such an activity allows students to experience the social interactions and processes that make up a place, and to recognize that place is not simply a location of things nor a container of human activities. Finally, I suggest that placing learners equips geography students with basic disciplinary knowledge that challenges them to think about being-in-the-world, which is what (human) geography is about."

Immigration, Population, and Foreign Workforce in Singapore: An Overview of Trends, Policies, and Issues

"Immigration has been a “hot button” issue in Singapore in recent years. This paper provides an overview of the key policies, trends, and issues relating to immigration, population, and foreign workforce in the city-state. The paper begins by looking at Singapore’s current immigration landscape, and then examines the city-state’s foreign manpower regime, which constitutes the institutional foundation for immigration to Singapore. The highly intertwined immigration and foreign labour policies are then explained along two fundamental underlying dimensions – economy and demography. The paper ends by looking at local grassroots society’s reactions to the influx of immigrants in recent times, and the ways in which the Singapore government has since tried to address such concerns."

Using an International Videoconference in Problem-Based Inquiry Projects: The Role of Public Voice, Audience, and Positionality

"This article discusses and reflects upon a problem-based inquiry project that culminated in an international videoconference between multiethnic and multi-faith secondary students from Macedonia and the United States. The videoconference provided an opportunity for students to share their action plans, which proposed methods of addressing local problems or issues students had identified through their inquiry. This article focuses on three ways students engaged with the project and videoconference: inquiry, audience, and public voice. These aspects of the project illustrate how the students’ positionality on their chosen problem/issue shifted as they developed skills and knowledge through their inquiry. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for future problem-based inquiry projects in secondary schools."

The Elected Presidency

"Scheduled for September, the coming presidential election is one of the most anticipated public events of 2017. While the populations of larger democratic countries have to contend with numerous regional and local elections that may cause electoral fatigue, Singaporeans get to express their democratic voice only once every two to three years. This year’s election, though, is especially anticipated by the Malay community because for the first time, the presidential election will be reserved for Malays."

Teaching for Historical Understanding (TfHU): Developing a Discipline-based Curriculum Model at Tanjong Katong Secondary School

"This paper reports the experiences of the History Unit at Tanjong Katong Secondary School (TKSS) in their attempts to craft a discipline-based curriculum model focusing on instruction that develops students’ historical understandings. The paper describes the project structure and development of the Tanjong Katong (TK) Teaching for Historical Understanding (TfHU) approach to historical instruction, shares some reflections by teacher participants involved in the project, and highlights several learning points and implications for curriculum change at TKSS. The history teachers at TKSS recognised that the TfHU project had further developed their awareness of more effective methods to teach history, and were confident that the focus on disciplinary understandings will enhance student engagement in their history classrooms. They demonstrated strong belief that students can be made to understand complex issues in history if they are given the proper tools or cognitive challenges suitably crafted to develop deeper thinking about aspects of the discipline."

Developing Conceptual Understanding in Social Studies Using Technology and Discussion

"Social studies concepts are tools for understanding our experience, the past, and the social world. They are broad, organizing ideas that can be expressed in one or two words and they are defined by key characteristics or attributes. They help us think about groups of objects, actions, people, issues, or relationships in the social world and can be applied to make sense of new situations and information that we encounter in our experience. Concepts help us learn by organizing new information and experience into mental constructs or schema. In social studies, concepts like trade-offs, identity, integration, and interdependence serve these purposes."

Towards an Effective Professional Development Model to Deepen History Teachers’ Understanding of Historical Concepts

"This small-scale study explores professional development (PD) designs for history teachers in Singapore and proposes a PD model that uses a job-embedded collaborative approach. Drawing from research on effective PD and data gathered from questionnaires and interviews conducted with participants involved in a PD workshop, this paper considers the value of collaborative PD approaches aimed at promoting and encouraging historical thinking. The authors conclude that PD history workshops that are carefully designed to support the development of teachers’ professional knowledge bases, and ones that offer opportunities for teachers to actively translate conceptual ideas into concrete teaching strategies, are critical in transforming beliefs and practices that can work towards more robust historical thinking and discourse in the classroom. "

Diversity: Approaches to building conceptual understanding in the Social Studies classroom

"With the heightened emphasis placed on students’ understanding of core content or key concepts in the 2016 Social Studies curriculum in secondary schools, it remains of utmost interest for the social studies teacher to revisit some of the key strategies and beliefs involved in building conceptual understanding in the classroom. This pedagogy was developed to strengthen students’ understanding and appreciation of key concepts and principles while encouraging them to apply these concepts to their understanding of the world around them. This article thus seeks to explore the various pedagogical beliefs, instructional strategies and challenges that would be applicable for the classroom teacher in the conduct of the new Social Studies syllabus. For the purpose of this article, we will be touching on the concept of diversity to anchor our discussions. Having a good grasp of the key concept of diversity is an essential part of students' learning as this concept forms the building blocks for gaining a better understanding about the issue on ‘Living in a Diverse Society’."

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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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