Primary School

Teaching Cultural Diversity and Sense of Identity in the Primary Two Social Studies Classroom in Singapore: Analysis and Critique

"According to Rose (2016), images display the world in particular ways through “made meanings” or representations that are socially and culturally constructed. Visual images form part of teaching resources used in classrooms and hence play an important role in the construction of knowledge for children. This paper examines how cultural diversity and identity are taught in Singapore in order to understand the extent to which it fosters or hinders the understanding of the complexities of cultural diversity and identity through a curriculum critique of the reader New Girl in Town which is used within Primary Two classrooms as a teaching resource for cultural appreciation. Through semiology as critical visual methodology, this study examines how dominant ideologies of cultural diversity and identity as defined by the state are represented and reinforced through the images presented in the reader. Key findings from this study highlight the implications of representing cultural diversity and identity as static and non-complex constructions of individuals and the extent to which it hinders the understanding of cultural diversity and identity."

Conceptual Teaching in Primary Social Studies: Teaching the Primary Three Reader,“Making the Little Red Dot Blue and Brown” in a Conceptual Way

"This paper looks at what conceptual teaching is about, the differences between conceptual and traditional teaching and the advantages of conceptual teaching. Different deductive and inductive approaches for teaching the big ideas of subject matter, that is, the concepts and generalisations, are described. The paper also focuses on the teaching of the primary three social studies reader entitled, “Making the Little Red Dot Blue and Brown” using some of the conceptual teaching approaches mentioned. The paper concludes with the importance of teacher subject matter knowledge in conceptual teaching."

Using Investigation and Discussion to Inquire about Issues in Primary Social Studies

"This article begins with the inquiry teaching approach for primary social studies and the rationale for its inclusion in the 2013 syllabus by the Ministry of Education, Singapore. It compares traditional instruction and inquiry-based teaching and describes the two types of inquiry that can be implemented in the primary classroom – discussion and investigation. Three useful inquiry models for primary children - Colin Marsh’s (2001) investigation model and two discussion models - Diana Hess’ (2009) town meeting model (TMM) and David Johnson and Roger Johnson’s (1999) structured academic model (SAC) - are elaborated. The application of these models is illustrated in two issue-based, inquiry centred packages designed for primary children by student teachers from the National Institute of Education. The article also discusses the challenges teachers may face when implementing such inquiry-centred packages and suggests ways of how they can be overcome. "

Learning about Issues through Discussion in the Primary Social Studies Classroom: A Shared Inquiry Approach

"This article looks at how primary school children can learn about issues in their social studies lessons through discussion. It first spells out the importance of introducing issues in the social studies curriculum for the development of students to be informed, participative and concerned citizens. It focuses on the selection of suitable issues for primary school children and discussion as a pedagogy for shared inquiry to help teachers achieve academic understanding and citizenship outcomes for their learners. The Walsh and Sattes’ (2015) framework for quality discussion is described as a useful guide for teacher planning and implementation. Research findings on teacher belief and practice of using discussion of controversial issues and the implications on teacher professional development are also discussed. The article concludes with how to be skilful in the facilitation of discussion of issues for shared inquiry."

Designing Classrooms of the Future Now!

"Keywords: classroom design, innovation, learning environments In this article we showcase the work of three teachers in redesigning classroom learning environments to enhance student learning. Through short interview excerpts, a video, and classroom photos we feature ten design ideas they used to redesign their classrooms. In the article we also argue that despite lofty rhetoric espousing pedagogical innovation and 21st century learning, classroom design provides the most visible sign of what schools and educational leaders actually believe and value. We call for greater attention to the ways classroom spaces constrain and enable teaching and learning that can better support important 21st century educational outcomes. "

Old Ideas Made New Again

"I started teaching long ago. The air was full of new ideas about curriculum and teaching methods. In the United States and the United Kingdom we had the “New Social Studies,” “New Math,” exciting hands-on science projects, and the like. It was all about engaging learners in the “methods of the discipline,” in doing inquiry not just memorizing facts. This was a long time ago. Today we are hearing these old “new” ideas again."

A Preliminary Study on the Development of Pedagogical Content Knowledge among Economics and Primary Social Studies Student Teachers in Singapore

"In this preliminary study on the development of pedagogical content knowledge among student teachers in the National Institute of Education, Singapore, Economics and Primary Social Studies student teachers self-report their progress in their professional development upon exit of teacher training using a survey instrument adapted from Ho’s (2003) pedagogical content knowledge development model. "

A Postmodern Analysis of a Primary 5 Social Studies Chapter

"Postmodern theory helps us examine how and why particular pasts are constructed, legitimated and disseminated (Segall, 2006). Postmodern theory includes deconstructionism, whereby meaning and values are constructed using binary oppositions that represent certain ideologies and the role of power in the society to privilege certain terms over others (Khezerloo, 2010). In this article, I use postmodern theory to analyze the Primary 5 Social Studies chapter, “Singapore’s Journey to Self-Government.” I focus on the binary opposites presented in the text, the relevant political and social contexts, and the language used to persuade readers. "

The Notables: Making Significant Historical Personalities Come Alive

"The study of significant people in history can be an engaging, meaningful, and integrated learning experience for upper primary school students. In this article I describe a project, The Notables, which immersed my Grade 4 students in a series of social studies and language arts activities designed to help them understand the concept of significance, learn about historical people and events, and develop important research and presentation skills."

Research into Practice: Tuning in to the “Chorus of History” Through the Use of Oral History in the Classroom

"Using oral histories in history and social studies classrooms can highlight the fact that historical sources are authored and contain particular assumptions, biases, and perspectives about the world. They require critical evaluation to understand why people might have said what they said, why they might view particular events or issues in certain ways, the kinds of insights, emotions, and attitudes they have about what happened in the past, and the reasons they give for acting in the ways they did. Because oral histories have become more widely available and utilized due to electronic and digital means of preservation and access, they can be easily used with students of all ages. To learn more about the use of oral history in the classroom and consider how students can work with oral sources, I reviewed the work and ideas of Associate Professor Kevin Blackburn, a proponent of using oral histories in classrooms."

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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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