Secondary School

The Significance of Mass Migration, and How to Better Talk about it

"Why should we place an emphasis on the wave of mass migration to Singapore in the years before the Second World War? Singaporeans who have gone through the local education system would know very well about the mass movement of people to the island after the coming of the British. Their pre-existing understandings are likely to have been forged by a symbiotic combination of National Education messages and the popular media portrayals of the period. "

Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Bi-Polarity in the History Classroom

"Back when I was a history student in my secondary school days, I thought I had understood the dichotomy between Communism and Democracy, and how this ideological divide set the basis for the outbreak and development of the Cold War. However, my understanding of this dichotomy was challenged over the years when I began to recognize that merely stating the differences was insufficient to account for a global “event” that lasted almost half a century. "

Teaching for Historical Understanding through Role-Play

"For the average fourteen-year-old student in Singapore, knowledge about the nation’s road to independence may be limited to a rather narrow field-of-view, i.e. seen through the actions of leaders from the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the events that led to the achievement of independence under Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership. They may not be aware of the different political parties that were vying for political power at the time or the complex circumstances that paved the road towards independence. "

Classroom Conversation: The Use Of Discussion-Based Strategy In The History Classroom

"In Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, Sam Wineburg argued that historical thinking “in its deepest forms, is neither a natural process nor something that springs automatically from psychological development” (2001: 7). He proposed that in order to understand and grapple with the past, we must change our existing mental structures. In reality, however, Singapore teachers often find themselves “telling history” to their students, as if particular stories about the past can be told in a linear manner or told through a given narrative. The idea that students would need to learn how to mentally wrestle with unfamiliar content, and to also become competent at requisite examination skills that demonstrate proficiency in managing the specified content, may perhaps seem an unfeasible expectation. "

Improving Student Ability in Interpreting Visual Sources through Action Research

"This paper reports the experience of a History Professional Learning Team (PLT) from St. Andrew’s Secondary School in 2017 in developing literary strategies to improve student ability to read and interpret pictorial sources. An action research strategy was used with 150 students for this purpose. Students were explicitly taught the “Triangle Method” of source analysis, as well as specific persuasive techniques used in political cartoons to help them make sense of visual sources. The team found that the strategy of focusing on students’ prior knowledge and allowing them to engage in think aloud protocols had resulted in significant improvements in students’ ability to analyze pictorial sources. "

Rethinking the Approach to Teaching Causation In the History Classroom

"​Core to historical research and the teaching of history is the concept of causation – in fact, E. H. Carr (1961: 87) famously opined, “the study of history is a study of causes”. Without an awareness and understanding of the concept of causation, it would be difficult to comprehend the reasons why events happened the way they did, and that evidence could be marshalled within a historical context to justify the relative hierarchy of factors for any given historical occurrence."

Historical Evidence: Archaeological Practice as a Pedagogical Tool for Historical Education in Singapore

"Historical education in Singapore has seen much progress following the shift away from Rafflesian history to studies on pre-1819 Singapore with new publications and exhibitions. However, many educators still face difficulties in delivering this knowledge to their students. This article looks at how historical education in Singapore can be enhanced by using an amalgamation of archaeological methods, historical evidence, and an inquiry-based approach as a pedagogical practice to teaching 14th-century Singapore. "

Historical Sources In The Classroom: Purpose and Use

"Historical sources are a common feature of history classrooms, but the purpose of using them is not always clear, and as a result, instructional activities with sources may not be as effective or meaningful as they should be. This lack of clarity stems in part from the fact that there are four distinctly different reasons for using sources, and each carries its own implications for classroom practice. These purposes are 1) illustration and motivation; 2) evidence for historical inquiry; 3) visual or textual interpretation; 4) source analysis. By reflecting on how each of these purposes can play a role in the classroom, which kinds of sources are appropriate for each, and where they fit into an overall sequence of instruction, teachers can ensure that their use of sources deepens and extends students’ historical understanding."

Studying and Constructing History: A Historian’s Take

"As a historian, I consider myself very privileged to be working alongside history educators and history teachers. This is a privilege that not many academic historians can enjoy since there are very few university departments that offer a combination of courses in academic history and history pedagogy such as those offered by HSSE. From my colleagues, I not only gained new insights into history education and classroom teaching, but I have also come to appreciate that there is a clear distinction between what I do as a historian – the locating and reading of primary documents and the very tedious process of reading, corroborating, cross-referencing and finally writing – and what history teachers do in the classroom, that is to teach history as a school subject. "

Guiding Students in Writing Data Response Answers Using Bloom’s Taxonomy for Critical Thinking

"This study focuses on improving students’ ability to respond to data response questions with two or more variables - in particular, students’ ability to describe and compare the data given in data response questions. Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a step-by-step guide was crafted on how to approach these type of questions. The methodology used was quantitative data derived from pre- and post-tests, and a qualitative analysis of the post-test scripts. For this research, we picked Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students who showed difficulty in coping with data response questions that have two or more variables. We found that the guide was useful in scaffolding writing answers for the students. However, while students were able to apply the lower stages of the guide, they were not able to spiral their critical thinking skills to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy."


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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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