Secondary School

The “New” Multiculturalism: National and Educational Perspectives

"As a self-ascribed “multiracial nation” Singapore has risen to the challenge of managing diversity through its official “Multicultural, Multiracial, Multireligious and Multilingual” (4Ms) components of nation building. The mantra of “unity within diversity,” prompted by economic and political pragmatism rather than a more nuanced understanding of diversity itself, co-opted the education system as a part of societal governance and management. “Comfortable,” yet at times questionable, notions of how diversity was understood, presented and executed in schools dominated the institutionalised narratives prior to more recent seismic changes and challenges which are now compelling the nation to consider the fuller complexity of what diversity or multiracialism/multiculturalism actually entails. "

Structured Academic Controversy for Upper Secondary Social Studies

"This article will describe the use of Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) as a teaching strategy to help a class of Secondary Three Express students in Social Studies analyse issues from multiple perspectives and to strengthen their explanation, questioning and listening skills."

From Classroom to the Field and Back: Understanding the Ways Fieldwork Empowers Geographic Learning

"Fieldwork is an integral part of learning Geography. Fieldwork has been widely used in both research and as pedagogic approaches as it provides a platform for students to understand their classroom content in a better way and help them to become real geographers. This article begins with understanding fieldwork in geography, touching its importance in contemporary human geography, and then describes the ways a one-day fieldwork was planned, prepared and performed in Singapore to understand human geography concepts. The fieldwork helped students experience concepts through everyday urban practices and apply geographic methods into practice. In the conclusion, students’ perspectives about what they learnt and the ways it complemented their classroom learning is discussed."

Context, Interests, and Unintended Consequences: Lenses for Seeing, Comprehending and Engaging with the World

"The White Paper on Population created quite a firestorm when it was released in 2013. Many critiques were launched against it – ranging from big and obvious worries about the sheer number of people who are expected to live in this small city; to complaints about where these people would come from; to very nitty-gritty critiques about the details and tone of the White Paper – right down to how nurses are referred to as low-skilled workers in the footnotes."

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."

Teaching Venice in Schools

"This paper aims to briefly survey advances made in the field of Venice studies and explore how these can help enhance the teaching of Venice in schools. Focusing on the early modern period, this essay will discuss issues related to Venetian politics as well as government and society. The issues for discussion are sub-divided into: 1.) Republicanism and related systems; 2.) Political system and corruption as a reason for decline of Venice; and 3.) The wider social / social-political organizations or arrangements as a stabilizing (or destabilizing) force of Venetian society. The choice and clustering of these issues are partly based on the content survey on Venetian studies and partly based on the survey of similar issues of concern occurring in contemporary Singapore society"

The Beacon of Civic Conduct? Teaching Character and Citizenship Education in Singapore

"The purpose of this short opinion piece is to impress upon readers that while the teaching and learning of good character and citizenry is noble (with clear desired outcomes) as highlighted by Mr. Heng , the instruction of intrinsic “good-ness” in the classroom ignites an age old question in academic discourse – who or what should be the “beacon” of civic conduct? Given the width and breadth of a topic that has failed to reach a common consensus amongst educators and policy makers on the teaching and learning of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), this article will limit its discussion to the following issues: 1.) the role of educators in CCE; 2.) stakeholders and their relationship with CCE; 3.) challenges educators might face when tasked to conduct CCE lessons."

Leading Classroom Discussions About Population Policy in Singapore

"In January 2013 the Singapore government released a Population White Paper titled A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore, which proposed a plan to steadily increase the population from roughly 5.3 million in 2012 to 6.9 million by 2030. The primary rationale for the plan was to deal with the declining birth rate and rapidly aging population in Singapore. The white paper generated significant response from Singapore citizens, including protests, such as the event organized on Saturday, 16 February 2013, at Hong Lim Park, where an estimated 5,000 people gathered to express disapproval of the plan. "

Well-being and Humanities Education in Singapore

"In February (2014), I was invited to Nagoya University (Japan) to participate in a symposium on well-being and education in the ASEAN region. Participants from ASEAN nations shared the state of well-being in their nations and considered the role education can play to promote well-being. My participation in this symposium led me to think about well-being in Singapore and the relationship between Humanities education and well-being."

Historical Concepts and National Examinations: Have O-Level Structured-Essay Questions Encouraged the Teaching of Historical Concepts?

"The term ‘second-order historical concept’ pops up a lot these days in Singapore’s history education community. Concepts such as causation, significance, and evidence are increasingly being discussed in secondary schools across the island. These historical concepts “help students understand how historians work and how historical knowledge is constructed”, and they underpin history as a discipline (MOE, 2012). In this article I analyse Structured Essay Questions (SEQs) from past O-Level History Elective examinations to determine which historical concepts have traditionally been assessed in the summative national assessments. Based on this preliminary analysis, the article focuses on whether the examinations have encouraged the teaching of second-order historical concepts, and discusses possible ways forward for the assessment of these concepts."

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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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