Social Studies

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."

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"

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. "

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."

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. "

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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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