Multicultural Education

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."

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."

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. "

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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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