How High’s the Water, Mama? A Reflection on Water Resource Education in Singapore, pp. 8 of 33

In the 2014 syllabus, Geographical Inquiry, adapted from Roberts (2013) is used as a key pedagogy in class and in the field. Roberts (2013) drew reference to how students learn to reason and how to argue, and the necessity for them to “understand how geographical knowledge claims are related to explanation and evidence” (p. 78). Such reasoning and arguing skills based on interpreting evidence are key to develop critical and inventive thinking, a 21st century competency that the Ministry of Education (MOE) seeks to develop in students (MOE, 2014). Roberts (2013) also reflected upon professional development activities and creating a culture of inquiry-based learning which were successfully trialled with teachers. Such a culture of inquiry is what the MOE hopes to inculcate in classrooms, to mould students into active contributors by taking the initiative to pose questions which could possibly lead to new insights and generate interest in the topic on Water Shortage. In this section, we look at the water education theme in Singapore’s Geography curriculum, with a specific focus on the current curriculum that was implemented in 2014 and uses Roberts (2013) inquiry approach, which represents a significant change to the 2006 curriculum.

Curriculum review process in 2010

The 2006 syllabus underwent a mid-term curriculum review process in 2010 to understand teachers’ concerns about the 2006 syllabuses, and to ensure that the curriculum achieves its intended teaching and learning goals. The review included an external scan of overseas syllabuses, including those of Australia, Hong Kong and United Kingdom to help in scoping the syllabus content. In addition, Ministry of Education Curriculum Planning and Development Division (MOE CPDD) conducted Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with teachers and students, surveys with school teachers and interviews with four external experts. The intention was to gain feedback from the “ground” with the aim of exploring possible new angles for an improved syllabus for Lower Secondary Geography.

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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