Primary School

Centering the Periphery: Giving Students’ Voice and Choice

"In April 2019, I carried out an action research study with a class of High Ability Primary 6 students to understand how to better engage students in a Social Studies class through discussion of controversial issues. Based upon my observations, these students demonstrated behaviors that showed they were disengaged during the monthly lesson on current affairs known as News Sharing. During News Sharing class, students were typically given an adapted news article chosen by me with a set of questions that tested mainly their comprehension of the article, the relevance of the article to National Education (NE) messages and how they might contribute to society based on the issue featured in the article. I felt that the formulaic nature of the lesson defeated the aim of News Sharing which was initially introduced with the purpose of improving students’ general knowledge about the world and Singapore. The lesson eventually resulted in an English language comprehension class where discussion was minimal and almost perfunctory."

Exploring Controversial Issues in the Primary Social Studies Classroom

"In order to better prepare students to handle the complexities of the 21st century world, it is imperative that primary Social Studies educators in Singapore grow to become comfortable with the uncomfortable – carving out space for children to critically and meaningfully engage in educative controversial discussions. This article explores the merits of introducing controversy in the classroom and demonstrates how an affective instructional approach in the controversial issues literature, known as constructive conflict talk, can be used to prepare young learners to display respect, imagination and inventiveness when addressing actual conflicts in their lives. "

Primary Social Studies Fieldwork in Children’s Localities and Beyond

"Children’s localities and beyond offer potential for young learners to connect with and understand their world. This article explores what children’s localities and the merits of doing fieldwork are. It identifies the different children’s localities and themes for fieldwork, examines the inquiry fieldwork approach and suggests how to plan such fieldwork for effective learning. The article also provides two examples of fieldwork in children’s localities based on student teachers’ fieldwork packages. "

Teaching The Enduring Understandings About Culture in Primary Social Studies

"Educating the young for multicultural understanding and social cohesion are amongst the most important goals of Social Studies. Teachers can broaden and deepen the learning of the concept of culture in order to help students to understand cultural differences and similarities across different communities and to better appreciate the diversities in their midst. This paper offers several enduring understandings about culture that can guide curricular and instructional decisions. Finally, it suggests learning activities that teachers can consider to augment the food, festival and artefacts approach that is commonly used in schools to teach about cultural diversity."

Provoking Inquiry: The Use of Primary Sources in the Primary Social Studies Classroom

"Primary sources of information are often used by teachers to spark curiosity about the past, develop multiple perspectives and foster critical thinking in students. This article focuses on how and why primary sources can be used to create inquiry-based, student-centered learning experiences in the primary social studies curriculum. It demonstrates how primary students can use the modified See, Think, Wonder approach to draw well-reasoned inferences about the past corroborated by evidence from primary sources of information."

Immigrant Teachers in Singapore Schools: Backgrounds, Integration, and Diversification

"Immigrant-background teachers make up a fragment of the teacher population in mainstream Singapore schools. Though modest in terms of number, the presence of these teachers in the Singapore teaching workforce is arguably significant in other ways. To date, little research attention has been paid to this unique group of teachers. Based on a Ministry of Education-National Institute of Education (MOE-NIE) funded study (OER 16/17 YPD), this article provides an overview of the characteristics and experiences of immigrant teachers in mainstream Singapore primary and secondary schools, with a focus on the practical challenges and value tensions they encounter in the professional settings. Findings show that immigrant teachers are generally well integrated into the Singapore education system notwithstanding certain challenges. Meanwhile, some teachers’ experiences of negotiating with value differences suggest that immigrant teachers may have the potential to add diversity to the education system, although this potential appears to be limited by the pragmatic imperative of professional integration."

So That All May Learn: Differentiating Instruction in the Primary Social Studies Classroom

Evolution of the Primary School Social Studies Curriculum in Singapore: From ‘Moulding’ Citizens to Developing Critical Thinkers

What is History Teaching?

"This article looks at the nature of history and how we can teach history as a discipline. It suggests several steps that teachers may want to use to teach history as an investigation as well as how to do history in the field."

Using Stories for Teaching Primary Social Studies

"Stories are often used by teachers to transmit knowledge, values and dispositions, deepen understanding and develop critical thinking in children. The power of stories and storytelling is highlighted in this article which focuses on why and how stories can be used for teaching primary social studies concepts and generalisations, how to choose suitable story books for children, and how to use some of them in the classroom. Three teaching approaches, namely, the shared book approach, the integrated biographical inquiry and storytelling are featured along with ideas of how these may be applied during lessons."


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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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