Volume 6, Issue 1 2017

Volume 6, Issue 1 2017


Cultivating multiple perspectives or different ways of seeing and thinking about the world is an essential aspect of humanities and social studies education. The articles in this issue provide different perspectives for readers to consider as lenses for understanding places, society, curriculum, politics, and others.

In the first article, Evangeline O. Katigbak offers the lenses of translocality and “worlding practices” to understand the geographies of place. She suggests place-based learning activities to help students interrogate everyday experiences in local sites and think about “being-in-the-world” as fundamental to geography and geographic education.

Hui Yang, Peidong Yang, and Shaohua Zhan use economic and demographic lenses for examining Singapore’s current immigration landscape and labor policies. Their article also explains “bottom-up” local reactions as well as “top-down” government policies to manage the opportunities and challenges Singapore faces in terms of economic development and demographic change.

The third article by J. Spencer Clark features the value of international videoconferencing and the sharing of perspectives between multi-ethnic and multi-faith secondary students from Macedonia and the United States. In his study, Clark examines the role of inquiry, public voice, audience, and positionality in discussing and understanding different values, attitudes, and beliefs about LGBTQ civil rights. Students in Clark’s study critically interrogate the often-pervasive role of silence that limits the ways students’ understand and publicly deliberate issues related to LGBTQ rights.

Johannis Auri Bin Abdul Aziz writes on Singapore’s upcoming presidential election and provides an overview of the different perspectives that seem to be at play in Singapore. The article surveys public opinion, research studies, and official views to identify controversies and different perspectives that seem to be central to the election.

The final article by Rabiah Angullia draws on multicultural and social semiotic theories to offer a critical perspective on how diversity and identity are treated in the Primary Two Social Studies curriculum. Through her examination of images and text in the readers used in the curriculum, Angullia finds that static and overly simplified representations of diversity and identity are offered that likely fail to help students think about pertinent issues that are central to diversity and identity, such as stereotyping, bias, the multiple facets of identity, and more meaningful social relations. 

Mark Baildon
Editor, HSSE Online
June 2017


Using an International Videoconference in Problem-Based Inquiry Projects: The Role of Public Voice, Audience, and Positionality

"This article discusses and reflects upon a problem-based inquiry project that culminated in an international videoconference between multiethnic and multi-faith secondary students from Macedonia and the United States. The videoconference provided an opportunity for students to share their action plans, which proposed methods of addressing local problems or issues students had identified through their inquiry. This article focuses on three ways students engaged with the project and videoconference: inquiry, audience, and public voice. These aspects of the project illustrate how the students’ positionality on their chosen problem/issue shifted as they developed skills and knowledge through their inquiry. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for future problem-based inquiry projects in secondary schools."

The Elected Presidency

"Scheduled for September, the coming presidential election is one of the most anticipated public events of 2017. While the populations of larger democratic countries have to contend with numerous regional and local elections that may cause electoral fatigue, Singaporeans get to express their democratic voice only once every two to three years. This year’s election, though, is especially anticipated by the Malay community because for the first time, the presidential election will be reserved for Malays."

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."

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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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