OER - Reports

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  • Publication
    Embargo
    Technology-based tools for teaching early literacy skills
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ; ;
    Onnis, Luca
    This project focuses on improving literacy development for young learners who are struggling with learning to read English by investigating the process of learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs). Learning GPC is foundational to learning to read alphabetic languages, and is a core problem for struggling readers. In this project, two methods are used in two studies to understand the process of learning English GPCs as the crux of acquiring literacy. First, a machine learning neural network modelling approach is used to study the effect of sound-symbol grain size and consistency and training input on learning progression and outcomes. Second, a behavioural randomized controlled study is conducted to examine the effects of interventions with LSP students focused at different grain sizes. Between these two studies, information about the types of input that may yield most effective learning is corroborated.
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  • Publication
    Restricted
    Learning to argue and arguing to learn: Developing scientific argumentation skills in pre-service chemistry teachers
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;

    The discipline of science is characterized by the evaluation of knowledge claims that are supported by available evidences. As such, one of the key attributes of a scientist is the ability to discern relevant and orthodoxy evidence from those that are irrelevant and outdated, and use these evidences to construct coherent arguments (Osborne, 2010). Translating this characteristic practice of science into science teaching in schools means that a learner of science must also be able to construct plausible and relevant arguments from available evidences in learning science concepts. This has important implications for science teacher educators as there is now a need to teach and equip pre-service teachers with skills, knowledge and strategies to teach their prospective students in schools how to make sense of evidences and how to construct coherent arguments and at the same time, learn the contents of science (Newton, Driver,& Osborne, 1999).

    The nature of science and paradigm shift in science teacher education asserts that argumentation should be central in science education. The paradigm shift referred to here is the need to move our attention from focusing on acquisition of content knowledge to understanding and appreciating the process by which scientific knowledge is formed. As such, we argue here that argumentation is one of the key scientific practices to enable this change to take place and hence, to enable learners of science to learn science in an authentic manner, science teachers need to know how to position the content that they are teaching in a manner that will open up a space for students to discuss and argue. Yet, in reality, the opportunity for students to engage in argumentation discourse is rarely seen in science classroom practice (Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Roth, et al., 2006). Thus, we argue that if cultivating students’ involvement in the practice of argumentation is a goal to achieve, then the current culture of science classrooms, which is largely dominated by didactic monologues from the teacher, must be altered. Current research indicates that the teacher plays a fundamental role in any reform effort because curriculum implementation and classroom instruction are often shaped by them (Bybee, 1993; Lotter, Harwood, & Bonner, 2007; Sampson & Blanchard, 2012). As such, one of the key platforms to advocate and promote this kind of curricular and pedagogical reform is through initial teacher education programs.

    To facilitate the change process, we need to understand what pre-service teachers know about scientific argumentation and to what extent they value its role in the teaching and learning of science. Current research that focusses on pre-service teachers’ perceptions and ideas about science as a form of inquiry highlighted the difficulties they faced in enacting science as inquiry in classroom (e.g., Biggers & Forbes, 2012; Crawford, 2007; Davis, Petish, & Smithey, 2006; Haefner & Zembal-Saul, 2004). The similarity between practice of science as inquiry and argumentation is likely to be due to the fact that argumentation is a prerequisite skill for learners of science to be engaged in science as inquiry. Despite the wealth of research into practices of science as inquiry, few studies in inquiry classroom examine the embedded argumentation explicitly. By embedded argumentation, we refer to the nature of the tasks that inherently has tenets that are debatable. These would generally be scientific theories and ideas that scientists are still seeking evidences for. The only difference between embedded argumentation and argumentation that stems from socioscientific issues is the reliance of embedded argumentation on empirical evidence rather than affective perspective. There is hence limited research on how pre-service teachers participate in argumentation as well as explore on their knowledge and views of the use of argumentation (Kaya, 2013; Ozdem, Ertepinar, Cakiroglu, & Erduran, 2013; Sadler, 2006). As early as the late 1990s, researchers such as Newton, Driver, and Osborne (1999) were already arguing that argumentation should form part of the pedagogical repertoire of science teachers and hence their knowledge in this area should be developed. McNeil and Knight (2013), in their study of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in argumentation highlighted that in-service teachers faced challenges with understanding the structural and dialogic characteristics of argumentation. They also struggled with designing tasks that are argumentation-centric. As such, research into the development of argumentation skills is important not only for students learning science in schools, but also for teachers, both in-service as well as pre-service, engaged in teaching science.

      9  6
  • Publication
    Restricted
    Partnership for change towards science inquiry in elementary science classrooms: Collective responsibility of teachers and students
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;
    Talaue, Frederick
    ;
    This report details the three keys aspects of the project ─ (a) the ideas and motivation of teachers to carry out inquiry, (b) students ideas about science learning in school, and (c) factors that could enhance science teacher professional development to carry out inquiry. In elementary science classrooms, we showed that: (1) while teachers express moderate to strong intention to teach science through inquiry they are constrained by numerous components in their classroom context, including goals of instruction, curriculum integration, learning environment, lesson strategies, student disposition and teacher disposition; (2) students value hands-on and collaborative experiences for learning science, suggesting a pedagogy characterized by clear learning goals and valuing a sense of community among learners; and (3) further training should focus on how to, more than why, teach through inquiry, adopting a paradigm that is responsive to different contexts.
      13  13
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Learning through popular music, lessons for the general music programme syllabus in Singapore
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;
    Hilarian, Larry Francis
    ;
    Stead, Peter
    ;
    ;

    This project sought to investigate the identity, role and function of popular music within classroom-based education in Singapore.

    Popular music is characterised by: (i) lnterdisclplinarity (music, dance, poetry, theatre, etc); (ii) It suffuses the lives of school-going youth in their out-of-school curriculum. (iii) Skill acquisition is frequently gained through more informal learning than is usual in institutional settings (Green, 2002). (iv) Participation in popular music by various communities seems to cut across ethnic, religious and age boundaries, which makes popular music participation an interesting study in social integration. (v) Engaging in popular music potentially provides students life-long engagement The impact of popular music in the classroom has not been fully explored.

    Creating, performing and responding to popular music genres arguably act as an apt medium of and for self expression considering the complex nature of an ever-shifting demographic mix and strategies to bring about more effective social integration across communities-of-practice (Wenger 1998) engaging the later cosmopolitan society in Singapore.

    The GMP (2008) document supports the value of popular music beginning with musical skills of composing, improvising and recreating extending to identity formation and multiplicity in identity negotiation in group dynamics (MOE 2008, pp. 7-10). Current broader educational aims are to develop creative, imaginative and socio-culturally well-tempered individuals and popular music has an important educational role to play in this respect. Dairianathan and Lum (2010) have discovered how popular musics re/iterate their place in the music curriculum for music as lived and living space.

    Secondary factors crucial to this research are: (a) to examine the place of popular music in local public and international schools across Singapore, (b) to draw out the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for school-going youth to be engaged in popular music and (c) to critically examine popular music immersion in relation to the objectives established in the GMP syllabus (MOE 2008).

      10  85
  • Publication
    Restricted
    Culturally relevant pedagogy: Exploring the use of culture in Singapore’s low progress classrooms
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;
    Over the past two decades, the notion of culturally relevant pedagogy has gained attention as a student-centered approach to helping low progress learners achieve academic success. First articulated in the US by Ladson-Billings (1994) in her study of the pedagogic practices of exceptional teachers of African American students, culturally relevant pedagogy identifies students’ unique cultural backgrounds as strengths and these are nurtured to promote academic achievement (Brown-Jeffy & Cooper, 2011; Ladson-Billings, 1995a; Morrison, Robbins & Rose, 2008). This approach has since been adopted in countless schools and classrooms across North America under various names – culturally responsive teaching, culturally congruent teaching, culturally appropriate pedagogy, etc. (Ferger, 2006; Hastie, Martin, & Buchanan, 2006). As many of these studies have shown, by having teachers draw upon students’ “cultural reference points” (Ladson-Billings, 1994), schools can create bridges between students’ home and classroom experiences, while still maintaining the high expectations of state/national curricular mandates (Gay, 2000; Gutierrez, 2000; Lambeth, 2014; Paulk, Martinez). Indeed, as Gay (2000, p.29) explains, culturally relevant pedagogy is especially important in classrooms of low progress learners because it uses “the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective… It teaches to and through the strengths of these students. It is culturally validating and affirming.”
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