Now showing 1 - 10 of 16
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Scissors, paper, stone: How students' deal with conceptual conflicts in an inquiry-based activity
    (2008-02)
    Poon, Chew Leng
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    ;
    One of the goals of inquiry-based teaching and learning of science is for students to learn the processes of inquiry and to apply these processes in new situations to construct new knowledge for themselves. Very often, students who are exposed to inquiry activities encounter conceptual conflicts that do not align with their pre-conceived ideas. How these conflicts are resolved provide different types of learning experiences for the learners. Interaction talk during hands-on science inquiry activities provides a good source of information on how students deal with conceptual conflicts and, in particular, how they apply inquiry skills to resolve these conflicts. The analysis of talk in interaction amongst a group of six grade five students in a Singapore school has surfaced at least three ways whereby students construct and shape their learning in an inquiry-based science activity through the ways they deal with conceptual conflicts: (a) domineering voices in a group can prematurely curtail alternative ideas and concepts in dealing with a conceptual conflict; (b) a peer expert in a group can scaffold learning for a student facing a conceptual conflict; and (c) learners draw on inquiry skills to resolve cognitive conflicts arising from anomalous results or behaviours during hands-on investigations.
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  • Publication
    Unknown
    A review on plant science education in Singapore
    (2014-11)
    Chen, Zhong
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    Chan, Yu Mun
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    Plants are fundamental to the existence of our green planet, but the understanding of plants and the willingness to understand them is deficient. Teachers, students and curriculum developers are mindful of the lack of knowledge and ability to notice plants in our environment. In Singapore we are facing a paradox in plant science education. Known as a garden city, and having a hybrid of an orchid as our national flower, many of our citizens ironically remain blind to what are growing and cultivated around them. Our pupils are not able to name the common plant species. They would prefer to dwell in the air-conditioned comfort of their homes and learn through the computer or the television rather than to have a walk in the forest. Further, our educators merely set limited plant contents in Biology syllabus, and teachers are reluctant to bring plants to the classroom. In this review, we reflect plant science education in Singapore based on the current syllabus at the primary, secondary and junior college levels. We also list a few case studies of specific terms in plant science using various science textbooks and questions from national exams to allow a greater understanding on how plant science is taught and tested. Finally we propose suggestions to improve plant science education in Singapore.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    ‘Let’s think like a scientist!’: Issues of school science
    (2006-11) ;
    Seah, Lay Hoon
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    Tan, Beng Chiak
    The nature and purposes of science education in Singapore have been, for a long time, an area of debate and concern. Ask teachers, curriculum developers, policy makers, science education researchers, scientists or students about the nature and purpose of science education, you will undoubtedly receive many different answers. The issue of interest here is the understanding of what nature and purposes of science education are among some teachers and students in Singapore. In this paper, we problematize the notion that high school students can think and should be able to think like a scientist. We hope that the discussion generated in this paper will contribute to an increased awareness among teachers and researchers about the issues relating to the nature of school science, learning science and the practices in the science classroom. This study examines two students from a class of 23 girls and their perception of what science is together with their biology teacher in a secondary school. In one of the classroom transcripts, the teacher reminded the students several times to ‘think like a scientist!”. This prompted us to question if the assumption that everyone knows how a scientist operate is valid. In this paper, we attempt to use Membership Categorisation Analysis (Freebody, 2003; McHoul and Watson, 1984) to provide insights into some ideas about science which the teacher and two students from the same school community have explicated. Their interview transcripts constitute the main data source in this paper. The results of this study revealed the complexities of issues relating to the introduction of the notion of nature of scientific enterprise in the secondary biology classrooms.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    Voices from the normal technical world: an ethnographic study of low-track students in Singapore
    (2005)
    Masturah Ismail
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    This paper presents initial findings from an ongoing ethnographic study carried out among Normal Technical students from a secondary one class in a typical neighbourhood school since the start of the 2005 school year. Assertions about the social organization of the classroom and how this relates to teacherstudent interaction provide us a window into some of the classroom management issues and conditions for learning that emerge in the N(T) classroom. Specifically, this paper focuses on the perspectives of the students in the program. The ‘silent’ lot, although a minority, is a group of students that needs to be helped so that they can become productive and contributing individuals to the society at large. They need to be given equal learning opportunities to enable them to maximize their learning potential.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    Using video technology as a catalyst to developing reflection skills in pre-service science teachers
    (2009-06) ;
    Wettasinghe, Cyraine Marissa
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    ;
    Mazlan Hasan
    This paper examines the use video playback technology coupled with the use of blogs and wikis in developing the reflection skills of 22 pre-service science teachers. Specifically, this paper illumines what pre-service teachers notice and subsequently make sense of teaching as they watch video segments of teaching taking place. It is found that pre-service science teachers primarily took notice of teaching skills and then used that as a primer to reflect upon classroom management, students’ learning need, the learning environment and how teachers plan their lesson. The use of videos and reflective blogs offers a systematic and structured way from evidence-based reflection of teaching for pre-service teachers.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    Giving students a voice in science practical assessments
    (2006-05) ;
    Towndrow, Phillip A. (Phillip Alexander)
    This paper examines Science Practical Assessment (SPA) in the Singaporean classroom. In contrast to teacher-centric task setting and evaluation, this paper reports findings from a study where a class of students were involved in their own assessments mediated by digital video. Students were recorded during practical work and were then asked to review and edit the footage. Next, they evaluated their own and their classmates’ practical skills. These evaluations, scaffolded with a template and facilitated by the teacher, aimed to give the students a voice in presenting what they thought made ‘good’ science practical skills and practices in the laboratory. They also served as a platform for peer learning and provided a means for the students to be involved in discussing science and science practical skills. Results of this study reveal that students’ awareness of acceptable laboratory practices is enhanced through this innovative method of evaluating science practical work.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    Science teachers’ engagement with ICT in Singapore: Different perspectives
    In this paper, we present narratives of three in-service biology teachers in their journey with the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their practices. These narratives provide useful insights into the in-service science teachers’ ideas, dilemmas and actual usage of ICT. The use of narratives to present perspectives of biology teachers’ engagement with ICT is a deliberate one ─ different teachers have different experiences with their students and across different schools. As such, the stories generated are different but personal and real to each participant. The in-service teachers are purposively sampled: all of them having taught science in secondary school for at least three years and had shown a keen interest in technology during their pre-service teacher program. A series of questions was used to help the participants reflect on their experiences and craft their narratives. These narratives were then analysed using content analysis of recurring themes. From the narratives, we found that generic ICT tools could be used for evaluation of students’ learning while specific ICT tools such as sensors were used for the teaching of specific scientific concepts and to support scientific inquiry. Further, in deciding which ICT tool to adopt for their lessons, teachers took into consideration external factors such as availability of wireless networks, school infrastructure, ease of setting, and students’ motivation. In terms of professional development on the use of ICT, we found that sharing sessions on what works, time and space for experimenting with new ideas, and in-depth implementation of fewer ideas rather than many ideas worked for the teachers.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    Reflection of teaching: A glimpse through the eyes of pre-service science teachers
    (2010-12) ;
    Wettasinghe, Cyraine Marissa
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    ;
    Mazlan Hasan
    This paper examines pre-service teachers‟ reflection on teaching after participating in an online course using teaching videos of micro-skills coupled with self-reflection and group blogs. A total of 137 online entries were collected from 26 participants. Larrivee‟s (2008) four levels of reflection (pre, surface, pedagogical and critical) were used to code the reflection by the participants. The findings showed that 67% of the reflection by pre-service teachers falls in the pedagogical category and 2% in the critical category. These findings show that pre-service teachers are capable of engaging in reflection beyond a surface level even with limited actual classroom experience, and micro-skills teaching videos coupled with self-reflection and online blogs can serve as stimulus for reflection about actual teaching practices. The resources that the pre-service teachers used to make sense of teaching are (1) their knowledge of learning theories; (2) their ideas of teachers‟ roles and responsibilities; and (3) existing ideas of what makes good teaching. The pre-service teachers reflected upon their learning and showed evidence of willingness to incorporate the learnt ideas of good teaching into their future classroom teaching. The use of videos and reflection allowed them to restructure their teaching knowledge through identification, comparison, modification and synthesising.
  • Publication
    Unknown
    "Why the spiral moved": Seeking for knowledge building
    (2006-08) ; ;
    Ow, John Eu Gene
    This paper tracks the learning experiences in science of three students using Knowledge Forum. We examine the interaction process, in particular the seeking patterns that result as the three students explore and build the knowledge of convection current. Using micro-analysis of contribution on Knowledge Forum and principles of analysis of electronic interaction and discourse proposed by Zhu (1989), this paper analyses the forms of participation a student can assume, focusing mainly on the different forms in which students seek information as they navigate through the sea of information posted online. Using a grounded approach, we characterize two different ways in which students seek for information in an online environment, which we labeled as interpersonal seeking and collaborative seeking. We believe that the seeking behavior, albeit subtle, is instrumental in directing learning and directing the courses of ‘discussion’ and the quality of the knowledge that is built.