Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Of monsters and mayhem: Teaching suspense stories in a Singapore classroom
    (2011) ;
    Kramer-Dahl, Anneliese
    This paper draws on the findings of a three-year, observation-cum-intervention research project that focuses on the textual practices of middle school teachers in Singapore. Specifically, the focus here is on the teaching of suspense narratives to a class of average, lower middle school students as part of the 'text-type' syllabus adopted in Singapore's schools since 2001. The paper will reveal, through close analysis of a unit of work and two lesson transcripts, how one English teacher constructs, scaffolds and implements a series of lessons to develop her students' awareness of and competency in the construction and deconstruction of suspense in narrative writing. It argues that it is the teacher's ability to make use of connected learnings and explicit instruction to raise the overall intellectual quality of her lessons that contributes to the development of her students' textual competence. The paper closes with a critical appraisal of the lessons and a discussion of the implications this study has for writing teachers and researchers.
      197  503
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The marketisation of higher education: A comparative case-study of two universities in Singapore
    (2007)
    This paper focuses on the discursive practice of higher education in Singapore. Specifically, it compares and contrasts how the pressures of globalisation and increasing competition have shaped the discursive practices of two universities in Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University, as they endeavour to 'market' themselves through their respective prospectuses targeted at potential students. The theoretical framework and analytic approach adopted in this study relate to what is known broadly as 'Critical Discourse Analysis', which delves into the dialectical relationship between discursive and social structures, to show that discourse is not only socially constituted but socially constitutive (Fairclough 1989; van Dijk 1993). The analysis, which focuses on the construction of interpersonal meanings through both visual and verbal means, shows how one prospectus maintains a relatively university-centred and authoritative voice while the other adopts a more student-centred stance and assumes a more egalitarian relationship between students and the university. Both, however, are seen to succumb to the pressures of 'globalisation' and 'marketisation' (Fairclough 1993), which force the universities to operate as if they were 'ordinary businesses competing to sell their products to consumers' (Fairclough 1993: 141). The implications for higher education are discussed.
      1129  1280
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Bridging policy and practice: A study of EFL teacher talk in China
    (2017)
    This study focuses on teacher talk in the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching in China. Framed against China’s current focus on ‘thinking, imagination and innovation’ as stated in the National English Curriculum Standards (NECS), this paper reports the findings of a qualitative study aimed at understanding how the discursive practices of EFL teachers contribute to the learning outcomes and overall goals of the NECS. The study adopts the theoretical lens of Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism, which views dialogue as the principal means for meaning making and learning. It focuses on how teachers encourage dialogic interactions in the classroom through their questions and code-switching practices. The data comprises 30 hours of audio-recordings of lessons taught by eight EFL teachers at the high school level in two Chinese cities. The analysis of this data suggests that EFL teaching is still very much entrenched in the traditional practice based on word recognition and pattern drills and, despite official policy pronouncements, maintains a predominantly monologic thrust. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to how teacher talk can mediate EFL learning and, more broadly, bridge the gap between policy and classroom practice.
      337  372
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Exploring the dialogic space in teaching: A study of pre-university classroom talk in Singapore
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2020)
    This proposed study focuses on a key competency in the 21st century landscape -- critical thinking -- as it is manifest in the classroom talk of pre university students in Singapore's Junior College (JC) system. 'Critical thinking' here refers to the students' ability and willingness to question and challenge views and opinions. More broadly, it describes a classroom culture which encourages students to actively participate in discussion and debate as part of the process of knowledge (de)construction. The purpose of the study is to explore the dialogic space in Singapore pre-university classrooms to ascertain the extent to which teachers and students are able to co construct knowledge and learning. Through observations and systematic analysis of classroom talk in General Paper lessons in five selected junior colleges in Singapore, the study aims to produce findings that will fill several important gaps. First, it attempts to make visible and explicit the process of knowledge construction amidst the vagaries of classroom talk by probing into the discursive structures of dialogic teaching. By adapting a coding scheme aimed at making transparent and explicit the nature and workings of dialogic teaching, the study hopes to contribute to our understanding of how students can be steered towards constructing their own knowledge rather than simply assimilating knowledge transmitted to them by their teacher. Secondly, there is a dearth of empirical data on pre-university classroom teaching in Singapore, as most classroom corpora tend to focus on primary or secondary levels of schooling. Seen as the crucial, preparatory stage for university education, education at the pre-university level therefore constitutes a vital link to the academic literacies that students at the university level are expected to possess and display. The findings of this study will illuminate not only the teaching of a key subject in Singapore's junior college curriculum, but also potentially of different disciplines due to the inter-disciplinary nature of General Paper. Thirdly, the proposed study will also contribute significantly towards preparing students for the 21st century, since one of its key competencies relates to critical thinking. Finally, the corpus of classroom data collected, both audio and video, will constitute valuable capacity-building resources for pre-service teacher education or even professional development of in-service teachers. The findings will make teacher educators themselves more cognizant of how teacher talk drives learning, leading hopefully to the reshaping of curricular content to focus more sharply on the important role of classroom talk in education.
      128  27
  • Publication
    Open Access
      127  224
  • Publication
    Restricted
    Integrating classroom discourse corpus for reflective practice and professional development
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024)
    The focus of this study is on the reflective practice and professional development of teachers. It takes a corpus-based, evidence-driven approach in making use of authentic classroom data collected from local classrooms to facilitate the reflective practice and professional growth of English Language teachers in Singapore.
      21  74
  • Publication
    Restricted
    Three dimensions of effective pedagogy: Preliminary findings, codings and vignettes from a study of literacy practices in Singapore secondary schools (observation phase)
    (2005-03)
    Kramer-Dahl, Anneliese
    ;
    ;
    Chia, Alexius Ti Yong
    ;
    Churchill, Karina
    "While academic and media discourses have paid considerable attention to students' achievements in standardised language and literacy examinations, which typically assess a narrow set of literacy skills, there is a dearth of studies of Singapore classrooms that describe and critically assess the full range of literate practices which students are given access to. In the wake of the pro-active 1998 national initiative of Thinking Schools, Learning Nation, a new syllabus in subject English and a revised, inquiry-based curricula in content subjects like Science were launched, and a new, hybrid subject in upper secondary, Social Studies, which foregrounds critical thinking, was created - all of these initiatives making for new and broader literacy demands, for which many teachers have not been sufficiently professionally prepared."-- [p. 1] of executive summary.
      242  104
  • Publication
    Open Access
    “Every teacher, a caring educator”: A multimodal discourse analysis of a teacher recruitment video in Singapore
    (2015)
    Ng, Jessie Wan Qing
    ;
    Videos are increasingly being used by organizations and corporations all over the world, both private and public, as an effective mode of communication to purvey their goods and services. One such organization is Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE), which has produced a series of video advertisements aimed at teacher recruitment. As official discourses, they represent one channel through which the MOE constructs and articulates its ideals and expectations of the teaching profession in Singapore. In recent years, the focus of the video advertisements has been on the “caring teacher.” This study aims to uncover the ideologies surrounding the construction of the caring teacher by investigating how teacher identity and agency are articulated through a teacher recruitment video. A multimodal discourse framework (Baldry and Thibault 2006) is adopted to unpack the different meanings expressed in and through the MOE’s 2011 teacher recruitment video. A macroanalysis drawing on the phasal analysis framework (Baldry and Thibault 2006) and the visual semantics stratum (Lim 2007) is first carried out. This is followed by a microanalysis drawing on Halliday and Matthiessen’s (2004) systemic-functional model and Kress and van Leeuwen’s (2006) visual analysis framework. The caring teacher is revealed as one whose role and identity are explicitly student-centric, although the impact of her actions on the student is unclear. Questions are also raised on the blurring of the teacher’s professional and personal identities and the practicality of teachers displaying such attributes as embodied in the video.
    Scopus© Citations 3  112  223
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Being critical and critical being in the language classroom
    (Elsevier, 2024)

    The aim of this conceptual paper is to delve into the notion of criticality and demonstrate how criticality can be nurtured in the language classroom. The premise is that a more holistic concept of criticality, which fuses critical thinking (skills) and critical being (disposition), can nurture language learners to become more critical and responsible ‘prosumers’ of contemporary media. The paper unfurls in three main stages. I begin with an introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), a prominent field in applied linguistics, and an explication of its aims and principles by using a pair of texts to draw out the essence and application of these principles. This provides the backdrop against which I argue how the mission of CDA, which focuses on a critically oriented and socially committed praxis, can be distilled into a criticality centered on ‘critical being’. In the third section, I offer some guidelines on how this ‘critical being’ or spirit of criticality can be nurtured in the language classroom by guiding learners to (1) read to question and (2) write to challenge. In so doing, it is hoped that the abstract notion of criticality can be materialized and cultivated to encourage learners to appreciate how language use is intimately and inexorably associated with how they view the world and how they can use language to (re)shape, challenge and (re)constitute existing worldviews.

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