Teo Tang Wee
Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
- PublicationRestricted"We 'own' the teachers": Understanding subcultures of Singapore lower track science classroomsSubcultures emerge from within dominant and mainstream cultures, and can exert influence on the outcomes of science teaching and learning. This is an explanatory study about the subcultures of Singapore lower track science classrooms with the aim to understand the sets of understandings, behaviours and artefacts used by lower progress students in the Normal Academic streams, and diffused through interlocking group networks. We want to look for explanations on how: (1) cultural elements in these science classrooms become widespread in a population, (2) local variations in cultural content exists in group settings, and (3) subculture changes dynamically. By applying the theoretical framework of symbolic interaction to generate explanations that provide substantive knowledge on how the lower progress students learn and their science teachers teach science. The methods of data collection in this critical ethnographic study will include lesson videos, intensive student interviews, teacher interviews, observations and conversations with students in informal school settings, and documentation of artefacts. Data analysis including speech act and facework analyses will be used to unpack the performativity of the students and teachers in the science classrooms and illuminate the negotiations of power relationships, collective and individual memberships and space that in turn, affect students' identification with or against the subcultures and their subsequent contributions to it. This study will contribute to the cultural sociology studies of science education, as there are limited (if any) empirical studies that discuss the existence of subcultures in educational contexts. The findings will offer to science teacher insights that illuminate the complex and dynamic forces that interplay with their science teaching, so that they can understand and work with, rather than against them.
- PublicationRestrictedUnderstanding how the Girls To Pioneer programme affect students' attitudes towards STEM and shape their STEM-related identitiesThe underrepresentation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields is a problem that plagues many places in the world. According to the U.S., Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration (2009), women held less than 25-percent of the STEM jobs, and are disproportionately fewer women having earned STEM undergraduate degrees, especially in engineering. In the U.K. (Kirkup, Zalevski, Maruyama, & Batool, 2010), women represented less than 12.3-percent of the workforce in all science, engineering, and technology occupations. Only one in five countries in the world have achieved gender equality in research careers (UNESCO, 2012). While Singapore is well-known for its excellent student performance in international mathematics and science tests such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), women make up less than 30-percent of the total researchers in 2012 (UNESCO, 2014). This worldwide phenomenon is often metaphorically described as the leaky STEM pipeline (Blickenstaff, 2005) which posed problems for developing and developed nations looking to harness more diverse ideas, increasing the number of productive workforce, and improving the quality of women's lives. Currently, there are no published studies in the Singapore context that specifically examine how feminist approaches to STEM teaching impact girls' attitudes (e.g., interest, self-concept, STEM career and post-secondary education decisions, and participation) towards STEM, and the construction of STEM-related identities. This is a proposal for a research study about the Singapore Committee for United Nations Women, Girls To Pioneer programme, which is aimed at promoting more women and girls in STEM fields. The programme adopts feminist pedagogies in actively engaging girls to participate in diverse STEM activities so that positive attitudes towards STEM may be developed. Using pre- and post-programme surveys, lesson videos, and interviews, we examine the impact of the Girls To Pioneers programme on diverse participants' attitudes and STEM identities. The participants are girls aged between 10-15 and recruited from schools or private centres (e.g., after school study centres) that have signed up for the Girls to Pioneers programme. The findings will have implications for Singapore STEM educators as they develop greater awareness about gender inequity issues in STEM, and learn about informal STEM efforts that can help to shape girls' attitudes and constructed STEM identities so that they can also emulate and promote such efforts in their everyday teaching.
- PublicationRestrictedExamining Normal Academic/Technical students' science learning from a sociological and cultural lensGreater emphasis on helping ''students at-risk'' improve in academic achievements has become a key concern of many countries. The relatively large achievement gaps between high and lower academic groups is an educational issue, and also, a socio-political and socio-economic one as it suggests that a sector of a population is not equipped with the necessary academic qualifications, knowledge, skills, and aptitude to take on certain types of jobs and earn a reasonably good income to sustain their living. In 2008, the school dropout rate in Singapore was 1.6 percent?1 percent was attributed to secondary school dropouts of which approximately 90 percent of these students were from the Normal Academic (NA) and Normal Technical1 (NT) steams (Ministry of Education, March 4, 2008). The dropout rate has decreased over the years. In 2010, the primary one cohort which did not complete secondary school education was 1.0% (Ministry of Education, January 16, 2012). Based on the data drawn from the MOE Education Statistics 2012, NA and NT students make up approximately 29 percent and 12 percent of the secondary school student population, respectively. This research proposal for Examining Normal Academic/Technical Students' Science Learning from a Sociological and Cultural Lens seeks to investigate Singapore Normal stream students' science curriculum experiences. While most science education research focuses on mainstream Express and specialised school students, no studies have focused on how Normal Academic (NA) and Normal Technical (NT) students learn science. As a critical lens on the topic is absent, we are particularly concerned with the lack of deeper insights into the challenges, difficulties, and tensions NA/NT students' experience that may limit their interest and ability to learn science in meaningful and productive ways. The three key research questions we want to address are: 1. How do Singapore Normal Academic and Normal Technical students experience science learning in and outside the classroom? 2. How do structures shape Singapore NA/NT students' science learning? 3. How do Singapore NA/NT students' construct their science discursive identities? We have designed a research study using qualitative methods on case studies and quantitative surveys on a large purposeful sample of mainstream Singapore secondary schools and case studies (one NA and one NT class) in one school to investigate the above issues and identify support needed in the Normal stream science curriculum. Both quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to collect generalised and case specific data. We will apply the sociological and cultural lens, specifically, the theory of agency and structure, to analyse how various cultural schema and resources in the primary and secondary structures enable or limit the students' agency. Related to this, we will also examine the science discursive identities of students using discourse analysis. The overall goal of the study is to improve the teaching and learning of science for all. The short term goal of this research is to gain deeper insights into NA/NT students' experience in science classrooms and include identifying existing schema and resources that they engage with both from within and outside the primary structure (e.g., home, institutional, and social structures) and the secondary structure (e.g., scientific discipline and practice in science classrooms) to make sense of science and to develop their science-related discursive identities. The long term goals of this research are to address current gaps in research on NA/NT students' participation in science classrooms, particularly, how they learn science, how they relate to science, their views about science lessons, the factors and forces shaping their agency, and their motivation and interest to learn and pursue postsecondary education in science-related fields. The intellectual merit of this research is to advance the knowledge base.
- PublicationRestricted"Children are natural scientists": Learning science in early childhood and early primary yearsChildren are by nature curious and they are motivated to explore the world around them. Their science process skills develop as early as infancy and throughout their informal schooling years. A lack of external stimuli in the environment which allow them to actively engage in science learning may result in them not developing fully in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective aspects. As such, science education at early childhood is of great importance to many aspects of a child's development and researchers have suggested that children should begin learning science in their early years of schooling. In Singapore, science is not formally introduced to the Singapore school curriculum until primary three. However, some teachers do teach science to primary one and two students. In the MOE Kindergarten Curriculum Framework, the espoused views about the roles science teachers should undertake and the learning outcomes of science learning can be found in the learning area ''Discovery of the World''. This is a proposal for an exploratory two-year research study ''Children are Natural Scientists'': Learning Science in Early Childhood and Early Primary Years that aims to examine how Singapore young children (ages 4-8) engage in science learning. The research question and sub-questions we want to address are: How do young children engage in science learning? 1. How science process skills do they use as participated in the science activities? 2. What forms of science talk do they use as they participated in the science activities? This is a first Singapore study that introduces science to preschool and early primary children. The short-term goal of the study is to develop knowledge about ways preschool and early primary Singapore children engage in science learning. Our long-term goal is build on the work done in this exploratory study to conduct a larger scale study with more science activities. The repertoire of science activities can become resources for Singapore preschool and primary teachers. The research findings will become resources for us to conduct teacher professional development courses for teachers so that they may learn how to use the science activities in their own classrooms. The intellectual merit of this study is that it contributes to the existing early childhood science education literature which is mostly based in western contexts and does not contain any studies about Singapore students at these grade levels. The broader impact of this study is that can provide empirical evidence showing the importance of science education at early childhood/primary levels to local science educators and policy makers.