Teo Tang Wee
Singaporean preschool children learning science through play
2014, Goh, Mei Ting, Ong, Monica Woei Ling, Teo, Tang Wee, Yan, Yaw Kai
Play has an important role throughout childhood as children learn and develop through engaging in play. The aim of this study was to examine how purposeful play can be used to introduce and facilitate the learning of science ideas and scientific skills in young children in the Singapore context. Science activities were carried out with preschool children aged 5 to 6 through the use of purposeful play, and the video and audio recordings of the science activities were analysed using qualitative coding methods to identify the science learning that took place while engaging in purposeful play. The coded data were written into narratives to illustrate the process and learning outcomes of the science activities conducted using purposeful play. The findings of this study indicate that young children are able to display science process skills and learn science ideas through engaging in purposeful play.
Junior college students' alternative conceptions of redox processes in electrochemistry
2005, Teo, Tang Wee
There is increasing interest in the research of alternative conceptions in electrochemistry as it is ranked as one of the most difficult topics in chemistry (Garnett & Treagust, 1992a, b). This study is the first to be carried out within the Singapore context which specifically diagnoses students' understanding in electrochemistry. It aims to identify Singapore junior college students' alternative conceptions of redox processes in electrochemistry. Its primary purpose is to bring the curriculum planners', teachers' and students attention to the existence of alternative conceptions on electrochemistry, so as to improve the teaching and learning of this topic.
This study replicated and extended the research done by Garnett et. al. (1995), Sanger and Greenbowe (1997a, b), Ogude and Bradley (1994) and other researchers. A list of conceptual and propositional knowledge statements adapted from previous studies by Garnett and Treagust (1992a, b) helped to identify the knowledge base necessary for students to understand electrochemistry. Alternative conceptions that had been reported in several other studies were also consolidated to give a more comprehensive list of alternative conceptions related to electrochemistry.
The list of conceptual and propositional knowledge statements and alternative conceptions provided the framework for the development of an open-ended questionnaire which was administered to about sixty second year junior college students (17 to 18 years old). This was followed by semi-structured interviews with four selected students to further probe their understanding of electrochemistry.
The alternative conceptions identified in the study were very similar to those identified in previous related studies. The areas of alternative conceptions surfaced from this study include the charge law, electric current, standard half-cell, current in an electrochemical cell and charges on the electrodes of electrochemical cells.
Interestingly, one new alternative conception was surfaced from this study :
The electrodes of the electrochemical cell must be placed in two solutions of different concentrations.
The study also revealed that the textbooks used in junior colleges may be inadequate teaching and learning materials. The two highly recommended A-level textbooks by Briggs and Ramsden were scrutinised and found to have excluded content knowledge that would aid in the understanding of electrochemistry. In addition, they were found to contain information that could mislead students and cause them to develop alternative conceptions. Some of these information include stating that the charges assigned to half-cells were identified from their positions in the diagram and assigning oxidation numbers by changing covalent bonds into 'electrovalent bonds'.
"Children are natural scientists": Learning science in early childhood and early primary years
2020, Teo, Tang Wee, Yan, Yaw Kai, Ong, Monica Woei Ling, Goh, Mei Ting
Children 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.
Understanding how the Girls To Pioneer programme affect students' attitudes towards STEM and shape their STEM-related identities
2020, Teo, Tang Wee, Yeo, Leck Wee, Goh, Jonathan
The 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.