Loh Chin Ee
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- PublicationOpen AccessCultural crossings and tactical readings: Singaporean adolescent boys constructing flexible literate identities in a globalized world(2011-03)In this paper, I examine how a group of Singaporean adolescent boys in an elite all-boys school constructed their identities as flexible literate citizens through their reading practices both in and out of school in the context of a globalized world. These boys demonstrated their flexibility through their abilities to make cultural crossings across story worlds and social worlds in their readings in and out of school. In addition, they were competent readers who were familiar with popular as well as school-chosen texts. An important aspect of their flexible literacy was their ability to make tactical readings, that is, to resist dominant institutional mode of readings while conforming to institutional standards through their written and oral work in school. Tactical reading also includes the ability to read different texts for different purposes, a disposition that these boys exercised to their schooling advantage. Their flexibility was a form of power that allowed them to plug into global notions of literacy in their localized context and served as a form of cultural and intercultural capital for national and global markets. Their acquisition of dispositions as flexible literate citizens are in part influenced by class, which provided them with an invisible network of resources suitable for acquiring reading as an out-of-school and school habit. I conclude by suggesting that it is important to acknowledge class as a contributing factor in the teaching and learning of literature in order to formulate the role of literature as relevant to all students in the Singapore context.
- PublicationOpen AccessExamining the cognitive task potential of writing in the literature classroom: Case studies of two 12th grade students’ written work(2008-11)This case study is part of a larger study, the National Study of Writing Instruction. Through the examination of the written work and interview data of two 12th grade High School English students from two different classes in the same school, I seek to paint a picture of the kinds of writing the students do in their English classrooms, and what the writing reveals about what teachers value and what students learn in particular classrooms. The analysis reveals how teachers use writing as a learning tool to shape students’ knowledge of particular ways of thinking and knowing within and about the discipline. Additionally, it shows how they inculcate students into discipline-specific ways of writing in each particular classroom. Teachers in both classes taught students to write in line with their idea of “good” writing within the context of the discipline, school policy, and high stakes testing. I argue that the teachers’ awareness of their own expectations, the potential of a task and student expectations will allow for more deliberate design of written tasks that encourage general and discipline-specific learning.
- PublicationOpen AccessReading the world: Reading Red Scarf Girl in a 9th grade English language arts class(2009-04)This study examines how one teacher implemented the study of a multicultural literary text in a rural 9th grade English Language Arts classroom. Specifically, it examines the kinds of classrooms conversations that arose as a result of the study of Red Scarf Girl (1997), a memoir set during the Cultural Revolution in China. The findings show that the choice of a culturally distant text from another nation encouraged conversations about what it meant to be an American, and provided potential discursive spaces for discussion about self, nation, and world. However, there were also tendencies towards non-critical readings and thinking in problematic binaries. Implications for rethinking multicultural literature to include conversations about self, nation, and world are discussed. In thinking about text choice, I suggest that we need to begin to think about students both as Americans and global citizens in order to bring culturally relevant conversations into the classroom.
- PublicationOpen AccessReading the world: Reading and identity practices in the context of globalization(2008-12)This paper examines scholarship and empirical work on the use of multicultural literature in the English Language Arts classroom in the U.S. in the context of globalization. Studies in the U.S. tend to focus on diversity within the nation to the neglect of diversity beyond the States. Beyond multicultural perspectives as it is framed in the U.S. context, a global/local perspective that recognizes diversity within and beyond the nation is a more relevant construct for examining the literature curriculum in this globalized postmodernity.
- PublicationOpen AccessReading the word and the world: Critically and culturally reflexive conversations in the LangLit classroom(2010-02)Reading does not merely consist of decoding the written word or language; rather, it is preceded and intertwined with knowledge of the world. Language and reality are dynamically interconnected. The understanding attained by a critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context. (Freire & Macedo, 1987, p. 29)
This chapter discusses how literature can be used in the langlit classroom towards learning about language and the world. Literary texts are rich sources for conversations about culturally relevant issues (Applebee, 1996), and if well-chosen, can become discursive spaces for thinking and talking about what is critical and meaningful in today’s world. I argue that literary texts are rich sources for learning how to read the word and the world (Freire, 1991; Freire & Macedo, 1987), and that it is important to teach students to read in what I term a critically and culturally reflexive manner. I then use Tan Hwee Hwee’s (2007) Mid-Autumn, a short story from Island Voices: A Collection of Short Stories from Singapore (Poon & Sim, 2007) to illustrate how awareness of language and worldviews can provide a framework for thinking about the use of literature in the language classroom.
- PublicationOpen AccessMulticultural texts in contexts: Comparing the use of multicultural texts in the literature classroom in the United States and Singapore(2008-07)The need to bring culturally relevant material into English Literature classrooms has long been considered important from academic and intellectual as well as societal and personal perspectives. More recently, scholarship and educational policies are encouraging the use of "multicultural" texts that reflect the polyphony of voices in the world as being culturally relevant, and having the potential to engage students in fertile discussion about their identity and the world around them.
This paper takes a close look at scholarship, research, policy and practice in the U.S. and Singapore in the last 20 years, and gives insights into how practice is being contextualized in both countries. While certain terminology seem to be the same, close examination of the data show that there are notable differences in scholarship, policy, and practice in both countries. Particularly important to this discussion is the notion of what counts as "multicultural" and how that has impacted upon curriculum choice and instruction.
- PublicationOpen AccessTalking about talk: Oral communication in the secondary classroom(2005-04)The current trend in the teaching of English in Singapore tends towards emphasis on written competency rather than oral fluency. Guided by the marks allocation in a system where the Oral component constitutes a small percentage of the summative assessment, teachers spend more time and resources in teaching comprehension and writing skills. In light of the recent changes in the Singapore education landscape to allow schools greater autonomy in curriculum planning and assessment, some Integrated Programme centres are shifting more focus to developing oral communication skills as well as teaching language awareness in oral communication. This paper seeks to argue that it is a necessary move that prepares students for a fast-changing world where both quality talk and thought are essential. To reflect the change in priorities, authentic assessments that prioritise forms of talk should be deliberately included in the curriculum. As a case study, we explore how explicit teaching of discussion skills in Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) has facilitated greater language awareness as well as achieved the aims of improving language, cooperative and thinking skills.
- PublicationOpen AccessA mixed-methods study of the leisure reading habits of preservice teachers(2022)
;Lee, Grace Min HuiReading habits and preferences are invaluable in fostering literacy instruction. Although there is considerable research on the importance of leisure reading for students, there remains room to explore its relevance among teachers and its application to the classroom context. This paper seeks to explore the attitudes, beliefs and habits of leisure reading among preservice teachers, and how their perceptions of leisure reading influence their teaching strategies and prioritization of leisure reading within the classroom. 8 semistructured qualitative interviews were administered to pre-service teachers, alongside 102 quantitative questionnaires and Author Recognition Tests to measure the extent of their print exposure. Findings identified most as prolific readers, unanimously agreeing on the importance of leisure reading. However, only a handful of pre-service teachers were familiar with book series popular among students, and some remarked on negative reading experiences. Implications from the study include developing professional knowledge of extensive reading, reconsidering current reading programmes for greater effectiveness and placing more emphasis on young adult literature titles. 44 56