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Multicultural texts in contexts: Comparing the use of multicultural texts in the literature classroom in the United States and Singapore

2008-07, Loh, Chin Ee

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.

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What makes a reading school?

2017, Loh, Chin Ee

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Cultural crossings and tactical readings: Singaporean adolescent boys constructing flexible literate identities in a globalized world

2011-03, Loh, Chin Ee

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.

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Design thinking for school libraries: A case study

2020, Elia M. Hamarian, Loh, Chin Ee

Students need to prepare for 21st century literacies and skills of collaboration, research and lifelong learning to be ready for future life and work, and the school library is often overlooked as a potential space for facilitation of future-ready learning. This case study examines through how Design Thinking can be used to understand the reading and learning needs of adolescent students in one secondary school in order to provide insights to improve their school library. Through the use of observational data, interviews and journey maps, the researchers track the reading and learning habits of two secondary school students. Specifically, the journey mapping process allowed the researchers to better understand the students’ reading and learning needs in terms of physical and technological requirements. The findings demonstrate the vital role technology plays in meeting the students’ learning needs through providing avenues for research and online collaboration. School libraries, supported with technology can position its relevance in the 21st century school such as setting up an online library system, positioning itself as a research library and by expanding its resources to meet the needs of the school.

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What can English teachers tell us about the emotional demands of their work?

2016, Liew, Warren Mark Cheng Yi, Loh, Chin Ee

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An actor network analysis of libraries as informal learning environments

2020, Loh, Chin Ee, Nichols, Sue Mary

Libraries have been traditionally viewed as places to support the community development of literacy skills, but their importance in a networked and global world is constantly being contested by alternative visions of their social and technological relevance. Whether public and school libraries thrive in particular contexts depends on more than the presence of a space labelled “library”. This article uses Actor Network Theory (ANT) as the primary framework for analysing the relations between libraries, literacies and change in two contexts, one in Singapore and the other in Australia. Using a trans-local dialogic approach, the two authors engaged in place-centred, immersive and sustained conversations about their research cases, tracing how people, objects and ideas are received and travel across contexts to effect change. The ANT analysis of the process of innovation and change in both libraries through the minute tracing of the network relations and effects between objects, spaces, emotions revealed the interconnectedness of human and non-human objects in moving people and ideas, highlighting the distributed effect of the social and material. Through tracings of things, people and ideas using ANT, the assemblages that make the transformation possible are made visible enabling greater clarity.

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Design patterns for school libraries: A preliminary report of the Building a Reading Culture Study 2019

2020, Loh, Chin Ee

The Building a Reading Culture Study: A Nationwide Study of Reading and School Libraries (BRC) study was conducted with the twin goals of contributing to reading and school library research. This publication provides a preliminary analysis of the kinds of design patterns that have emerged from the data collected from the study and from various study trips made to government, independent and international school libraries in Singapore, Australia, the United States and the Netherlands between 2016 to 2019.

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Envisioning the school library of the future: A 21st century framework

2018, Loh, Chin Ee

The school library is the untapped potential for amplifying equitable 21st century learning and more knowledge is required to understand how school libraries continue to be relevant and vital for 21st century learning. A review of the literature (between 2005 and 2015) was conducted on the role of school libraries for 21st century learning as preparation for the Building a Reading Culture study and resulted in the 21st Century School Library Framework to guide our work on school libraries. The five key roles of a 21st century school library are to support reading, research, collaboration, studying and doing. The report details how a future-ready school library can support these different ways of learning.

This report updates the literature review with project findings and current research from 2016 to 2018. For more details about the study, please refer to our project website (https://www.readingculturesg.org/).

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Developing a future-ready school library collection for adolescents

2020, Loh, Chin Ee

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Guide to NIE projects researching English language and literature teaching from pre-school to pre-university: Completed 2010-2020

2021, Jones, Sally Ann, Loh, Chin Ee, Teoh, Yong Qin