Loh Chin Ee
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.
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/).
Reading the world: Reading and identity practices in the context of globalization
2008-12, Loh, Chin Ee
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.
Reading the word and the world: Critically and culturally reflexive conversations in the LangLit classroom
2010-02, Loh, Chin Ee
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.
Reading the world: Reading Red Scarf Girl in a 9th grade English language arts class
2009-04, Loh, Chin Ee
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.
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.