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Socio-emotional learning
Multicultural picturebooks
Reading lives of teachers
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Garces-Bacsal, R. M., Tupas, R., Sarinajit Kaur, & Paculdar, A. (2020). Reading lives and practices of Singapore teachers and the use of multicultural children’s literature to promote socio-emotional learning (Report No. OER 15/14 RB). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
How do teachers navigate the pedagogical possibilities of multicultural picturebooks in their own classrooms to introduce social and emotional learning competencies? To what extent do teachers’ reading lives and practices inform their instructional strategies in the classroom? These are broad questions which this research project aimed to explore and answer. The educational landscape in Singapore is changing whereby the diversity in student population is evident in as much as 39 different nationalities seen in a popular primary school (Forss, 2007). This is where the use of multicultural literature can be seen as critical in addressing multiculturalism in school (Seto, 2003; Sims Bishop, 2003).

Meanwhile, the teachers’ pivotal role in the development of reading lives among their students is a fact that has been underscored for instance by Gambrell (1996) and Miller (2009) who posit that teachers who are passionate readers and who deliberately extend the range of their reading materials beyond those required by the formal curriculum out of innate personal enthusiasm, play an effective and crucial role in engendering a similar passion and interest among their students towards pleasure reading, thus reinforcing similar values and habits towards reading which have been made observable to students.

A number of studies likewise point to the linkage between good reading practices and its bearing on student performance, specifically the ways in which teachers who demonstrate and exemplify good reading practices contribute positively on student achievement (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).

However, an alarming aliteracy has been raised by Frager (1987) among teachers. This indicates the fact that despite the reading skills and availability of resources, some teachers choose not to read even if they can. Loh’s (2009) study of the deployment of silent reading practices in one primary school in Singapore clearly shows that while teachers acknowledge the importance of reading and its impact on learning in general, they do not act as role models of reading. Kwek, Albright and Kramer-Dahl (2007) also find that some teachers involved in their pedagogical intervention project in secondary schools in Singapore have limited repertoires of reading. There is thus a clear need for capacity building among teachers, which is compounded by the fact that the context within which teachers operate have become more complex culturally and ideologically.
Note: Restricted to NIE Staff.
Project number: 
OER 15/14 RB
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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