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Is teach less, learn more a quantitative or qualitative idea?
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Proceedings of the Redesigning pedagogy: culture, knowledge and understanding conference, Singapore, May 2007.
The Teach Less, Learn More (TLLM) initiative is a fairly recent discourse on the use of
learning centered pedagogies in the Singapore Education System. First mentioned by the Prime Minister of Singapore in his National Day address in 2004, Teach Less, Learn More and its accompanying acronym TLLM is frequently mentioned in relation to ideas and practices aimed at enhancing student learning. However, the widespread use (and misuse) of the term may have given rise to some confusion over its precise meaning.
This paper examines the underlying discourses of the TLLM initiative in the Singapore education system and questions whether it is understood in ways which are consistent with its original intentions. The term ‘Teach Less, Learn More’ itself suggests a strong tendency to interpret TLLM with a quantitative perspective. However, official statements pertaining to shifting the TLLM focus from “quantity to quality in education” indicate a qualitative intent. Quantitative and qualitative discourses share different origins and epistemologies.
Consequently, the contrasting quantitative and qualitative understandings of the goals of education, the means of teaching, the manner of assessment and evaluation and the notion of student learning exists in tension with each other. The tension between quantitative and qualitative discourses in the Teach Less, Learn More initiative in the areas of curriculum, assessment and learning are explored in this paper and three possible ways to (re)interpret the Teach Less, Learn More initiative are suggested.
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