Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Designing problem-based learning using the internet: WebQuest as an instructional tool
    The internet offers many resources that can be used for educational purposes. Many teachers, however,are uncertain about how to incorporate the use of these resources into their classroom curriculum and instruction. This article describes WebQuest, a tool for inquiry-based or problem-based learning and instruction that integrates the resources of the World Wide Web with student learning. The benefits of using WebQuests as well as implications for use in schools are also discussed.
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  • Publication
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    A study of the preferred teaching styles and their relationships with selected variables (gender, levels and subjects taught, and experience with the gifted) of teachers of the gifted in Singapore
    Research (Bishop, 1968; Whitmore, 1980; Feldhusen, 1991; Baldwin, 1993) has indicated that the teacher plays a pivotal role in enabling the gifted to achieve their potential. Given the situation in Singapore, where people are its only resource and a limited one, it was decided on the establishment of the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) that attention would be paid to the selection of appropriate teachers so as not to jeopardise this valuable resource (Phua, 1983).

    The purpose of this study was to partly replicate the study of Howell and Bressler (1988) to investigate whether the teaching styles preferred by teachers of the gifted lay in the intuitive domain, and to compare them to the preferences of teachers in the regular stream to see if there were any significant differences. If there were significant differences, it was the intention of the researcher to explore whether the preferences of teachers in the GEP were influenced by variables in their background, that of gender, levels and subjects taught and experience in teaching the gifted.

    The sample comprised 110 teachers from the GEP and 134 teachers from the regular stream who agreed to participate in this study. Information on the teachers' background was acquired through a demographic inventory designed by the researcher and their teaching style preferences through the Teaching Style Inventory developed by Silver and Hanson (1981).

    The findings of this study confirmed that of Howell and Bressler's (1988) study, that teachers of the gifted showed a significant preference for the intuitive-thinking (NT) and intuitive-feeling (NF) teaching styles, which were more intellectually- and innovatively-oriented, and which corresponded positively with the data on the learning preferences and needs of gifted children. Regular stream teachers, on the other hand, significantly preferred the sensing-thinking teaching style which was more factually- and outcome-oriented. In examining the effects of the demographic variables on the NT and NF teaching style preferences of GEP teachers, it was found that only the main effect of subjects taught on the NT teaching style was significant, with science teachers in the GEP preferring this style in comparison with humanities teachers. Significant interaction was also found between levels and subjects taught on the NT teaching style preference. It emerged that science GEP teachers, both primary and secondary, showed greater preference for the NT teaching style in comparison with humanities GEP teachers and interestingly, that secondary teachers in the GEP, whether science or humanities, showed a greater preference for this teaching style in comparison with the primary GEP teachers.

    The findings yielded by this study have implications on the popularly-held view that the needs of the gifted can be adequately met in the regular classroom. From the findings, it can be seen that the gifted in Singapore will not thrive in the environment provided in the regular classroom, given the teaching style preferred by regular stream teachers. The findings of this study should also be of interest to the GE Unit, as it indirectly evaluated the selection process being used to screen teachers for the GEP. They show that the GE Unit has largely succeeded in its goal of selecting teachers with teaching styles in the intuitive domain, thus affirming the selection process that is currently being employed.
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  • Publication
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    Pre-service teacher education in Singapore : changing attitudes towards people with disabilities and inclusion
    This study first investigated the attitudes of mainstream pre-service teachers in Singapore towards people with disabilities and inclusive education and their relationships with their background variables (gender, age, educational qualifications, previous training in special needs, contact with disability and programme of study). It then sought to develop and implement a disability awareness course, undergirded by the theory of cognitive dissonance, and examine the effect of this course on the awareness and attitudes of the pre-service teachers towards disability and inclusion. After excluding cases with missing data, the sample size was 1538 for the first part of the study and 1621 for the second.

    The results showed that the pre-service teachers possessed ambivalent, bordering on negative, attitudes towards people with disabilities and inclusive education at the start of the study, and that the best predictor variables of their attitudes were contact with disability and prior training in special needs. This prior training also had a significant influence in creating greater openness toward the inclusion of students with various types of special needs (i.e., physical, academic, social and behavioural disabilities). While the variables of age, educational qualifications and programme of study were significantly associated with the pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards people with disabilities, these were judged to be of little practical significance because of the small differences in their mean scores. Gender had no significant effect on their attitudes toward people with disabilities. It appeared that only age had a statistically significant effect on the pre-service teachers’ overall attitudes toward inclusive education; however, this too was considered to be of little practical significance.

    Findings from the second part of the study showed that the disability awareness course had produced significant positive changes in the pre-service teachers’ knowledge, awareness and attitude toward disability and inclusion. They revealed increased awareness of the positions taken by Singaporean society which had resulted in the exclusion and marginalization of people with disabilities and the lack of knowledge of and experience with disability of the mainstream community. The pre-service teachers reported arriving at greater awareness of their prejudices, misconceptions and stereotypes about people with disabilities. It was found that the course had positively influenced the pre-service teachers’ perspectives of people with disabilities in terms of their capabilities and ability to learn.

    The results show the pre-service teachers evidencing a greater acceptance of people with disabilities and a realization on their part that they could make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, and had a personal responsibility in creating a more inclusive society. The findings also revealed the pre-service teachers exhibiting greater openness toward inclusive education, willingness to accept students with special needs into their own classrooms and an increased desire for learning more knowledge and skills to cater to the needs of students with special needs. Overall, the findings in this study confirm that training can contribute to improving attitudes towards people with disabilities and inclusion. They also support the use of cognitive dissonance as a theoretical basis for designing courses to motivate attitudinal change. Implications for practice, policy and future research are discussed.
      497  136
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Special education personnel preparation in Singapore
    (Ball State University Libraries; Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 2024) ; ;
    Special education in Singapore has evolved considerably during the past two decades with greater enrollments of students with special educational needs in regular mainstream schools. This progressive transformation in Singapore’s education towards the inclusion of students with special needs in mainstream classes has been accompanied by concomitant changes in teacher preparation programs for both general and special education teachers and professionals. This article situates and describes special education in Singapore and its increasing role in partnering with mainstream education within Singapore’s socio-historical context and evolvement as a nation since independence. Current issues related to special education and its expanding role in preparing teachers and related professionals for working with students with special educational needs in both mainstream and special schools are discussed with implications raised for future directions.
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