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    Practice of school management learned through mentoring
    The purpose of this study is to explore the practice of school management learned, as perceived by secondary school principals who had the opportunity to learn through mentoring. There is international interest in the use of mentoring as a learning strategy for the preparation of school principals. A random sample of 70 percent of the available population was invited to participate in this study. This constraint on sample size was imposed by the Ministry of Education at that point in time. Altogether a high 85 percent (or 41 participants) of sample responded. The participants were interviewed by the researcher after they had completed a self-administered questionnaire. The interview data were transcribed for content analysis. The findings are given below.

    The aspects of school management that they learned through mentoring and which they put into practice are : leading, monitoring, training and developing staff, planning and organising administrative tasks, and relating to the external environment. The aspects of school management that they learned through mentoring but which they did not put into practice are: abusing authority, organising for meeting specific needs and leading by the use of religion to provide direction. The other sources of learning ( and the respective aspects of school management that are put into practice) are : fellow principals (seeking information or advice, and planning); past experiences ) leading, planning and organising administrative tasks, relating to external environment and monitoring); on-the-job experiences (leading, monitoring, developing staff and appraising performance); courses (networking, planning, managing change, developing continually); professional literature (developing continually) and supervisors (solving exceptional problems. The aspects of school management that they learned outside mentoring but which they did not put into practice are ; (from fellow principals) organising context-specific administrative procedure and implementing extra programme; (from past experiences) abusing authority and imposing religion on others; (from courses) adopting overseas models, developing staff through classroom research, adopting novel pupil disciplinary procedure, and changing vision and mission statements; (from professional literature) setting low expectations and recruiting staff. These principals exercised discretion in practising what they had learned. The findings highlighted that the practice of leading can be learned through mentoring by most principals and can be used by them at work. Further research could examine the principals' perception of practice in the context of what they do and could also explore cross-cultural comparisons of management practice learned through mentoring.
      140  19
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Comics for mathematics instruction for future-ready learners
    (Association of Mathematics Educators, 2023) ; ; ;
    In this paper we present the views that the roles of comics for mathematics instruction extend beyond the role of addressing the affective needs of students, in particular the lower achieving students. We argue that within the broader framework of contextualization, comics have the potential to reach out to the entire spectrum of students to develop their higher order thinking skills and even raise their cognizance to environmental issues. Two exemplars based on the research carried out by us are presented.
      56  90
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Qualities of mathematics teachers valued by pupils
    In this study, pupils' perspectives on qualities which they valued in their mathematics teachers were gathered through focused group interviews involving high achieving, medium-achieving and low-achieving pupils. The qualities of Caring, Skilful and Humorous emerged among the top three qualities of all the groups interviewed.
      154  970
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    Open Access
      119  200
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    Identification of the qualities of good mathematics teachers
    This research sought to determine some of the qualities which good mathematics teachers have in common. Data for the study was generated from three sources: administration of a school-wide pupil survey targeted at 1,028 Secondary One to Secondary Five pupils, classroom observations, and in-depth qualitative interviews for data on pupil perspectives.

    In the survey questionnaire, the pupils were requested to nominate three teachers in the school, in rank order, who taught very well. Out of a total of nine mathematics teachers in the school, four received an average percentage of fifty and above in pupil nominations. In this study, these were accepted to be the `good' mathematics teachers.

    Background information on the good mathematics teachers suggested that both professional mathematics training and academic preparation in mathematics could be factors that contribute to the development of some of the qualities which characterize good mathematics teachers.

    Observations cum video-recordings of the good mathematics teachers showed some common features. These included teacher characteristics such as task-orientation and a sense of discipline. Teaching skills ranged from questioning and eliciting feedback, recapitulating, model thinking aloud, and utilizing life examples and linkages. Learning skills were explicitly taught.

    Information on pupils' perspectives on qualities which they valued in their mathematics teachers was gathered through focused group interviews. These involved high-achieving, medium-achieving and low-achieving mathematics pupils of the good mathematics teachers.

    Quantitative analyses of the interview transcripts revealed that the qualities which appealed to pupils, in descending order of frequency, were as follows: Caring, Skilful, Humorous, Friendly, Sense of Discipline, Patience, Voice Projection, Understanding and Fair. Of these, the qualities of Caring, Skilful and Humorous were among the top three qualities for all the groups interviewed.
      369  42
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Educator’s choice of words
    (1996)
    Low, Guat Tin
    ;
      126  164
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Illuminating the core of Singapore school leadership preparation: Two decades of in-service experience
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine distinctive features that have surfaced in school leadership development programmes for more than two decades in Singapore. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on information gathered from existing literature and the author's involvement in the programmes. Findings The Diploma in Educational Adminstration (DEA) programme and the Leaders in Education Programme (LEP), offered by the National Institute of Education of the Nanyang Technological University, primarily adopted the mentoring model and innovation model respectively. Irrespective of the models, evidence is provided to illuminate the co‐creation approach as well as synergy with the schools and Ministry of Education that permeate both programmes. Practical implications Instead of discarding the past as obsolete, it is suggested that programme developers take cognizance of local distinctive features in leadership preparatory programmes and capitalize their strengths, in their attempts to generate the next wave of seascape change. Originality/value Provides pertinent aspects of experience over a period of more than two decades of school leadership preparation in Singapore that could be of useful reference to practitioners and researchers in the field.
    WOS© Citations 10Scopus© Citations 11  129  72
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    Open Access
    Learning beyond mentoring: The Singapore experience
    In Singapore, mentoring was the key feature of a development strategy for aspiring principals for one and a half decades. Many of the former participant proteges are currently practising principals in schools. This paper reports an exploratory study that sought to identify and examine the main learning source of these principals beyond mentoring. It is suggested that there is active networking for learning relationships at work among fellow principals. The principals create, seize and promote opportunities to improve their on-the-job practice through learning from the unstructured learning relationships at work. The formal principalship preparation programme that they attended emerges as a breeding ground for the initiation of informal learning relationships at work. Beyond formal mentoring, the principals appear to lead their own learning in collaboration with their peers in education.
    Scopus© Citations 5  141  99