Primary education gets revamp

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Primary education gets revamp

Postby tamarind » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:44 pm

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2B ... 31296.html
Pri education gets revamp

New teaching methods, focus on active learning and character building
By Jane Ng
AN AMBITIOUS overhaul is being planned for primary education, to nurture pupils who love learning, are exposed to a wide variety of experiences and equipped with the skills to tackle life's challenges.

Changes recommended by a panel tasked to review the system include doing away with semestral assessments for Primary 1 and 2 pupils.

SHAPING CHARACTER
'We believe that by giving children the opportunity to be exposed to learn new skills, it will shape their character. They will become more confident and resilient, and better learners at the end of the education system.'
Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Education, on the new programme that will expose all Primary 1 and 2 pupils to sports and outdoor education, and the performing and visual arts
It is a key sign of the shift away from a system that has emphasised exams despite complaints from parents and students that this has led to undue stress.

At a press conference last Friday to release the Primary Education Review preliminary report, Senior Minister of State for Education Grace Fu laid out her committee's key recommendations, which will cost about $4.5 billion to implement over 10 years.

Some concrete proposals are that all government schools go single session by 2016, 18 new schools be built and another 80 upgraded, and that by 2015, all teaching recruits will be graduates.

The aim is to produce independent, confident and adaptable children for the future, she said.

'To prepare them better, we have to build in effective learning tools where they will enjoy the process of learning,' she said.

The way subjects are taught will have to be changed, especially in the first two years of primary school.

Language teaching will see more emphasis placed on a pupil's ability to speak well, honed, for instance through speech and drama, songs or recitations.

Mathematics will be more activity- based, with investigative tasks to give more accurate feedback to pupils, teachers and parents so that they truly understand the concepts.

Teachers will be given the flexibility to pace the science curriculum and use more engaging learning approaches.

Another new focus of the curriculum is all-round character building.

A Programme for Active Learning will expose all Primary 1 and 2 pupils to sports and outdoor education, and the performing and visual arts.

Pupils in the upper levels will be encouraged to have a co-curricular activity or take part in non-academic electives.

'We believe that by giving children the opportunity to be exposed to learn new skills, it will shape their character. They will become more confident and resilient, and better learners at the end of the education system,' said Ms Fu.

With the new emphasis on all aspects of learning, it made sense to replace the two big exams a year for Primary 1 and 2 pupils with mini-tests after each topic is taught.

This way, children can ease into school and learn to enjoy it, she said.

To provide a more holistic picture of how a child is faring, teachers will be asked to give parents feedback on progress, strengths and weaknesses, rather than just test scores.

Ms Fu said that while the Primary School Leaving Examination remains important, parents should know about non-academic areas like a child's ability to work with others or to speak up in class.

Some schools have taken it upon themselves to abolish exams at the lower levels. One of them is Telok Kurau Primary.

Principal Wilbur Wong said his intention was to make it less stressful for the pupils. His teachers have replaced the exams with regular feedback on how the child is doing.

'For an area like confidence, teachers assess the child on things like eye contact or voice projection.

'So not having exams doesn't mean we don't watch over the children,' he said.

Parents like sales manager Cristin Tan already see the benefits of some of the proposals. She has three children in Primary 1 to 5 at Anderson Primary, which has done away with midyear exams in Primary 1 and 2.

Mrs Tan, 40, said: 'It has worked well for my children. They do not have to be so stressed and there is more time to teach them to love learning.'

For Madam Celia Lau, 36, a financial planner who has two daughters aged four and six, the changes come just in time for her children when they enter primary school.

'There are so many education changes every few years, I'm happy they are finally doing something which focuses less on academics and more on character building and life skills,' she said.

tamarind
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Postby tamarind » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:49 pm

Hi parents,
What do you think about no more big exams in P1 or P2 ?

I am quite happy to hear about it. Hopefully they will implement it next year when my girl starts P1.

Actually I feel that they should also scrap the ranking of students in primary schools, at least P3 and below. I find it totally unnecessary. Children should develop a love for learning. They should not be motivated to learn because they want to be the top student.

tamarind
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Postby caroline3sg » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:28 pm

I am for more interactive ways of teaching, rather than the 2-3 decades old of traditional sit down approach.

I also feel very strongly for the later start sch timing. But no official reply from MOE. 6 yrs ago, I telephoned MOE on this issue and the reply was sch bus operators need to fetch workers blar blar blar, same complains written in ST Forum recently and not a single word from relevant authorities so far.

Though I think this autonomy lies in the sch themselves as some of them start at 8 am (eg. CHIJ Bukit Timah) or some already have single session (eg. AIPS), it would carry substantial weight if MOE or this committee enforce it.

No exams for P1 & P2? I am happy that my son's sch scap CA1 & 2 this yr. If they scrap SA1, it is bonus. I notice that some pre-schools do not prepare the children enough for P1. A lot of preparatory are done at the expenses of parents who sent their children for enrichment classes. And they are not cheap. If the total revamp were to take place, it would take some time to draft the content of syllabus. By then, is it no need to send pre-schoolers to enrichment?

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Postby jedamum » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:35 pm

caroline3sg wrote:I also feel very strongly for the later start sch timing.

Perhaps as most of these complaints came from parents who chose not to send their kids to the school nearest to where they live, that's why it is not a priority to push for schools to start late? :|
anyway, i think as soon as most schools go single session, the change in school starting timing should follow in due course.

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Postby mintcc » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:22 pm

tamarind wrote:Hi parents,
What do you think about no more big exams in P1 or P2 ?

I am quite happy to hear about it. Hopefully they will implement it next year when my girl starts P1.

Actually I feel that they should also scrap the ranking of students in primary schools, at least P3 and below. I find it totally unnecessary. Children should develop a love for learning. They should not be motivated to learn because they want to be the top student.


:love: Very happy to hear that. especiall like the part about focusing on all-round character building rather than academics.

mintcc
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Re: Primary education gets revamp

Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:15 pm

tamarind wrote: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2B ... 31296.html
Pri education gets revamp...


Supppperrr! :celebrate: Finally, we see things moving in the right direction as we have all been saying here. Perhaps our education experts do read KiasuParents.com :)

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Postby MMM » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:21 pm

Great to hear the proposed changes but wonder when it will be fully implemented..... Probably by then even my youngest child (nursery now) has already passed the P2 stage....

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Postby buds » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:45 am

Heyya chief!

You're probably right! They might just be reading all our grievances
and endless complains, wahkahkaahkaah! But seriously, this forum
is so good for ranting, complaining, pouring, sharing and more...
If daily newspapers were to print out every single feedback from
parents with regards to the school system, confirm it'd be thicker
than classifieds!

Niwae, my kiddos sure miss out on this one lah..
Unless if reproduction is in the talks.. Which is not likely. Hehee.

Next generation babies will be the lucky cohort i suppose..
READ "AMBITIOUS OVERHAUL"!

buds
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Postby lizawa » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:22 am

tamarind wrote:Hi parents,
What do you think about no more big exams in P1 or P2 ?


It is good as it takes away the stress in the kids and the parents. But how then, will the school be able to assess if the kids have progressed well ?

So I believe there will still be tests, but maybe marks not counted. Perhaps it's good enough to just give a grade (A, B, C, D) for each subject.

lizawa
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Postby caroline3sg » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:11 am

Perhaps our education experts do read KiasuParents.com

You're probably right! They might just be reading all our grievances
and endless complains


There is official feedback platform called REACH. Basically what was reported in the news is a summary of points raised/collected from REACH

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