Sunday, February 21, 2010

Becoming a Teacher in Singapore


There are plenty of opportunities for professional development for teachers in Singapore. These four teachers from four different priamry schools were on teacher work attachment (TWA) scheme with Teachers Network and went to Cambodia in December 2009 to share with Cambodian teachers and educators interesting ways to teach primary mathematics. The second batch of teachers that went on TWA to Cambodia in June 2010 captured their experience at http://twacambodia2010.blogspot.com/

How does one become a teacher in Singapore? You can finish the A Levels (Grade 12) or graduate with a polytechnic diploma and join a two-year course at the National Institute of Education (NIE) to be certified to become a teacher. You graduate with a Diploma in Education. There are opportunities to obtain a university degree if you do well at the end of the two years (that means you study for another two years for the bachelors degree) or return to school after teaching for a couple of years.

From 2012, Ministry of Education (MOE) will stop taking in non-graduate teachers so this programme will presumably cease to exist. As of 2009 about 50% of teachers in primary schools are not university graduates. In secondary schools, most teachers are university graduates.

If your grade twelve national examination (the A Levels) result is good or you have done extremely well in your polytechnic course, you gain admission into a four-year degree programme where you graduate with a bachelors degree in science or arts with education.

You can also come in for a one-year course (PGDE) if you already have a university degree.

As far as mathematics education courses are concerned, they are the same in all three programmes. It makes sense because everyone, whether you have a university degree or not, will be doing the same job - teach children mathematics.

For secondary school teachers, the diploma option is not available as MOE takes in only university graduates as secondary school teachers. Secondary teachers either read the one-year PGDE programme or the four-year degree programme.

Secondary teachers are trained to teach two subjects, unless you are teaching in junior college (grades eleven and twelve). In that case, you do Teaching of Mathematics (Secondary) and Teaching of Mathematics (JC). There is also Teaching of Lower Secondary Mathematics for those do not not have the prerequisite to teach upper secondary mathematics.

Primary teachers are trained to teach mathematics with one (less common for now)or two (presently more common) other subjects.

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