Sunday, February 14, 2010

Teacher Education in Singapore

The new focus of this blog is to share what we do in teacher training in Singapore. I will focus on the teacher education for primary school (elementary school) teacher who teach in grades one to six upon graduation.

The examples are limited to the courses I teach.

In this introductory entry, I write about some background information that is useful in understanding teacher education in Singapore.

All the 150+ primary schools in Singapore are all public schools. We do not have a private education sector. The variations that are now available in the secondary and junior college levels (grades seven to twelve) are not available in the primary levels.

Formal schooling starts in grade one. Students turn seven sometime during grade one. Pre-school education is varied and a small number of children do not attend kindergartens. Compulsory education is only for grades one to six. However, it is extremely rare for teenagers not to attend school although it is not compulsory to do so.

All our primary school teachers are public school teachers employed by the Ministry of Education before they study to become teachers. This is not common. In most places people study in faculties of educations in various universities in the country and they apply for a teaching job after they graduate with a teaching degree (e.g. bachelor of education). In Singapore, people apply for a teaching job before they study to become a teacher. Once they get the job, they will all study, at present, at one place - National Institute of Education (NIE) which is housed in one of the four universities in the country.

The photo shows one of my classes conducting a lesson for their colleagues. They have designed an activity-based lesson to teach pie charts. I was pleased they attempted to put into practice what they learn in the course on engaging pupils with meaningful activities.

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