This book offers aninsight into the research and practices of science teaching and learning in the Singapore classroom, with particular attention paid to how they map on to science as inquiry. It provides a spectrum of Singapore’s science educational practices through all levels of its education system, detailing both successes and shortcomings.
The book features a collection of research and discourse by science educators in Singapore, organized around four themes that are essential components of approaching science as inquiry: teachers’ ideas and their practices, opportunities and constraintsfrom a systemic level, students’ competencies and readiness to learn through inquiry and the need for greater awareness of the role of informal learning avenues in science education. In addition, the discourse within each theme is enriched by commentary from a leading international academic, which helps to consolidate ideas as well as position the issues within a wider theoretical and international context.
Overall, the papers set out important contexts for readers to understand the current state of science education in Singapore. They also highlight strengths andgaps in practices of science as inquiry as well as provide suggestions about how the system can be improved. These research findings are therefore helpful as they provide honest and evidence-based feedback as well as tangible and doable ideas that policy makers, teachers, students and school administrators can adopt, adapt and enhance.
About the Author
Aik-Ling TAN is an associate professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. Her research interests include the practice of science as inquiry in primary science classrooms as well as in biology laboratories. Of particular interest to her are the intricate classroom interactions between students and teachers that foster meaning learning in science.
Chew-Leng POON is the Deputy Director for Research and Evaluation at the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) Planning Division. She is concurrently appointed as MOE’s Principal Specialist in Research and Curriculum. Currently, she is involved in several international studies – including the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). She also co-leads a Network Learning Community of Senior Specialists, Master teachers and Heads of Science Department in exploring inquiry science in action in classrooms.
Shirley S L LIM is concurrently an Associate Dean at the Office of Graduate Studies and Professional Learning and Associate Professor in Natural Sciences & Science Education. A marine ecologist by training, she has interests in science inquiry. Shirley organised the 1st to 10th Singapore Biology Olympiads, trained and led the national teams for competition at the International Biology Olympiads (IBO) for 11 years. She was re-elected for a second term in 2012 as one of the four Steering Committee members of the IBO fraternity. She organised the 23rd IBO hosted by Singapore in July 2012. Shirley is the Asian Governor of The Crustacean Society (USA) and the Vice-President (Executive Board) of the International Union of Biological Science’s Commission for Biological Education (USA).
Table of Contents
1Five decades of science education in Singapore
2Design and Implementation of the National Primary Science Curriculum: A Partnership Approach in Singapore
Tan Ying CHIN and Chew-Leng POON
3Transforming science education by expanding teacher and student collaboration
4Teachers’ ideas and concerns with assessment practices in inquiry science
Poh Hiang TAN and Aik-Ling TAN
5The development and implementation of a guided-inquiry curriculum for secondary school physics
Darren WONG and Chor Yam LAU
6From transmission to inquiry: Influence of curriculum demands on in-service teachers’ perception of science as inquiry
Aik-Ling TAN, Frederick TALAUE and Mijung KIM
7Teaching inquiry: Global influences and local responses
Benny H W YUNG
8Transiting into inquiry science practice: Tales from a primary school
Chew-Leng POON and Shirley S. L. LIM
9Science education in a straightjacket: The interplay of people, policies and place in an East-Asian developmental state
10Implementing inquiry science with knowledge creation approaches
Seng Chee TAN and Jennifer YEO
11Using inquiry to facilitate meaningful learning in inorganic chemistry qualitative analysis
Kim Chwee Daniel TAN
12Bridging research, policy and practice of inquiry in Singaporean classrooms
Barbara A. CRAWFORD
13Knowledge building as a boundary object in formal/informal learning
14Science Centre Singapore as an alternate classroom
Anne DAIRIANATHAN and Tit Meng LIM
15Public education about science in Singapore: The role of science journalism via newspapers
16Learning science through inquiry in informal contexts
John K. GILBERT