Posted by: Principal/Editor | July 16, 2013

Pedagogical Awakenings and Self-Discovery in the light of imperatives, constraints and opportunities of teaching Social Studies in Singapore

Kamaludin Bahadin

In this paper, Kamaludin Bahadin invites audiences to journey with him in a unique pedagogical space as he theorises himself as a teaching subject caught
within a range of discourses, each vying for supremacy. In a culture where classroom practice and pedagogy assume a single, all consuming purpose, i.e of preparing students to solely pass the tests, he seeks to challenge the primacy of such a commonly held belief among Singaporean pedagogues by asking what should be the driver(s) of classroom instruction?

This paper attempts a reflexive turn towards interrogating his own pedagogical premises with the aim of reimagining his future pedagogy despite dominant
“educational” discourses. Central to reimagining pedagogy is the notion of teacher identity. Through his own lived-in experience he attempts to show how educational governance, one that instrumentalises assessment and test scores, play a leading role in subjectifying teachers like himself and in the process also shaping their professional and personal identities. He argues that when teachers subscribe to identities that draw on extrinsic factors at the cost of ignoring the inner voices or personal convictions that led them to pursue a teaching career in the first place, the result could lead to emotional and professional dissonance.

To facilitate documenting how his ‘coming to know pedagogy’ has changed, he will reference personal journals kept during a six-month Management and Leadership in Schools course completed in 2011 and the write ups on his philosophy of pedagogical practice, which was a requirement for competing for the ‘Most Outstanding History Teacher of Singapore in 2009’ award. Written over a period of four years, these assignments, which express his personal views, offer insight into his thinking on pedagogy and on how he perceives himself as a teacher.

PLS Working Paper Series No.6

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