Constance Chew Li Ching

The pursuit of happiness appears to be a common goal for people all over the world. However, their orientation towards happiness might be different, and this has a huge impact on whether they are happy or think they have achieved happiness. Many research have found that people who orientate their pursuit of happiness towards eudaimonia (finding meaning in life and tasks) and engagement (doing something that one enjoys greatly and driven by intrinsic motivation) are happier. Teachers’ happiness has been an area of study in happiness research, and their level of happiness has direct effect on their motivation and volition, which in turn has indirect effect on their students’ learning outcomes. Due to the cascading effects and implications to teaching and learning, threats to happiness in teaching are discussed in this article, and some suggestions are provided for further exploration.

PLS Working Paper Series No.7


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

Dennis K.H. Tan and Vicente Reyes

Reading is an important outcome leading to academic success in life. Young children who do not benefit from early literacy intervention are those with phonological processing deficits; facing difficulties in naming letters, poor vocabulary and poor recognition of sight words. Recent developments see the rapid rise in using technology software as a powerful tool in helping early literacy learners in reading and writing skills.

Best practices in emergent literacy instruction support skill development in five key areas: phonemic awareness, word recognition, concepts about print, alphabetic principle and comprehension. Scholar and practitioners argue that computer based emergent literacy is more effective to young children with disabilities. Research studies have shown significant benefits in emergent literacy in phonemic awareness, word recognition and comprehension using software which has been field-tested.

The authors find it timely thus to undertake a localized investigation of the effects of using software tools such as Earobics© to support young children referred for reading difficulties. This exploratory study included the selection of thirty (30) participants from the Learning Support Programme (LSP) referred for reading difficulties. Using a between-group pre-and post-test design, this study compared two groups belonging to the LSP – an experimental group with Earobics© intervention and a control group. The experimental intervention uses Earobics©; an interactive software programme in addition to the current LSP programme.

PLS Working Paper Series No.5

Vicente Reyes

This inquiry attempts to address the question: How has the Singapore city-state used its education system in integrating three important cornerstones of nation-building? Using selected data from the National Orientations of Singaporeans Survey complemented by extracts from key policy documents from the Ministry of Education (MOE), this article explores three specific questions: (1) How is citizenship education pursued? (2) How is national identity forged? And (3) How is political socialization engendered? The inquiry concludes with challenges that the Singapore education system faces as it tries to address its nation-building project.

This working paper has now been published with the Studies of Changing Societies (Open Journal), Vol. 1, No. 11, 2013. The full article can be accessed through this link:

Vicente Reyes and Gopinathan S.

This article critically examines the sense-making processes of key stakeholders of the Singapore education system: the historically dominant city-state, highly-qualified teachers and high-performing students and their efforts to remake themselves and the consequences to their education philosophy and practices. The article interrogates Singapore’s landmark Teaching Schools Learning Nation (TSLN) policy initiative one of the main engines deployed  towards achieving a Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE). The article uses the analytical lens of micropolitics in schools as it explores the issues and challenges faced by various stakeholders caught in the midst of Singapore’s globalisation imperatives. Empirical findings from current research at the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice (CRPP) at the National Institute of Education (NIE) are used to support key arguments made in the article. In exploring sense-making processes, the article uncovers paradoxical interpretational responses of various stakeholders as they implement various aspects of TSLN and provides a critique of the city-state’s KBE ambitions.

This working paper has now been published with the International Journal of Educational Reform, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2015. The full article can be accessed through this link:

A Critique of Knowledge-Based Economies: A Case Study of Singapore Education Stakeholders

Posted by: Principal/Editor | February 6, 2013

A Confucian Framework for 21st Century Education

Charlene Tan

This paper proposes a Confucian framework for 21st century education by building upon an existing framework, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills by P21. It is argued that a Confucian framework for the 21st century education will benefit students and educators in four main ways. First, by emphasising the centrality of li (normative behaviours with corresponding values and attitudes) in education, the framework ensures that all aspects of a student’s life, be it one’s career or the learning of ICT and core subjects, are undergirded by the pursuit of he (harmony) and ren (loving others). Second, the framework highlights the need for students (and educators) to love and enjoy learning while working towards the betterment of all fellow human beings. Third, the framework underscores the important contributions of the family and community towards an individual’s identity formation and life goals. Finally, the framework offers an integrated model where core academic subjects are interconnected with a shared goal to develop students to observe li beyond the classroom to the world they live in.

PLS Working Paper Series No.2

Hairon Salleh and Charlene Tan

Teacher professional development plays an important role in raising the quality of teachers, teaching, and student learning – all of which are necessary to achieve the 21st century student outcomes. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are featured prominently in Singapore and Shanghai which are top-performing Asian societies in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009. It is therefore pertinent to compare PLCs in both societies in implementation of PLCs. The examples of Singapore and Shanghai add to the international literature on the trend towards and implementation of teacher collaboration through PLCs.

PLS Working Paper Series No.1

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