How does teaching work in Singapore?

Importantly, teachers also broadly share an authoritative vernacular or “folk pedagogy” that shapes understandings across the system regarding the nature of teaching and learning. These include that “teaching is talking and learning is listening”, authority is “hierarchical and bureaucratic”, assessment is “summative”, knowledge is “factual and procedural,” and classroom talk is teacher-dominated and “performative”.

Clearly, Singapore’s unique configuration of historical experience, instruction, institutional arrangements and cultural beliefs has produced an exceptionally effective and successful system. But its uniqueness also renders its portability limited.


…teachers only make limited use of checking a student’s prior knowledge or communicating learning goals and achievement standards. In addition, while teachers monitor student learning and provide feedback and learning support to students, they largely do so in ways that focus on whether or not students know the right answer, rather than on their level of understanding.

The article, by David Hogan, is interesting throughout.


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