Dean, Teacher Education
The National Institute of Education, Singapore is one of the leading teacher preparation institutions in the world, and has been an integral part of Singapore's education system since it was first established as the Teachers’ Training College in 1950. NIE provides pre-service teacher education, provides ongoing professional development to existing teachers and school leaders, and conducts extensive educational research that loops back into our continual programme review and enhancement process. Our aim is to develop education professionals who embrace the philosophy of being leaders in the service of learners.
Initial Teacher Preparation at NIE
NIE's programmes provide student teachers with a strong educational foundation, pedagogies for effective teaching and specialized subject knowledge in at least one academic discipline. Our initial teacher preparation programmes offer three teaching tracks for teaching at either the primary, secondary or junior college levels. There are multiple pathways catering to student teachers with diverse educational backgrounds. Apart from the Bachelor of Arts/ Science (Education) programmes which prepares student teachers for teaching either at the primary or secondary levels, NIE also offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Education for university graduates with three teaching tracks (Primary, Secondary and Junior College) and the Diploma in Education for those with pre-university qualifications mainly for teaching at the primary level and at the lower secondary level for some specialised subjects. A more recent offering is the part-time Bachelor of Education programme, which is a pathway for non-graduate teachers currently teaching at the primary and early childhood levels, to upgrade their academic qualifications and to obtain a basic degree.
Attributes of a 21st Century Teaching Professional: A Compass for 21st Century Teacher Education
NIE's initial teacher preparation is one that is very strongly pivoted on three-pronged set of values (V) with skills (S) and knowledge (K) needed of a 21st Century Teaching professional wrapped around the central pillar of values. The V3SK framework represents the underpinning philosophy of teacher education at NIE. Key to this framework is a clear reiteration of NIE’s belief that the learner is the centre of our teacher education mission. The V3SK framework guides the design, delivery and enhancement of NIE’s programmes and courses and aims to develop teachers who requisite values, skills and knowledge necessary to function in the 21st Century classroom. This framework is premised along three value paradigms: learner-centredness, teacher identity and service to the profession and the community. Learner-centredness puts the learner at the heart of teachers’ work, while the paradigm of teacher identity outlines the clear attributes the teacher must possess in order to bring about strong learning outcomes in a rapidly changing world. Service to the profession and the community spells out teachers’ commitment to their profession through active collaborations with members of the fraternity and striving to be better practitioners with a view of benefitting the community as a whole. Finally, the skills and knowledge spelt out in this framework refer to key skills and knowledge competencies that 21st Century teaching professional require in order to bring about 21st century literacies and learning outcomes. These skills and competencies are closely aligned with the Ministry of Education’s articulation of desired student outcomes as outlined in their Curriculum 2015 (C2015) document.
Unique Selling Point and Strengths
The strength of our initial teacher preparation lies in the very strong integration between content and pedagogical preparation, the design and development of which is strongly backed by evidence-based educational research. A strong tripartite model between NIE, Schools and MOE is seen through the many school-based practicum postings enabling student teachers an opportunity to translate theoretical knowledge to practical application in teaching and learning. Theory-practice linkage is enhanced through a range of innovative approaches such as a developmental model for the practicum component, appropriate use of case methods such as Problem-Based Learning projects, effective use of blended learning and use of authentic assessment such as portfolio evaluation.
All NIE student teachers also complete a one-year service-learning project which helps to develop the holistic person in the student teacher. Service-learning aims to foster values such as care, respect for diversity, a collaborative team spirit, professional commitment and dedication. From 2010 onwards, all student teachers will also undergo a personal and professional development 2-day non-residential project known as the Meranti project. The overall objectives of the Meranti Project include: helping student teachers to develop better self-awareness (better tuning into self); providing a clearer idea of what National Education is all about and one’s role in nurturing NE in innovative ways in the classroom; better ideas of working with diversity in the classroom; strategies for coping with being a teacher; and an affirmation of choosing teaching as a career.
Our programmes aim to provide a holistic educational experience for our student teachers so that they can develop into the 21st Century teaching professional ready to bring about enhanced learning outcomes for students in the 21st century classroom.