Changes in NIE Curriculum to Help Trainees be 'Masters of Subjects'

Changes in NIE Curriculum to Help Trainees be 'Masters of Subjects'

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Media Type
TODAY (Online)

SINGAPORE — Curriculum for trainee teachers will be changed to help them become masters in the subjects they want to teach, as well as improve their pedagogical skills, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat announced today (July 28).

Starting August, undergraduates in the National Institute of Education (NIE) teaching programme can choose to spend one semester in their third year on exchange in a partner university to deepen their content knowledge.

Trainee teachers will also spend one of the four practicum stints shadowing a teacher in an overseas school for about five weeks to expose them to passionate educators in different education systems. This will help them see the differences in teaching methods and decide for themselves what will work best for students in Singapore, said Mr Heng.

In addition, trainee teachers will take on educational research, looking into the psychology of learners and the science of learning.

Speaking at the Ministry of Education’s Teaching Scholarship presentation ceremony today, Mr Heng said: “(Teachers) must have strong content mastery. When you know it well, and can show your students how it applies to their lives, you will help you students love the subject.”

He added: “Your students have different paces and styles of learning. You must understand how each student learns, the different things that motivate and inspire each student ... You need to be able to reach your students in order to teach them.”

The NIE undergraduate programme, which has been running for more than 10 years, offers a Bachelor of Arts (Education) or Bachelor of Science (Education), depending on the subject a trainee teacher majors in. Yearly intake averages about 50.

Of the 210 or so scholarship recipients today, 50 will be attending the NIE’s undergraduate programme. Currently, only about 10-15 per cent of its trainees get to go on exchange programmes, said an NIE spokesperson.

Today, MOE scholarship recipient Lau Kai Jing, 19, who will be starting the NIE undergraduate programme next month, said she is excited about applying to Peking University for exchange.

“I chose NIE because of the chance to learn pedagogical skills as well as content (knowledge). We’re learning it side by side so I feel it’s easier for me to relate my content to what I’m learning on the pedagogical side,” said Ms Lau, who is passionate about Chinese language. On a research area she’s interested in pursuing, she said: “I’m interested in learning how to ... create new ways of teaching Chinese in this new environment where families are increasingly English-speaking.”

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For related Media Coverage

The Straits Times (Online): NIE trainee teachers to get more exposure to schools overseas and research

Channel NewsAsia (Online)Overseas opportunities, research into learning methods part of enhanced NIE degree programme

Lianhe Zaobao (Page 10)NIE trainee teachers to get more overseas exposure in Bachelor degree programmes

Source: TODAY (Online), mediacorp