Humanities Education in Singapore – Where to Next?

Humanities Education in Singapore – Where to Next?

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Office of Education Research (OER), in collaboration with the Academy of Singapore Teachers, held a humanities education research seminar on 20th March 2018.



Audience listening to presentations

The seminar showcased the implications of findings from NIE’s research in the areas of Social Studies, History and Geography education for the Singapore classroom. It also generated discussions among teachers, researchers and policymakers about the directions ahead for humanities education in Singapore.  

HSSE AG Head A/P Mark Baildon delivering the opening note

Presenters at the seminar included faculty from NIE’s Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group (HSSE AG) and OER’s Center for Research in Pedagogy and Practice (CRPP) and Learning Sciences Lab (LSL).


Dr Dennis Kwek

The first speaker Dr Dennis Kwek (Senior Research Scientist, CRPP and Assistant Dean, Research Communications, OER), shared on how teachers can promote deep inquiry in the Social Studies classroom and help students improve their reasoning skills.

A/P Mark Baildon

A/P Mark Baildon (Head, HSSE AG) later outlined strategies that teachers can adopt to guide students to be discerning readers of online sources.

A/P Chang Chew Hung

A/P Chang Chew Hung (Associate Dean, Professional Development, Graduate Studies and Professional Learning and Associate Professor, HSSE AG) subsequently explained how a learning progression framework for the teaching of climate change in geography can help students build on the knowledge they acquired in earlier school levels (e.g., Primary 5, Secondary 1).

Dr Kenneth Lim

Dr Kenneth Lim (Research Scientist, LSL, OER) then described a field-based inquiry approach that can help to surface students’ intuitions about the factors that impact their local environments.  

The final two presentations centered on HSSE AG’s Signature Programmes in the Humanities – the Sustainability Learning Lab (SLL) and the Historian’s Lab.


Dr Tricia Seow


A/P Kim Irvine

Dr Tricia Seow (Senior Lecturer, HSSE AG) and A/P Kim Irvine (HSSE AG) jointly presented on the SLL, a signature programme that aims to foster geographical inquiry by engaging students and teachers in real-world and virtual fieldwork activities.  


A/P Ivy Lim


Dr Suhaimi Afandi

Finally, Dr Suhaimi Afandi (Senior Lecturer, HSSE AG) and A/P Ivy Lim (Assistant Head, Administration and Programmes, HSSE AG) jointly presented on the Historian’s Lab, a signature programme that provides opportunities for students and teachers to learn history in an immersive and experiential manner.

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion moderated by A/P Baildon, with Dr Kwek, Dr Seow, Dr Afandi and Dr Lim on the panel.

Panel Discussion

The discussion centered on the question, “What new directions does humanities education need to take in this day and age?”. Some of the topics addressed by the panel include fostering inquiry-based learning in the humanities, metacognition and reflexive thinking across humanities subjects and the role of teacher-centered pedagogy today.  

Group Photo