Masters of Education in Curriculum & Teaching

Masters of Education in Curriculum & Teaching

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

By Mardiana Abu Bakar, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Academic Group

Mrs. Sng-Wong Ching Yee, Vice Principal of Boon Lay Garden Primary School (seated 3rd from right) with her group of innovation activists

Knowledge is a powerful enabler. This becomes hearteningly obvious speaking to graduates of NIE’s newest master’s programme, the Masters of Education (MEd) in Curriculum & Teaching. Beginning with 18 students in 2006, the MEd in Curriculum & Teaching programme graduated a bumper crop of 64 students last July.

Many graduates of the programme are taking on curriculum leadership roles in their schools and those we spoke to say they find themselves better equipped to make a difference in the lives of their teachers and students.

Here are insights from two recent graduates on how the MEd in Curriculum & Teaching programme is helping them marry their newly acquired knowledge of various theories in their practice.

Mrs. Sng-Wong Ching Yee, Vice Principal of Boon Lay Garden Primary School:

One of Mrs Sng-Wong’s main focus at the moment is working with her lower primary school teachers to look into what kind of learning experiences the school is providing the lower primary school students beyond the cognitive and the academic. Every Wednesday, she holds engaging conversations with 9 of her lower primary school teachers who have been given roles as “innovation activists”. They look into their assumptions of what school is and what it can better do and what curriculum and pedagogy they can plan and put into place, aligning the PERI objectives with their school’s planning ambitions for 2010.

She adds that one of the most profound insights the course has given her is that a curriculum leader’s main role is as a culture builder and that the school is responsible for both its hidden and official curriculum.

Ms Christina Michael, Vice Principal of CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh):

Ms Michael says that when she was posted to a school that has a long tradition of educational excellence, she asked herself what her contribution could possibly be. After the MEd course, she is now seeking solutions to the following questions which will help her in moving her school forward:

  • How can we espouse a problem-solving stance and move towards transformative teaching so necessary for the 21st century classroom in a school that still embraces Freire’s “banking concept”?
  • Bearing in mind both Marris’ contention that ambivalence is concomitant with change and Fullan’s point that “culture cannot be mandated”, how can change be implemented at a pace palatable enough for most, yet creating enough dissonance to catalyse the change process?
  • In driving these curriculum design shifts which centre on the development of the individual, how can we engineer improvement in student outcomes such that they engender enduring change in teacher beliefs and attitudes?