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World Education Research Association’s Focal Meeting In Tokyo

The World Education Research Association (WERA) 2019 Focal Meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan, from 5 to 8 August 2019. The 2019 conference was of special significance as WERA celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The meeting was hosted by the Japanese Educational Research Association (JERA), who is a founding member of WERA, and attended by some 2,000 participants, including the presidents of educational research associations worldwide, scholars and conference delegates.

WERA is an organisation comprising major national, regional and specialty education research associations dedicated to the advancement of education research as a scientific and scholarly field. It also provides an important platform for member institutions to develop networks and collaborate on capacity building.

The 2019 meeting, themed “Future of Democracy and Education: Realising Equity and Social Justice Worldwide”, was conducted at two of Tokyo’s top universities. The University of Tokyo is a top research university in Japan, while Gakushuin University, the alma mater of Japanese emperors, is renowned for its rich traditions. The conference featured five prominent keynote speakers: Professor Andy Hargreaves, Professor Stephen Ball, Professor Gert Biesta, Professor Ingrid Gogolin and NIE’s Professor Tan Oon Seng, whose keynote was entitled, “Future of Democracy and Education: What can we glean from research, wisdom and pragmatics today for tomorrow?” | Read More |

Also present was NIE’s Dr Chua Bee Leng, Vice-President of the Educational Research Association of Singapore (ERAS), who was Singapore’s representative at the WERA signing ceremony and committee meeting. Dr Chua also chaired a major symposium on the emerging science of teacher education for early childhood that brought perspectives from USA, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

Aside from NIE staff, five student teachers under the mentorship of Associate Professor Lee Yew Jin and Dr Seah Lay Hoon from NIE’s Bachelor of Science (Education) programme were at the conference to present their respective papers. Ms Anabelle Aw and Ms Ang Geok Xing presented on “Comparing Science Learning Outcomes from Singapore and New South Wales, using Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and Semantic Theory”, while the paper by Ms Celynn Lee, Ms Nurfatin Azni and Ms Sarah Tan was titled “Language Demands in Singapore Science Texts”.

Our student teachers received compliments for their rigorous research and ability to present well. Despite the nervousness and excitement from making their first presentation at an international conference, the five young ladies succeeded in engaging the audience and articulating their ideas in a clear and systematic way. The student teachers also had the opportunity to attend other presentations to gain fresh insights about education around the world, and to discuss their views with other presenters.

Conferences like these provide NIE student teachers the opportunity to develop their research skills, broaden their perspectives of the education worldwide and increase their network. Meeting a broad range of people, such as PhD students and professors from different countries, allow student teachers to gain a better understanding of the education system around the world and at the same time appreciate the differences in different countries.

By observing how research was conducted in diverse geographies and cultural contexts, student teachers are challenged to think beyond what they have been exposed to in Singapore, as well as acquire insightful knowledge and even adaptable practices or mindsets that could be applied in their future experiences. All in all, it was a fruitful and enriching experience for our student representatives.