5.1 Teachers’ Engagement in Lesson Study for Learning Community: Shaping Teachers’ Beliefs about Students from Disadvantaged Social Backgrounds
Principal Investigator: Ast/P Jiang Heng
Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Christine Lee Kim-Eng; Ast/P Choy Ban Heng
Start to End date: 01-Jan-16 to 31-Dec-18 (Ongoing)
Drawing on cultural sociology theories, this exploratory study examines the lived experiences of a group of teachers engaged in lesson study in two Singapore elementary schools serving for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and examines the mixture of cultural meanings appropriated by them for shaping their understanding and actions when working with these children. The primary purpose of this proposed study is: (1) to acquire an in-depth understanding of the nature of Singapore teachers’ beliefs about diversity based on ethnicity, social economic status, and language, and how they enact these beliefs during the process of participating in a lesson study for learning community (LSLC); and (2) to identify the factors during the LSLC process that mediate teachers’ understanding of their roles of working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Findings will contribute to the developing of a plan for policymakers, teacher educators, school leaders, and teachers to better serve the needs of students from diverse background.
5.2 Exploring the Variety in Lesson Study: Unpacking the Variety from Cases in Singapore
Principal Investigator: Dr Christina Lim-Arasaratnam
Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Christine Lee Kim-Eng; Dr Jiang Heng
Collaborator: Dr Tay May Yin
Start to End date: 1-May-13 to 30-Sep-15 (Completed)
The spread of Lesson Study (LS) in Singapore schools has been phenomenal since it was first introduced in 2004, with the approach widely implemented as a tool for promoting Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Research on LS would contribute to our understanding of teacher effectiveness in implementing new and diverse teaching and assessment strategies, set in the context of in-service professional development. With several schools utilizing LS as a platform to develop PLCs and to promote teacher PD, it becomes crucial to unpack both the variety and quality that exists within Singapore lesson studies in order to better understand and evaluate this recent PD effort. While variety allows for greater opportunities and possibilities of adapting LS to different educational contexts, we draw attention to the challenges and concerns that arise from the different interpretations of the process and outcomes of LS. We intend to unpack the variety of Singapore LS by examining the structure and implementation processes, teachers’ understandings of the processes and outcomes of LS, and teachers’ experiences and views on LS. The overarching research question for this study is: What are the critical features in Singapore’s varied approaches to lesson study and how do they support or impede teacher professional development?
5.3 Designing and Piloting Web-based Video Cases to Build Online Community of Practice for Teachers and Students in Mathematics Problem Solving
Principal Investigator: A/P Fang Yanping
Start to End date: 1-Apr-09 to 30-May-11 (Completed)
This Project built on two previous four-year CRPP projects, "Developing Repertoire of Heuristics for Mathematical Problem Solving” that videotaped and analyzed classroom teaching and learning and designed cognitive tools to promote problem solving practices. Acting upon the findings that strongly indicated a demand for bridging between arithmetic at upper primary and algebra learning in lower secondary levels, researchers, in this new project, first videotaped a unit of 9 lessons to capture one teacher’s attempt in his Primary 6 classroom to bridge algebra learning with other heuristics students had been taught, mainly the model method. They then analyzed these lessons, the post-lesson interviews on the teacher’s rationale of teaching and artifacts of student work to inform the development of video cases. An online learning environment was built subsequently to anchor the video cases that allow teachers to view through streaming, respond to carefully designed guiding questions and share and discuss their responses with colleagues in a web forum. Such online learning was piloted by all teachers at the case teacher’s school facilitated by the case teacher himself and the math committee after researchers conducted workshops to familiarize them with the online learning environment and facilitation skills. Findings from the pilot indicated increased teacher awareness of the bridging issues and how to attempt bridging in their own math classrooms. Non-math teachers also learned alternative ways of building a classroom culture to foster student sense of ownership of learning.
5.4 Strategies for Primary and Lower Secondary School Reform to Improve Equality* in Education (funded by Toyota Foundation)
Principal Investigator: Ast/P Eisuke Saito
Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Masatsugu Murase, Mr Atsushi Tsukui
Collaborators: Mr Masaaki Sato, Prof Vu Thi Son, Mr Phan The Si, Mr Nguyen Van Khoi, Ms Naomi Takasawa, Ms Khong Thi Diem Hang, Ms Nguyen Diem Anh
Start to End date: Oct-12 to 30 Oct 2014 (Completed)
This project examines factors that promote and inhibit (1) lesson reform, (2) school reform and (3) local/parental participation in schools implementing the principles of lesson study for learning community (LSLC) in Vietnam. In the first year, data were collected based on interviews and observations of and reflections on classroom practices. In the second year, while classroom observation and joint reflection on observed lessons were continued, opinion surveys were conducted, targeting 596 pupils in both primary and lower secondary levels, 230 teachers and 102 parents, as well as 23 administrators.
During the project, one of the targeted schools grew as a strong example of LSLC with good quality practices, sustained for more than a year. The research team collaborated closely with Ministry of Education and Technology (MOET) and LSLC has now become one of the key national policies in Vietnam.
5.5 Understanding Teacher Learning Communities as
Support for Implementation of Computer Simulations for Physics Conceptual
Principal Investigator: A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor
Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Lee Kim Eng, Christine, Prof Hung Wei Loong,
David, Mr Wee Loo Kang Lawrence, Ast/P Fulmer Gavin William
Start to End date:1-Jul-15 to 30-Jun-18 (Ongoing)
Science instruction is increasingly drawing on virtual and interactive technologies, i.e. simulations, to help students visualize core scientific concepts (McElhaney & Linn, 2011; Wu & Huang, 2007), and then to propose, consider, and test competing models to explain the concepts and related phenomena (Schwarz et al., 2009). Visualization plays a major role in the advancement of the subject (Kozhevnikov, Motes, & Hegarty, 2007; Lyna, 2008), and model-focused instruction has been increasingly emphasized (Fulmer & Liang, 2013; Liang et al, 2012). While a growing number of simulations have been developed, there is yet sufficient understanding of how teachers can incorporate simulations into classroom instruction, and how this impacts students' learning of the topics. In this study, we adapt simulations for topics within the local secondary and pre-university science syllabi, and then conduct a progressive sequence of professional development workshops. We also explore the starting and nurturing of a teacher learning community (TLC) that would support the pedagogical use of simulations. Data in the form of interviews and workshop observations will be collected and analyzed to unpack the teachers’ perceptions of simulation implementation in classroom, as well as to gain nuanced understandings about a TLC’s inception and its growth trajectory in Singapore.
5.5 Exploratory Study of Singapore Teachers'
Implementations and Experiences of Differentiated Instruction
Principal Investigator: Ast/P Heng Tang Tang
Co-Principal Investigator: A/P Tan Heng Kiat Kelvin
Start to End date:3-Jul-17 to 2-Mar-20 (Ongoing)
Differentiated Instruction (DI) is a systematic approach in
which teachers modify curriculum, teaching and learning activities to honour
the broad range of student backgrounds and maximise their learning
opportunities and capacities (Tomlinson, 2001). Interest in DI in Singapore has
been growing due to the recognition of increasing diversity in Singapore’s
society and classroom (Department of Statistics, 2016). Ten years since the
rhetoric of differentiation surfaced and policies shifted to attend to diverse
learners, there is little knowledge around how Singapore teachers have been
accommodating diverse learners in their classrooms. At the same time, most
studies of DI are located within the North American
context, begging the question of how curriculum and pedagogical approaches
diffuse across educational, cultural, structural, and political contexts. This
study seeks to understand how teachers in Singapore implement DI, the successes
and obstacles they face, and how their implementation and experiences of DI
change over time. Primary and secondary teacher-participants in this
qualitative study will be engaged in ethnographic tools, like interviews and
participant observations. In describing Singapore teachers’ implementation, we
hope to deconstruct their understanding of DI and examine how they integrate DI
in their existing practices.