Office of Teacher Education

  • The National Institute of Education, Singapore is one of the leading teacher preparation institutions in the world, and has been an integral part of Singapore's education system since it was first established as the Teachers’ Training College in 1950. NIE provides pre-service teacher education, provides ongoing professional development to existing teachers and school leaders, and conducts extensive educational research that loops back into our continual programme review and enhancement process. Our aim is to develop education professionals who embrace the philosophy of being leaders in the service of learners.

    About the Dean

    Professor LOW Ee Ling is the Dean of Teacher Education at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She is also a Professor of Education (Applied Linguistics and Teacher Learning) at the English Language & Literature Academic Group. She is a member of the NIE Senior Leadership Team and an elected member of the NTU Senate (2014-2018). Her previous appointments include: Chief Planning Officer (2017-2018), Head of Strategic Planning and Academic Quality (2014-2017), Associate Dean for Programme and Student Development at the Office of Teacher Education (2009-2013) and Sub-Dean for Degree Programmes (2004-2009). 

    She has played a leading role in the conceptualization of the following strategic documents for NIE, Singapore: NIE Moving Forward: Towards 2017 Strategic Roadmap and Teacher Education for the 21st Century (TE21): A Blueprint for Teacher Education in Singapore (2009).

    She obtained her BA (with Direct Honours) from the National University of Singapore (NUS), an M.Phil and a PhD in Linguistics (Acoustic Phonetics) from the University of Cambridge, UK under the Nanyang Technological University–National Institute of Education Overseas Graduate Scholarship. In her undergraduate years, she was selected for the prestigious Direct Honours Programme for English Language at the National University of Singapore and in her pre-university years, was awarded the Ministry of Education Humanities Scholarship which she pursued at Raffles Junior College. In recognition for her academic merit and leadership potential, Professor Low was awarded the highly competitive Advanced Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2008 which she spent at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. 

    Professor Low is an internationally renowned expert and has given numerous keynote addresses in both Teacher Education and World Englishes. Her most recent book publications include “Empowered Educators in Singapore: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality” (co-authored with Prof Lin A. Goodwin and Prof Linda Darling-Hammond) and “Lee Kuan Yew’s Educational Legacy: The Challenges of Success” (co-edited with Prof Tan Oon Seng and Prof David Hung). 

    She is Singapore’s representative on the Stanford University International Teacher Policy Study and the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Global Education Innovation Initiative (GEII) projects. She is also Singapore’s representation on the Education 2030 initiative by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and served as an international expert in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Initial Teacher Preparation study for Wales and Australia. In 2012, she was awarded the Public Administration (Bronze) Medal. 

    Dean, Teacher Education


    Professor Low Ee Ling

  • Initial Teacher Preparation at NIE

    NIE's programmes provide student teachers with a strong educational foundation, pedagogies for effective teaching and specialized subject knowledge in at least one academic discipline. Our initial teacher preparation programmes offer three teaching tracks for teaching at either the primary, secondary or junior college levels. There are multiple pathways catering to student teachers with diverse educational backgrounds. Apart from the Bachelor of Arts/ Science (Education) programmes which prepares student teachers for teaching either at the primary or secondary levels, NIE also offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Education for university graduates with three teaching tracks (Primary, Secondary and Junior College) and the Diploma in Education for those with pre-university qualifications mainly for teaching at the primary level and at the lower secondary level for some specialised subjects. A more recent offering is the part-time Bachelor of Education programme, which is a pathway for non-graduate teachers currently teaching at the primary and early childhood levels, to upgrade their academic qualifications and to obtain a basic degree.

    Integrated Continuum Milestone Programmes within the Teaching Track

    The Teacher-Leaders Programme (TLP) is an integrated continuum of milestone programmes for appointed Senior Teachers, Lead Teachers and Master Teachers. It strives to provide pedagogical leadership and mentorship to enhance professional excellence within the teaching track. NIE implements TLP, with the Academy of Singapore Teachers providing the necessary support and coordination of learning resources within MOE to enhance the participants’ learning experience. Across all milestone programmes, the learning modules are designed to support the attainment of the five Teacher Outcomes: The Ethical Educator, The Competent Professional, The Collaborative Learner, The Transformational Leader and The Community Builder. These teacher outcomes are articulated through the seven Learning Dimensions of the Teachers' Growth Model.

    Underpinning Philosophy

    Attributes of a 21st Century Teaching Professional: A Compass for 21st Century Teacher Education

    NIE's initial teacher preparation is one that is very strongly pivoted on three-pronged set of values (V) with skills (S) and knowledge (K) needed of a 21st Century teaching professional wrapped around the central pillar of values. The V3SK framework represents the underpinning philosophy of teacher education at NIE. Key to this framework is a clear reiteration of NIE’s belief that the learner is the centre of our teacher education mission. The V3SK framework guides the design, delivery and enhancement of NIE’s programmes and courses and aims to develop teachers who requisite values, skills and knowledge necessary to function in the 21st Century classroom. This framework is premised along three value paradigms: learner-centredness, teacher identity and service to the profession and the community. Learner-centredness puts the learner at the heart of teachers’ work, while the paradigm of teacher identity outlines the clear attributes the teacher must possess in order to bring about strong learning outcomes in a rapidly changing world. Service to the profession and the community spells out teachers’ commitment to their profession through active collaborations with members of the fraternity and striving to be better practitioners with a view of benefitting the community as a whole. Finally, the skills and knowledge spelt out in this framework refer to key skills and knowledge competencies that 21st Century teaching professional require in order to bring about 21st Century literacies and learning outcomes. These skills and competencies are closely aligned with the Ministry of Education’s articulation of desired student outcomes as outlined in their Curriculum 2015 (C2015) document.

    Unique Selling Point and Strengths

    The strength of our initial teacher preparation lies in the very strong integration between content and pedagogical preparation, the design and development of which is strongly backed by evidence-based educational research. A strong tripartite model between NIE, Schools and MOE is seen through the many school-based practicum postings enabling student teachers an opportunity to translate theoretical knowledge to practical application in teaching and learning. Theory-practice linkage is enhanced through a range of innovative approaches such as a developmental model for the practicum component, appropriate use of case methods such as Problem-Based Learning projects, effective use of blended learning and use of authentic assessment such as portfolio evaluation.

    All NIE student teachers also complete a one-year service-learning project which helps to develop the holistic person in the student teacher. Service-learning aims to foster values such as care, respect for diversity, a collaborative team spirit, professional commitment and dedication. From 2010 onwards, all student teachers will also undergo a personal and professional development 2-day non-residential project known as the Meranti project. The overall objectives of the Meranti Project include: helping student teachers to develop better self-awareness (better tuning into self); providing a clearer idea of what National Education is all about and one’s role in nurturing NE in innovative ways in the classroom; better ideas of working with diversity in the classroom; strategies for coping with being a teacher; and an affirmation of choosing teaching as a career. Our programmes aim to provide a holistic educational experience for our student teachers so that they can develop into the 21st Century teaching professional ready to bring about enhanced learning outcomes for students in the 21st Century classroom.

  • In the current 21st century, teachers need new sets of values, skills and knowledge. NIE is addressing these new challenges through continual refinement and enhancement of its teacher education programmes. Essential attributes for teachers in the 21st century include developing:

    1. A Stance: Personal and social emotional intelligence.
    2. Ways of thinking: The ability to understand the underlying causes or nature of new situations, to think, devise and sort alternative and appropriate course of actions, and to understand the consequences of courses of action.
    3. Diagnostic maps: The schemas developed from past problem-solving experiences that enable teachers to be successful in their way of thinking.
    4. Generic skills and knowledge: a) ability to self-regulate continuous professional learning, b) interpersonal skills necessary to work well with others, c) communication and IT skills.
    5. Profession specific skills and knowledge: The up-to-date skills and understanding needed to excel as a teacher.

    In today's highly globalised and competitive world, Singapore's education system has evolved to one that is 'ability-based, aspiration-driven'. NIE itself has to be fast and nimble to adapt, change and grow to be able to prepare and equip teachers to succeed in the changing education landscape.

    Today's teachers need to help pupils gain both an understanding of existing information as well as to generate better ideas using the current knowledge base. This requires teachers to have strong content knowledge and the ability to make thinking visible among their pupils. Teachers also need to be adept in using new digital technologies including graphical and interactive interface to facilitate learning and teaching.

    The need to function in an increasingly globalised world requires teachers to have multicultural literacy which is knowledge of cultures and languages. Understanding and respect for diversity is an important element for teachers. Opportunities for service-learning, both overseas and local, serve as a platform for expanding teachers' multicultural literacy. Teachers must be able to facilitate learning in an integrated approach, helping pupils learn how to access, evaluate, synthesise information and contribute to the generation of knowledge.

    NIE's initial teacher preparation programmes provide ample teaching and learning opportunities which employ innovative pedagogies to integrate the use of technologies, inquiry and problem-based approaches and higher order thinking skills that ultimately help our teachers develop the essential values, skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in the 21st century classroom.

  • "NIE plays a critical role in developing a teaching service that is equipped for the future. Through its training of new teachers and upgrading of serving teachers, NIE is an important partner with the Ministry in building a strong education system."

    ...Mr Teo Chee Hean, Former Minister for Education, Teachers' Investiture Ceremony (6 January, 2001) cited in Forging Ahead Embracing the Future.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) oversees all educational policy in Singapore, including those related to teacher education. NIE as the sole institution responsible for educating teachers, administrators, and para-educators in Singapore has played an integral partnership role in developing a corps of dedicated, high quality teachers, school leaders and education professionals.

    NIE works closely with MOE in integrating key policies and initiatives into our teacher preparation programmes. NIE's mission to provide a relevant teaching workforce entails that the curriculum at NIE be cognizant of nationwide policies and initiatives implemented by the MOE such as Curriculum 2015 (C2015), Primary Education Review Initiatives (PERI), Thinking Schools, Learning Nation (TSLN), Master plan for IT in Education 1, 2 and 3 (MP1, 2 & 3), National Education (NE), Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE), Teach Less, Learn More (TLLM), Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

    NIE also partners with MOE and schools in a tripartite relationship to provide student teachers with a school-based practicum that enables them to translate the knowledge and skills learnt on campus into practice in their classrooms. The NIE's Practicum Partnership Model prepares the student teachers to take on the challenges of the 'real' classroom by involving schools in teacher preparation, and getting school practitioners to be centrally involved in the supervision of teaching practicum.

    Together, MOE and NIE regularly build representative teams to collaborate for collective and structural reviews to implement research-based best practices, incorporate curricula changes and to review existing programmes.

    Research conducted at the Office of Educational Research is funded by the MOE and aims which to help promote and improve research-based pedagogical practice both at NIE and at schools.

  • The NTU-NIE Teaching Scholars Programme offers a unique opportunity for both your both personal development and international exposure in interdisciplinary training.

    Are you ready to fulfil your aspirations in education and make your contribution in shaping the future of the nation?

    Visit the webpage here.

  • Developing teaching competence through practice

    The Practicum (or teaching practice) enables student teachers to acquire beginning teaching competencies and is a core component of every initial teacher preparation programme. During Practicum, student teachers are guided and assisted by their cooperating teachers and NIE supervisors through systematic observations, assistance and advice. They will have opportunities to become involved with and actively participate in all aspects of the school's activities. Through these experiences, they will learn to link theory and practice, and to acquire the understanding and skills necessary for teaching effectively in a range of classroom situations.

    Generally, Practicum takes the form of a shorter period of attachment to schools for school experience and teaching assistantship, and another of a longer duration for block teaching. The duration of each of these components varies from programme to programme, and at different stages of the initial teacher preparation. For every practicum, arrangements are made with the schools (with input from MOE) to provide opportunities for the student teachers to teach their subjects of specialisation to intact classes.

    The Associate Dean, Practicum & School Partnerships (AD/PSP) oversees the Practicum and also looks at ways of enhancing communication channels between NIE and schools.

    To find out more about the Practicum for the programme that you are enrolled in, you can visit the Practicum home page.

  • header_Pedagogical Approaches3
    In the light of changing needs in Singapore’s education system and developments in the global educational landscape, NIE recognises its crucial responsibility in developing teachers for 21st century education. As we raise the education standards to meet our constantly evolving needs, our 21st century teacher education will also need to evolve to inculcate the 21st century competencies to develop teachers who will bring about the desired outcomes of 21st century education.

    Thus, 21st century teacher education calls for innovative pedagogies to bring about 21st century learning outcomes.

    Click on the icons to find out more about our pedagogical appoaches.

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    header_Tools & Technologies2
    Learners today, live in a technology and media-suffused environment. This environment is characterised by instant access to information anytime anywhere, the ability to stay constantly connected and opportunity to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. As new technologies emerge, learners need to learn how to use that technology quickly, appropriately and must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.

    At NIE, several learning tools/technology have been developed or adopted based on their affordances that support the innovative design of our programmes and learning environment for effective teaching and learning in the 21st century.

    Click on the icons to find out more about our tools and technologies.

     IoT@NIE     NIE eSLOT     mgeo2     mvideo2     wellsaid2     BB2



    NIE mGeo

    NIE mVideo

    NIE WellSaid


    header_Learning Environment2
    In NIE, our learning environments are borderless and support a ‘porous’ school concept where seamless learning takes place across a variety of learning settings (such as formal and informal learning, individual and social learning, and learning in physical and digital environments). By leveraging on mobile technology, students can carry out cross-space learning anywhere and anytime. With the ease of access of information via Blackboard or mVideo, students can learn beyond a brick-and-mortar setting. NIE has nurturing environment with a culture of lifelong learning. With the use of innovative pedagogical design principles, ICT is being infused into our lessons.

    Click on the icon to find out more about our collaborative classrooms.

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  • gesl_logo_new2

    Group Endeavours in Service Learning (GESL) is a service-learning community outreach programme of the National Institute of Education (NIE). Student teachers through their networking and support groups will perform the service-learning projects facilitated by an academic facilitator.

    Understanding community needs through service learning

    The type of community projects undertaken will be decided by the GESL groups through their own decision-making process and resources. Each group will perform a needs analysis with an organisation or community to ascertain the scope of the project.

    Service and learning objectives will be determined before the group start on their project.

    Completed projects will be showcased within the NIE campus, or through other communication channels.

    GESL will be undertaken by all student teachers in NIE's initial teacher education programmes from 2005.

    For more information, please visit GESL's homepage.

  • The Meranti Project is a MOE-funded personal and professional development programme specially tailored for student teachers. Held over two days in groups of 20, it has the following objectives:

    1. helping student teachers to develop better self-awareness (better tuning into self);
    2. providing a clearer idea of what Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) is all about and one’s role in nurturing CCE in innovative ways in the classroom;
    3. better ideas of working with diversity in the classroom;
    4. strategies for coping with being a teacher;
    5. affirmation of choosing teaching as a career.

    With the aid of informal dialogue sessions with veteran teachers, it gives student teachers the opportunity to listen to firsthand experiences of teachers and the perspectives of student learners. The programme also makes use of open sharing sessions and ingenious games to help the student teachers experience the core competencies of social emotional learning, to share their personal aspirations with their peers and to express their opinions in an open and creative environment.

    At the end of the programme, student teachers will have a better grasp of the innovative approaches to Character and Citizenship Education and be better equipped when they begin their teaching journey upon graduation.

  • The NIE GEII serves to support projects and collaborations that drive the institute’s international strategic interests. Find out more about the NIE GEII here.
  • Programmes

    Diploma programmes

    Diploma in Special Education

    Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Primary)

    Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Secondary & Junior College)

    Undergraduate programmes


    Practicum matters

    Group Endeavours in Service Learning (GESL)

    GESL matters

    The Meranti Project

    The Meranti Project matters

    Student Matters

    Clubs @ NIE

    Student Counselling @ NIE

    Student Exchange Programme

    Student Exchange matters