Cultivating Laterality in Learning Communities in Singapore Education System - Scaling of Innovation through Networked Learning Community

Project Number
AFR 01/15 HJS

Project Duration
March 2016 - February 2018


This study seeks to investigate laterality in Singapore education systems. It will contribute to the nascent research on lateral networks used as a strategy to develop teachers professionally in such systems. It could assist in formulating policy to build lateral networks across schools as networked learning communities are critical to the scaling of innovations among teachers. A qualitative exploratory case study approach will be used in building the preliminary framework. The case study will include our past studies on Learning Communities at ETD, networks of schools and possibly Network Learning Communities at AST. Data will be collected from multiple sources that include semi-open interviews, observation and focus group discussions. To draw out the principles of laterality in Singapore education systems, the data will be transcribed and triangulated to analyse for themes and patterns. Subsequently, a preliminary framework for designing laterality will be developed. The findings may elicit new meaningful dimensions and sub-dimensions about laterality that are peculiar to Singapore education system. A framework of laterality for future consideration in linking schools is a possibility. The integration between the network dimensions from emerging and designed contexts will be documented. Findings may provide evidence of how teachers may benefit from the lateral network in a centralised system. Finally, empirical evidence on the evolutionary trajectory of the lateral networks is a contribution for future research. We seek to study how teachers are groomed to realize their fullest potential through networks that leverage on the efficient elements of hierarchy systems as well as social affordances of laterality. Challenges include building trust with the teachers and schools in enacting the framework. Another challenge would be studying the extent to which involvement of the teachers reflects their true belief in the networks. There would also be challenges in documenting the degree of which a change in teachers’ discourse or practice are directly a consequence of the teachers’ participation in the activities of the lateral network. A systematic approach in staging the research may assist in minimalizing these challenges.

Funding Source

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