Through the Lens of the School: School-based Curriculum Innovation (SCI)

Project Number
OER 14/11 VC

Project Duration
November 2011 - March 2016


In 2006, Singapore devolved to schools the autonomy for curriculum development. Although School-Based Curriculum Innovation (SCI) also called School-Based Curriculum Development (SBCD) is not new and harks back to the middle 1980s, this current initiative involves the participation of all schools in the system. A marked departure from previous practice, schools in Singapore now have more or less relative autonomy and space to construct their own curriculum innovations with specific central (government) supports. It has been five years since this transformational initiative and the schools in Singapore have developed diverse approaches to their own curriculum frameworks of SCI, ranging from from the Future Schools (started in 2008) and their focus on IT integration in teaching and learning; and other schools in the innovative design of curriculum, assessment, or pedagogy. However, there have been few studies on school- based curriculum innovations. While some research has been conducted at the National Institute of Education's two Research Centres, the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice (CRPP) and the Learning Sciences Lab (LSL), the focus of these SBCD/SCI studies are subject and grade specific (i..e, Shegar, 2010; Kapur, 2008) and tends to occur over a limited time involving a restricted number of school personnel (i.e., teachers). There is a general lack of studies on whole school innovations in the context of comprehensive reform. This proposed project is novel in taking a comprehensive approach in developing this baseline research of curricular and pedagogical reforms of 9 schools by undertaking a retrospective and in-situ study in two separate phases. It is significant in 2 ways: one, the story of the school's SCI journey is developed through piecing together the perspectives of different stakeholders on SCI implementation on a whole school level; and second, an ethnographic approach in our second phase traces not only the SCI processes in practice, but also more intimately, teachers' agency and informal interaction with colleagues and students to build a comprehensive picture of SBCD enactment and what it means to its participants.The coverage of diverse schools also contribute to the building of a conceptual framework to understand curriculum innovations in Singapore.

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Briefs No.15-008: Through the Lens of the school: school-basedcurriculum innovation (sci)

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